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The legacy of david hume for american public administration: empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism

Michael W. Spicer (Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University)

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior

ISSN: 1093-4537

Article publication date: 1 March 2003

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Abstract

This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration. This paper examines the ideas of David Hume and their importance to American public administration writing and practice. Hume’s ideas on empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism have indirectly, via their impact on modern philosophy, encouraged both support for and criticism of empiricist approaches in public administration. Also, Hume’s ideas on constitutionalism, because of their influence on the Founders' writings and design, provide an important legacy for the practice of public administration. The paper argues that Hume’s notion of mitigated scepticism, as well as his constitutional ideas, have continuing relevance for the study and practice of contemporary public administration.

Citation

Spicer, M.W. (2003), "The legacy of david hume for american public administration: empiricism, scepticism, and constitutionalism", International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 281-303. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOTB-06-02-2003-B003

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2003 by PrAcademics Press