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David Hume


1711 - 1776

David Hume
©2016 Gazetteer for Scotland

David Hume

Philosopher, historian, agnostic and leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment. Born in Edinburgh, Hume's father was a minor Borders land-owner, with a small estate at Ninewells. Hume was educated at Chirnside and then read law and philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. However, his agnostic stance in terms of religion hampered his academic career and he was rejected for Professorships in Edinburgh and Glasgow. He took various posts, including that of a private tutor, Keeper of the Advocate's Library (Edinburgh) and a civil servant, as well as proving a successful author. Hume wrote on human nature, politics and introduced the concept of social history, his major works including his ground-breaking Treatise on Human Nature and Essays: Moral and Political.

Hume died in Edinburgh where he lies in Old Calton Burial Ground. He is commemorated by a statue on the Royal Mile.


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