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Hume's Sceptical Enlightenment$
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Ryu Susato

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699803

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699803.001.0001

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How ‘To Refine the Democracy’: Hume’s Perfect Commonwealth as a Development of his Political Science

How ‘To Refine the Democracy’: Hume’s Perfect Commonwealth as a Development of his Political Science

Chapter:
(p.177) 6 How ‘To Refine the Democracy’: Hume’s Perfect Commonwealth as a Development of his Political Science
Source:
Hume's Sceptical Enlightenment
Author(s):

Ryu Susato

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699803.003.0006

Along with his lifelong criticism against the priesthood, there is another goal that Hume keeps pursuing: to suppress dangerous political factions. To demonstrate the importance of this goal we must turn to one of Hume’s political writings that has been underestimated: the ‘Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth’. Many commentators still tend to consider this essay a mere satire on political reforms, and fail to ascertain the integral connections between it and his other political writings. This chapter analyses this essay through detailed examinations of his other works and his ‘economic’ essays of thePolitical Discourses. This essay should be considered a development of his earlier essay ‘That Politics may be reduced to a Science’ with the purpose of theorising the most stable and liberal constitution. Through careful comparisons with the similar proposals of Harrington, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, this chapter also makes it clear that his plan has much wider links, for example, with his views of elections, his interest in indirect democracy, and his criticism of utopianism.

Keywords:   Utopianism, faction, election, Harrington, Montesquieu, Rousseau, democracy

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