The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding

The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding

by Robert Zaretsky, John T. Scott
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0300164289

ISBN-13: 9780300164282

Pub. Date: 02/23/2010

Publisher: Yale University Press

The rise and spectacular fall of the friendship between the two great philosophers of the eighteenth century, barely six months after they first met, reverberated on both sides of the Channel. As the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume unraveled, a volley of rancorous letters was fired off, then quickly published and devoured by aristocrats,

Overview

The rise and spectacular fall of the friendship between the two great philosophers of the eighteenth century, barely six months after they first met, reverberated on both sides of the Channel. As the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume unraveled, a volley of rancorous letters was fired off, then quickly published and devoured by aristocrats, intellectuals, and common readers alike. Everyone took sides in this momentous dispute between the greatest of Enlightenment thinkers.

In this lively and revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott explore the unfolding rift between Rousseau and Hume. The authors are particularly fascinated by the connection between the thinkers’ lives and thought, especially the way that the failure of each to understand the other—and himself—illuminates the limits of human understanding. In addition, they situate the philosophers’ quarrel in the social, political, and intellectual milieu that informed their actions, as well as the actions of the other participants in the dispute, such as James Boswell, Adam Smith, and Voltaire. By examining the conflict through the prism of each philosopher’s contribution to Western thought, Zaretsky and Scott reveal the implications for the two men as individuals and philosophers as well as for the contemporary world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300164282
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/23/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
328,334
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................ix
ONE An Enlightenment Quarrel....................1
TWO The Wild Philosopher....................8
THREE The Great Scot....................37
FOUR The Lord of Ferney....................56
FIVE Le Bon David....................72
SIX A Stone's Throw from Paris....................90
SEVEN First Impressions....................104
EIGHT A Public Spectacle....................114
NINE Poses and Impostures....................128
TEN Hume, Judge of le Bon David....................149
ELEVEN An Enlightenment Tragedy....................170
TWELVE So Great a Noise....................183
THIRTEEN How Philosophers Die....................198
NOTES....................211
INDEX....................239

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