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The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

Dennis C. Rasmussen

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Princeton University Press
15 May 2019
Biography; Biography: historical, political & military; Western philosophy: Enlightenment; Ethics & moral philosophy; Social & political philosophy; Economic history
The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships-and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is arguably the most important philosopher ever to have written in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as the Great Infidel for his religious skepticism and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith, now hailed as the founding father of capitalism, was a revered professor of moral philosophy. Remarkably, Hume and Smith were best friends, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor tells the fascinating story of the close relationship between these towering Enlightenment thinkers-and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. It shows that Hume contributed more to economics-and Smith contributed more to philosophy-than is generally recognized. The result is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
By:   Dennis C. Rasmussen
Imprint:   Princeton University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 203mm,  Width: 133mm, 
ISBN:   9780691192284
ISBN 10:   0691192286
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   15 May 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Dennis C. Rasmussen is professor of political science at Tufts University.

Reviews for The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

oeA charming work. Alex Massie, The Times oeA remarkable combination of page-turner and serious intellectual history, The Infidel and the Professor is enormously enlightening and impossible to put down. William Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts oeAdam Smith and David Hume were two of the world (TM)s greatest thinkers. The joy of their friendship infuses every page of this marvelous book, which will make you love them both, as thinkers and people. If only one could have been at one of Hume (TM)s dinner parties! Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize winning economist oeArgu[es] convincingly and engagingly that there is ~no higher example of a philosophical friendship in the entire Western tradition. (TM) Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal oeA vivid portrait of the intellectual life of 18th-century Scotland. . . . Touching and illuminating. Jonathan A. Knee, New York Times oeA wonderfully written book about a beautiful friendship. Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg View One of Project Syndicate (TM)s Best Reads in 2017 (chosen by Kaushik Basu) Selected for Bloomberg View (TM)s oeMust-Reads of 2017: From Space to Chinese Noir One of The Guardian (TM)s Best Books of 2017 One of The Australian Review (TM)s 2017 Books of the Year Shortlisted for the 2018 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa Society


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