Reprinted, in English translation, from the original French in ‘Les Philosophes Célèbres’ edited by M. Merleau-Ponty, 1956, by permission of Editions d’Art Lucien Mazenod

David Hume is apt to be regarded by English-speaking thinkers as a philosopher of genius; Continental thinkers tend to take him as a mere gadfly. This difference of estimation may be symptomatic of wider and deeper divergences of outlook. I shall not assess these, but shall content myself with trying to describe a transformation of the climate of ideas for which Hume deserves most of the credit. I shall also briefly suggest two causes for the tepidity with which Continental thinkers, other than Kant, tend to speak of him.