The science of man and the foundations of politics

Authored by: Christopher J. Berry

The Humean Mind

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138909878
eBook ISBN: 9780429429996
Adobe ISBN:


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Hume makes an explicit foundational link between the science of man and politics. This chapter investigates what the foundations of politics are. It identifies two supporting but not independent pillars. The scientific foundations of politics rely on the naturalistic premises of artful contrivance and the contraction of habits to deal with the way the world just happens to be for humans. From this naturalistic vantage point, Hume criticizes accounts of politics that invoke contracts, natural rights, and teleology.

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