The epitome of the “Scottish Enlightenment,” David Hume was one of the most influential British philosophers of the 18th century. He was born in Edinburgh in 1711, and from an early age showed signs of a brilliant mind: he entered Edinburgh University at the age of 12, studying first law and then philosophy. In 1734, Hume moved to France, where he set out his major philosophical ideas in A Treatise of Human Nature. He then devoted much of his time to writing essays on literary and political subjects and struck up a friendship with the young Adam Smith, who had been inspired by his writings. In 1763, Hume was given a diplomatic role in Paris, where he befriended the revolutionary French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He settled in Edinburgh again in 1768, where he lived until his death in 1776, aged 65 years.
Key works: 1739 A Treatise of Human Nature, 1748 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1752 Political Discourses