The position was to be vacated by John Pringle, and the leading candidates were Hume and William Cleghorn. The Edinburgh Town Council was responsible for electing a replacement; consequently, politics was a key factor in the decision. Loyalties were drawn chiefly along the two key political party lines: the Argathelians (Hume's party), and the Squadrones (Cleghorn's ...
The position was to be vacated by John Pringle, and the leading candidates were Hume and William Cleghorn. The Edinburgh Town Council was responsible for electing a replacement; consequently, politics was a key factor in the decision. Loyalties were drawn chiefly along the two key political party lines: the Argathelians (Hume's party), and the Squadrones (Cleghorn's party). Pringle, a Squadrone, procrastinated in stepping down, thus allowing the Squadrones to unify their opposition to Hume by condemning his anti-religious writings. Chief among the religious critics was clergyman William Wishart (d. 1752), the Principal of the University of Edinburgh. Although Wishart was an Argathelian, his dislike of Hume's philosophy rose above political allegiance; it is also relevant that Wishart too sought the position for which Hume was applying. Lists of allegedly dangerous propositions from Hume's Treatise circulated, presumably penned by Wishart.
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"David Hume (April 26, 1711 - August 25, 1776) was an 18th-century Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian, considered among the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.
He first gained recognition and respect as a historian, but interest in Hume's work in academia has in recent years centred on his philosophical writing. His History of England was the standard work on English history for sixty or seventy years until Macaulay's.
Hume was the first great philosopher of the modern era to carve out a thoroughly naturalistic philosophy. This philosophy partly consisted in the rejection of the historically prevalent conception of human minds as being miniature versions of the divine mind. This doctrine was associated with a trust in the powers of human reason and insight into reality, which possessed God's certification. Hume's scepticism came in his rejection of this 'insight ideal', and the (usually rationalistic) confidence derived from it that the world is as we represent it. Instead, the best we can do is to apply the strongest explanatory and empirical principles available to the investigation of human mental phenomena, issuing in a quasi-Newtonian project, Hume's 'Science of Man'.
Hume was heavily influenced by empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley, along with various Francophone writers such as Pierre Bayle, and various figures on the Anglophone intellectual landscape such as Isaac Newton, Samuel Clarke, Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and Joseph Butler."