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Philosophy General

Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy

Selected Essays

by (author) Paul Russell

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2021
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    Publish Date
    Aug 2021
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In this collection of essays, philosopher Paul Russell addresses major figures and central topics of the history of early modern philosophy. Most of these essays are studies on the philosophy of David Hume, one of the great figures in the history of philosophy. One central theme, connecting many of the essays, concerns Hume's fundamental irreligious intentions. Russell argues that a proper appreciation of the significance of Hume's irreligious concerns, which runs through his whole philosophy, serves to discredit the deeply entrenched framework for understanding Hume - and much of early modern philosophy - in terms of the idea of "British Empiricism". In a substantive introduction, Russell outlines how his various insights overlap and connect to each other.

The volume is organized thematically into five sections: metaphysics, free will, ethics, religion, and general interpretations of Hume's philosophy. The collection also features a previously unpublished essay on Hume's atheism and an essay on Adam Smith's views on religion and ethics that has not been previously published in English.

Recasting Hume and Early Modern Philosophy presents the reader with Russell's substantial and significant set of interconnected observations and insights on the matters and figures of the greatest importance in early modern philosophy. These essays not only provide different and original perspectives on the subject, they also show that the various issues addressed are very relevant to each other, as well as to a number of major topics in contemporary philosophy.

About the author

Paul Russell is the accomplished author of various works of both fiction and non-fiction, including several award-winning novels, anthologies, poems, short stories, essays, and book reviews. He attended Oberlin College and later studied at Cornell University, where he earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English. Russell has taught English at Vassar College and the University of Exeter, and is a Professor of English at Vassar College. He lives in upstate New York.

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Editorial Reviews

"Paul Russell is one of the two or three leading Hume scholars of the past quarter-century, and both the high quality of his work and the intrinsic interest of his themes will draw in a wide range of readers-including not only scholars of Hume and British empiricism (for whom it will be essential), but scholars of modern philosophy more generally, as well as practicing epistemologists and ethicists."

--Kenneth Winkler, Yale University

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