Political Thought of Hume and his Contemporaries: Enlightenment Projects Vol. 2, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Political Thought of Hume and his Contemporaries

Enlightenment Projects Vol. 2, 1st Edition

By Frederick G. Whelan


238 pages

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pub: 2014-12-23
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Intended for scholars in the fields of political theory, and the history of political thought, this two-volume examines David Hume's Political Thought (1711-1776) and that of his contemporaries, including Smith, Blackstone, Burke and Robertson. This book is unified by its temporal focus on the middle and later decades of the eighteenth century and hence on what is usually taken to be the core period of the Enlightenment, a somewhat problematic term.   

Covering topics such as property, contract and resistance theory, religious establishments, the law of nations, the balance of power, demography, and the role of unintended consequences in social life, Frederick G. Whelan convincingly conveys the diversity--and creativity--of the intellectual engagements of even a limited set of Enlightenment thinkers in contrast to dismissive attitudes, in some quarters, toward the Enlightenment and its supposed unitary project. 

Political Thought of Hume and his Contemporaries: Enlightenment Projects Vol. 2 contains six in-depth studies of eighteenth-century political thought, including both normative issues and examples of Enlightenment social science, including international relations and law, the problem of double standards, political economy, demography, and the causes of imperial decline. The central figure is David Hume, with substantial attention to William Robertson, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, Malthus, and others.

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: 1.Vattel’s Doctrine of the State2. Robertson, Hume, and the Balance of Power 3. Hume on the Laws of Nations, Chastity, and Double Standards 4. " Contrary Effects" and the Reverse Invisible Hand in Hume and Smith 5. Population and Ideology in the Enlightenment 6. Explaining Imperial Decline in Eighteenth-Century Scottish Thought

About the Author

Frederick G. Whelan is Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a leading scholar of Enlightenment political thought.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Social and Political Thought

This series explores core issues in political philosophy and social theory. Addressing theoretical subjects of both historical and contemporary relevance, the series has broad appeal across the social sciences. Contributions include new studies of major thinkers, key debates and critical concepts.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General