“David Hume’s Humanity: The Philosophy of Common Life and Its Limits … not only presents a synoptic vision of Hume’s thought, but also argues that an amended version of it remains vital and relevant today – especially to political philosophy.”
(Nathan Sasser, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 17 (1), 2019)
Scott Yenor argues that David Hume’s reputation as a skeptic is greatly exaggerated. In David Hume’s Humanity, Yenor shows how Hume’s skepticism is a moment leading Hume to defend a philosophy that is grounded in the inescapable assumptions of common life. Humane virtues reflect the proper reaction to the complex mixture of human faculties that define the human condition. These gentle virtues best find their home in the modern commercial republic, of which England is the leading example. Hume’s defense of both common life philosophy and humanity are, however, flawed by his secretly dogmatic assumptions about the nature of history and his Enlightened approach to religious teachings and psychology. This study makes the case for Hume’s manner of grounding philosophy in common life is essential to any reinvigoration of the humanities. It ultimately holds that Hume’s practice of that philosophy is seriously flawed, but that a more philosophic philosophy of common life is available.