RSE Lecture: The Significance of David Hume: Scepicism, Science and Superstition

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Public lecture/debate/seminar


Organiser of the RSE Lecture as part of Hume Tercentenary celebrations

RSE Lecture by Dr. Peter Millican The Significance of David Hume: Scepticism, Science and Superstition Abstract: David Hume has long been seen as Scotland's - and indeed the English-speaking world's - greatest philosopher, but also as a puzzling thinker, with sceptical views that seem hard to reconcile with his enthusiastic advocacy of human science. Recent interpreters have moved towards a far more coherent and integrated view of his philosophy, revealing a strikingly modern thinker who is increasingly honoured as a rival to Aristotle and Kant as arguably the most significant philosopher of all time. This lecture will present Hume in this light, as a scientific revolutionary and a crucial influence on Adam Smith, Darwin, Einstein, and a host of recent philosophers. It will also exhibit for the first time a new electronic edition of Hume's posthumous masterpiece, the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, whose handwritten pages cunningly encode his still-disputed attitude to religion. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Reader in Early Modern Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford, and Illumni David Hume Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh. His philosophical interests and publications cover a wide range, from epistemology, philosophy of language and computing to ethics and philosophy of religion, but with a strong focus on David Hume and related topics. From 2005 until 2010 he was Co-Editor of the journal Hume Studies, and he runs the website (where many of his papers can be found). He is currently completing a book on Hume's notorious essay on miracles.
Period23 May 2011
Event typeSeminar
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map