Hume

Hume

[hyoom or, often, yoom]
Hume, David, 1711-76, Scottish philosopher and historian. Educated at Edinburgh, he lived (1734-37) in France, where he finished his first philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). His other philosophical works include An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748; a simplified version of the first book of the Treatise), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), Political Discourses (1752), The Natural History of Religion (1755), and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). Hume also wrote an exhaustive History of England (1754-62), whose purity of style overcame the frequent faultiness of fact and made the work the standard history of England for many years. In 1763, Hume returned to Paris as secretary to the British embassy. It was at that time that he became a friend of Jean Jacques Rousseau, to whom he later gave refuge in England. In philosophy Hume pressed the analysis of John Locke and George Berkeley to the logical extreme of skepticism for which he is famous. He could see no more reason for hypothesizing a substantial soul or mind than for accepting a substantial material world. A complete nominalist in his handling of ideas of material objects, he carried the method into the discussion of mind and found nothing there but a bundle of perceptions. Causal relation derives solely from the customary conjunction of two impressions; the apparent sequence of events in the external world is in fact the sequence of perceptions in the mind. From this statement Hume argued that our expectation that the future will be like the past (e.g., that the sun will rise tomorrow morning) has no basis in reason; it is purely a matter of belief. However, he also asserted that such theoretical skepticism is irrelevant to the practical concerns of daily life. Hume's attack on rationalism is also evident in his two works on religion; in these he rejects any rational or natural theology.

See his autobiography (1777); studies by N. K. Smith (1941), J. B. Stewart (1963, repr. 1973), J. Passmore (1968), and J. Noxon (1973).

Hume, John, 1937-, Northern Irish political leader, grad. St. Patrick's College, Univ. of Ireland (B.A., 1958; M.A., 1964). A moderate Catholic, he devoted his career to the peaceful settlement of sectarian conflicts in his homeland. A founding member (1970) of the nonsectarian, nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Hume was a member of Northern Ireland's parliament (1969-72) and assembly (1972-73). Leader of the SDLP (1979-2001), he was elected to the European parliament in 1979 and to the British parliament in 1983. Despite severe criticism, he held talks (1988-93) with Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Féin, which resulted in the Hume-Adams Initiative, a basis for multiparty peace talks and the 1994 ceasefire. Hume, Adams, and the pro-British Ulster Unionist party leader David Trimble later participated in multicountry negotiations that resulted in the historic 1998 peace agreement. Hume subsequently (1998-2000) served as a member of the new Northern Irish assembly. He and Trimble were co-recipients of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize; Hume was also awarded the 2001 Gandhi Peace Prize.

See biographies by B. White (1985) and P. Routledge (1997); G. Murray, John Hume and the SDLP (1998).

Hume, Joseph, 1777-1855, English politician and reformer. Although a Tory in early life, he sat in Parliament from 1818 to 1855 (with only one interruption) as an indefatigable Radical. Hume was a leader in almost all the reform issues of the day. He fought for repeal of the Combination Acts (laws against the nascent labor unions) and for Catholic Emancipation, financial retrenchment, parliamentary reform, freedom of the press, free trade, colonial self-government, and disestablishment of the Church of Ireland.

(born April 27, 1896, Burlington, Iowa, U.S.—died April 29, 1937, Philadelphia, Pa.) U.S. chemist. He became director of organic chemical research at DuPont in 1928. There he first worked on polymerization of acetylene and derivatives, leading to the development of neoprene. His outstanding achievement involved the theory of linear polymerization; he tested it by synthesizing polymers structurally resembling cellulose and silk, culminating in the production of nylon. The first synthetic polymer fibre to be produced commercially (1938), it laid the foundation of the synthetic fibre industry.

Learn more about Carothers, W(allace) H(ume) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born May 7, 1711, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 25, 1776, Edinburgh) Scottish philosopher, historian, and economist. He conceived of philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature. His first major work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40), explains the origin of ideas, including the ideas of space, time, and causality, in sense experience; presents an elaborate account of the affective, or emotional, aspects of the mind and assigns a subordinate role to reason in this order (“Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions”); and describes moral goodness in terms of “feelings” of approval or disapproval that a person has when he considers human behaviour in the light of the agreeable or disagreeable consequences either to himself or to others. The Treatise was poorly received, and late in life Hume repudiated it as juvenile. He revised Book I of the Treatise as An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1758); a revision of Book III was published as An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751). His Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), containing a refutation of the argument from design and a critique of the notion of miracles, was withheld from publication during his lifetime at the urging of friends. From his account of the origin of ideas Hume concluded that we have no knowledge of a “self” as the enduring subject of experience; nor do we have knowledge of any “necessary connection” between causally related events. Immanuel Kant, who developed his critical philosophy in direct reaction to Hume, said that Hume had awakened him from his “dogmatic slumbers.” In Britain, Hume's moral theory influenced Jeremy Bentham to adopt utilitarianism. With John Locke and George Berkeley, Hume is regarded as one of the great philosophers of empiricism.

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(born May 7, 1711, Edinburgh, Scot.—died Aug. 25, 1776, Edinburgh) Scottish philosopher, historian, and economist. He conceived of philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature. His first major work, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40), explains the origin of ideas, including the ideas of space, time, and causality, in sense experience; presents an elaborate account of the affective, or emotional, aspects of the mind and assigns a subordinate role to reason in this order (“Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions”); and describes moral goodness in terms of “feelings” of approval or disapproval that a person has when he considers human behaviour in the light of the agreeable or disagreeable consequences either to himself or to others. The Treatise was poorly received, and late in life Hume repudiated it as juvenile. He revised Book I of the Treatise as An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1758); a revision of Book III was published as An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751). His Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), containing a refutation of the argument from design and a critique of the notion of miracles, was withheld from publication during his lifetime at the urging of friends. From his account of the origin of ideas Hume concluded that we have no knowledge of a “self” as the enduring subject of experience; nor do we have knowledge of any “necessary connection” between causally related events. Immanuel Kant, who developed his critical philosophy in direct reaction to Hume, said that Hume had awakened him from his “dogmatic slumbers.” In Britain, Hume's moral theory influenced Jeremy Bentham to adopt utilitarianism. With John Locke and George Berkeley, Hume is regarded as one of the great philosophers of empiricism.

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Hume (Home is an older variant spelling of Hume, still used for the senior branches of the family) is a surname that originated in the South East of Scotland, of which the senior representatives are the Earls of Home. The name can refer to several people and places:

People

In fiction

  • Hume (see Ivalice), the name of the Human race in the computer role playing game series Final Fantasy
  • Desmond Hume, a fictional character on the television series Lost
  • Nick Hume, the protagonist of Death Sentence (film)

Places

Scotland

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