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David Hume’s Political Economy Hume's philosophical political economywennerlind & Schabas’

A Research Annual

ISBN: 978-0-85724-059-0, eISBN: 978-0-85724-060-6

Publication date: 25 June 2010


David Hume's image, as produced by his fellow Scot, Allan Ramsey, is printed large on the hardback cover of David Hume's political economy. This handsome portrait captures Hume's confidence and intelligence and displays, in its scarlet cloth, fine lace and elaborately worked, golden trim, Hume as a successful philosophe, a man of knowledge and also of commercial success (a success of considerable psychological importance for Hume, and a source of pride) founded upon the literary works on which his left arm rests. Indeed, without the significant reference to the books, this could as well be the portrait of a Scottish merchant or affluent banker, both types ranked among his Edinburgh friends. Hume with no University post and no inherited income worth speaking of made the most of the commercial possibilities open to authorship. This is a refined, even luxurious painting, and brings together in one enduring image, at least for those in the know, Hume's notion of “luxury” or of “Refinement in the Arts” and the idea of virtue in commercial society. This is a fitting cover for a work that places Hume's political economy firmly in the contexts of his notion of a science of human nature and of the role of virtue in commercial society.


Henderson, W. (2010), " David Hume’s Political Economy Hume's philosophical political economywennerlind & Schabas’", Biddle, J.E. and Emmett, R.B. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 28 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 287-296.



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