“Hume is the amiable, modest, generous philosopher we need today” (Julian Baggini | Aeon Essays | aeon.co)
Illustration by Petra Eriksson at Handsome Frank (Aeon Essays | aeon.co)
Today is the 7th of May. Today we are commemorating de 308th anniversary of David Hume’s birth — his 308th birthday, if he were still alive.
Many consider him the greatest philosopher ever to use the English language in order to say what he had to say — and he had a lot to say, ever since he was in his early twenties. I think he is much more than that — even as a philosopher. I don’t hesitate to call him the greatest philosopher who ever lived. But more important than that, he was one of the greatest persons ever to inhabit this planet (and I mean it!): friendly, amiable, likeable, fair, funny, modest, generous, great to be and to have around. A Human Being not only with capital initials, but with capitals all the way: HUMAN BEING.
A dictionary I have gives the following SYNONYMS for “likeable”, as in “a likeable person”, “a likeable guy”: pleasant, nice, friendly, agreeable, affable, amiable, genial, personable, charming, popular, good-natured, engaging, appealing, endearing, convivial, congenial, simpatico, winning, delightful, enchanting, lovable, adorable, sweet; informal darling, lovely. That’s what Hume was . That’s what he still is, because he illustrates and represents the soft and calm virtues of which he always spoke so well.
As ANTONYM for likeable, only one: unpleasant. That he certainly wasn’t.
There are other philosophers that I like, as philosophers: Aristotle, Karl Popper, Ayn Rand. Aristotle was also a likeable fellow, but Popper and Rand, seen as human beings, were not likeable at all: they were detestable. I would not want to spend 30 minutes in their company.
I am including here in this brief article, almost a post, a link to an article on Hume that has the title “Hume the Humane”. I recommend it. Read it. It was written by Julian Baggini, author of the great book The Edge of Reason: A Rational Skeptic in an Irrational World (2016).
Here is a summary of what Baggini has to say about Hume:
“Hume believed we were nothing more or less than human: that’s why he’s the amiable, modest, generous philosopher we need now”.
Thank you for your life, David, le bon David, as your french friends, Les Philosophes, called you. You taught us that we are not animals, but do not have to be gods, either. We are simply human / humane. You advised us:
“Be a philosopher, but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.”
May 7, 2019, 12:24 AM