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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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(p.273) Conclusion
Hume's Sceptical Enlightenment

Ryu Susato

Edinburgh University Press

Based on the above arguments, the Conclusion summarises the basic features of Hume’s Sceptical Enlightenment by comparing the overall characteristics of his social philosophy with those of Voltaire – who is supposedly categorised as another ‘Sceptical Enlightenment’ thinker. It is true that both philosophes have much in common, though the former’s ‘spirit of scepticism’ permeates even the positive advocacy of modern values such as politeness, refinement, and progress. Unlike the propagandist and militant stance of Voltaire, Hume’s sceptical (allegedly indifferent and detached) posture can be considered an important and unique contribution to the intellectual resources of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment thinkers. Despite of Hume’s emphasis on ‘common life’, his sceptical approach is also quite different from the one taken by the Scottish Common Sense philosophers such as James Beattie. This is exemplified in Hume’s popularity among some Postmodernists who aim to find another possible modernity in him.

Keywords:   Voltaire, Enlightenment, Beattie, Common Sense, postmodernism, modernity, scepticism

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