David Hume

Platonic Philosopher, Continental Ancestor

By Bernard Freydberg

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438442143, 154 pages, January 2013
Hardcover : 9781438442150, 154 pages, June 2012

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Table of contents

Deleuze’s Hume. ..and Ours: Madness, Retrieval
1. Aspects of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
2. Aspects of An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
3. Hume’s Philosophy of Art

An original, rigorous, and daring reappraisal and recategorization of David Hume.


In the first book of its kind, Bernard Freydberg places David Hume firmly in the tradition of the Platonic dialogues, and regards him as a proper ancestor of contemporary continental philosophy. Although Hume is largely confined to his historical context within British Empiricism, his skepticism resonates with the Socratic Ignorance expressed by Plato, and his account of experience points toward very contemporary concerns in continental thought. Through close readings of An Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, and the essay "On the Standard of Taste," Freydberg traces a philosophy of imagination that will set the stage for wider consideration of Hume within continental thought.

Bernard Freydberg is Scholar in Residence at Duquesne University. He is the author of several books, including Philosophy and Comedy: Aristophanes, Logos, and Eros and Schelling's Dialogical Freedom Essay: Provocative Philosophy Then and Now, also published by SUNY Press.


"Freydberg's text is full of insights on Hume both small and large, insights borne out of many years of reading and thinking about Plato and the imagination. With gusto and grace, the book functions as a bold challenge to rethink both Hume himself and Hume's relation to the tradition of Continental philosophy. We would do well to heed the challenge. " — Research in Phenomenology

"…Bernard Freydberg's work displays a rare combination of synoptic measure-taking and close exegesis. His subjects are consistent with his allegiance to the Continental tradition, but his style bears the compact precision typically ascribed to Analytic philosophy. His readings are decisive and novel, yet kept within the limits of demonstrable warrant. No point is belabored, but every sentence has the feel of great labor behind it. " — Comparative and Continental Philosophy

"Freydberg's newest contribution … is not to be overlooked. The economy and grace of its presentation reveal it to be the product of a long meditation motivated by genuine concern for philosophy in its current, rather precarious state. " — The Bibliographia