Hume’s Political Discourses (1752) won immediate acclaim and positioned him as an authoritative figure on the subject of political economy. This volume of thirteen new essays definitively establishes the central place of political economy in Hume’s intellectual endeavor, as well as the profound and far-reaching influence of his theories on Enlightenment discourse and practice. A major strength of this collection is that the contributors come from a diverse set of fields – philosophy, economics, political science, history and literature. This promotes a comprehensive reading of Hume’s political economy, taking into account his entire set of writings and correspondence, in a way that captures his polymathic genius. Hume’s analyses of trade and commerce not only delve into the institutions of money and markets, but also human agency, the role of reason and the passions, manners and social mores. Hume sought general principles but also concrete applications, whether he grappled with the problem of economic development (Scotland and Ireland), with the debates on luxury consumption (France), or with the mounting public debt (England).
This book is a key resource for students and researchers in the areas of economic and political philosophy, history of economic and political theory, and the history of ideas.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Carl Wennerlind and Margaret Schabas 2.The Scottish Contexts for Hume’s Political-Economic Thinking Roger Emerson 3. The Emergence of Hume as a Political Economist: A Biographical Sketch Ian Simpson Ross 4.Hume and Superfluous Value (or the Problem with Epictetus’ Slippers) Christopher Berry 5. Manners and Morals: David Hume on Civility, Commerce, and the Social Construction of Difference Richard Boyd 6. Hume’s Framework for a Natural History of the Passions Till Grüne-Yanoff and Edward F. McClennen 7. An Artificial Virtue and the Oil of Commerce: A Synthetic View of Hume’s Theory of Money Carl Wennerlind 8. Temporal Dimensions in Hume’s Monetary Theory Margaret Schabas 9. Fiction or Counterfeit?: Hume’s Philosophical Politics of Money C. George Caffentzis 10. David Hume and Canadian Paper Money Robert Dimand 11. French 'New Politics' and the Dissemination of David Hume’s Political Discourses on the Continent, 1750–1770 Loïc Charles 12. Hume’s Political Discourses and the French Luxury Debate John Shovlin 13. Constitution and Economy in David Hume’s Enlightenment Paul Cheney 14. The 'Rich Country–Poor Country' Debate Revisited [tk] Istvan Hont
Margaret Schabas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. She is the author of two monographs, A World Ruled by Number (Princeton, 1990) and The Natural Origins of Economics (Chicago, 2005). She is also co-editor of Oeconomies in the Age of Newton (2003), and the author of over 30 articles.
Carl Wennerlind is Assistant Professor of History at Barnard College. He is the author of numerous articles on David Hume’s political economy that have appeared in History of Political Economy, Hume Studies, and Journal of Political Economy. His most recent piece on Hume garnered best article awards from the History of Economics Society and the European Society for the History of Economic Thought.
"It is an outstanding collection and should be widely read by historians of economics.The contributions are uniformly excellent in their scholarship, and the book as a whole is a worthy successor to Rotwein. All significant aspects of Hume’s thought, from his analytical contributions in the specie-flow mechanism and monetary theory to the larger political/philosophical issues thrown up by the development of commercial societies in Europe, receive careful treatment. Just as Adam Smith scholarship in recent years has seen a movement toward placing his economic thought into the context of his moral philosophy, there has been a similar move among Hume scholars, to which the editors of this volume have been important contributors."
Jeffrey T. Young, St. Lawrence University, Journal of the History of Economic Thought