Freeman

ARTICLE

Book Review: Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary by David Humeedited and with a foreword, notes and glossary by Eugene F. Miller

MARCH 01, 1986 by JOHN K. WILLIAMS

Liberty Classics, 7440 North Shadeland, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250 • 1985 • 679 pages, $11.00 cloth

Students of the freedom philosophy are indebted to Liberty Fund. From that body comes Liberty Classics, a superbly produced series of works of inestimable value to any person desirous of making the acquaintance of the great thinkers of history who defended political and economic liberty.

The latest addition to that series is David Hume’s Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary. The volume’s edi tor, Eugene F. Miller, has contributed a foreword, notes, and glossary of interest to any reader but invaluable to students of Hume’s writings. Included also is a brief autobiographical outline of Hume’s life and a moving letter penned by Hume’s admiring and fond friend, Adam Smith. Then come no less than forty-nine: essays, graced by the subtlety of insight and clarity of expression typical of Hume.

It would be unfortunate if readers of The Freeman who peruse this volume merely study Hume’s essays dealing with explicitly economic issues (those on trade, interest, and money, for example). Hume’s comments on the “Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature,” on “National Characters,” on “Civil Liberty,” on “Passive Obedience,” and on the “Study of History” merit thoughtful consideration.

All students of Hume’s works will be delighted to find in this volume the full and accurate text of two of Hume’s most controversial essays: “On Suicide” and “On the Immortality of the Soul.”

The freedom philosophy needs enthusiastic advocates. It also needs informed advocates. Shallowness of historical insight does not become any person who wishes to further the cause of liberty. We all do well to steep ourselves in the works of the great thinkers who have explored and expounded the philosophy that is ours. Liberty Classics has long made available the works of such thinkers in an attractive, and remarkably inexpensive, form. This edition of Hume’s essays is a significant addition to an already distinguished series.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

March 1986

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required

CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

It's been 40 years since F. A. Hayek received his Nobel Prize. His insights, particularly on the distribution of knowledge and the impossibility of economic planning, remain hugely important today. In this issue, we look back on the influence of his work. Max Borders and Craig Biddle debate whether liberty must be defended from one absolute foundation, further reflections on Scottish secession, and how technology is already changing our world for the better--including how robots, despite the unease they cause, will only accelerate this process.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION