chapter  9
Pages 17

The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) was the most important and influential of the eighteenth-century British empiricists. Of good family and comfortable means, he was for some time engaged in the diplomatic profession and held the office of secretary to the embassy in Paris. His philosophical masterpiece-the Treatise of Human Naturewas published in 1739, when Hume was 28, and remained unsurpassed by his later writings. However, the book fell, in Hume’s words, ‘dead-born from the press’—the first of many disappointments.