REVIEWSrnThe FirstrnPhilosophic Agernby Antony FlewrnPhilosophical Melancholy andrnDelirium: Hume’s Pathologyrnof Philosophyrnby Donald W. LivingstonrnChicago: University of Chicago Press;rn433 pp., $68.00rnIt can confidently be claimed—andrnhas already been by several reviewersrnin the philosophers’ trade journals—thatrnthis book is absolutely indispensable tornanyone wanting hilly to understand thernwhole range of Hume’s writings. Thatrnrange includes much more than thernTreatise, the two Enquiries, and the Dialoguesrn—ihe four works normally studiedrnin university courses in philosophy. It isrnnot for nothing, either, that the cataloguernof the British Museum Library listsrnHume’s publications under the headingrn”David Hume, the historian,” or that it isrnthe Liberh-‘ Press which has publishedrnboth the only 20th-century reprint of hisrnHistory of England and what is now thernstandard edition of his Essays.rnThe present book is perhaps best readrnafter readers have refreshed their memoriesrnof the same author’s Hume’s Philosophyrnof Common Life. That would preparernthem to appreciate a considerablyrnmore comprehensive conception of philosoph}’rnthan that which is usual in departmentsrnof philosophy throughout thernEnglish-speaking world. Here the masterrnproblem is that of Hume’s answer tornthe question: “What is philosophy?”rnThis question is construed comprehensivelyrnas including such sub-questions asrn”What is the philosophical life? Wliat isrnphilosophical truth? What is the properrnrelation of philosophy to religion, to culture,rnto its own history?”rnPart One consists of “Humean Reflections.”rnAfter an initial chapter asking thernkind of question beloved of contemporaryrnEnglish-speaking academic philosophersrn—”Is Hume an Empiricist?”-Livingstonrnproceeds to chapters on “ThernDialectic of True and False Philosophy,”rn”The Origin of the Philosophical Act inrnHuman Nature,” “The Ancient Philosophy,”rn”Philosophy and Christendom,”rn”The Modern Philosophy,” and “TruernPhilosophy and the Skeptical Tradition.”rnHis crucial contention is that, for Hume,rnthe fimdamental distinction is not thernempiricists’ distinction between sensoryrnexperience and the interpretation thereofrn”but the dialectical distinction betweenrntwo sorts of interpretation: customrnand reflection.” It is precisely this dialecticrnwhich makes Hume, in his own way,rnthe most profoundly conservative ofrnphilosophers.rnThe chapter on “True Philosophy andrnthe Skeptical Tradition” employs an understandingrnof this dialectic to explainrnhow friends who knew Hume well andrnsupported his applications for chairs ofrnphilosophy, first at Edinburgh and laterrnat Glasgow, could have believed, as apparentiyrnthey did, that (had he been appointed)rnhe would have been able inrngood conscience to meet the religiousrndemands made on holders of these offices.rnFor, as Livingston tells us, Humernwould have been required both to signrnthe Westminster Confession and regularlyrnto attend church. And at Glasgow,rnhe would also have been required to leadrnstudents in prayer.rnThe next two chapters are concernedrnwith “True Philosophy and Civilization”rnand “False Philosophy and Barbarism.”rnThe second member of this pair includesrnsections not only on Rousseau butrnalso on “‘The Gloomy Enthusiasm’ ofrnthe Parliamentary Party.” It was Hume’srninsight into the nature of what he calledrn”true philosophy”-first broached in thernTreatise and revisited in volumes V andrnVI of his History in his interpretation ofrnthe English Civil War as an ideologicalrnstruggle—which led him to concludernthatrnthe gloomy enthusiasm, which prevailedrnamong the parliamentaryrnparty, is surely the most curiousrnspectacle presented by any history;rnand the most instructive, as well asrnentertaining to a philosophicalrnmind.rnThat enthusiasm simply is the autonomyrnof philosophy in its religious aspect.rnHence the fundamental lessons of bothrnvolumes V and VI of the History and ofrnthe dialectic of tiue and false philosophyrnin the Treatise are the same, namely, thatrnphilosophical autonomy cut free fromrncustom entirely subverts itself (Here it isrnnecessary to recognize, as Livingston isrnmost eager to insist, that the English CivilrnWar is rightiy so called since two partiesrnwere warring for the control of arnsingle state. By contrast, what is traditionallyrncalled—by the winners—thernAmerican Civil War instead was, like thernAmerican Revolutionary War, a war inrnwhich one of the parties wanted to secedernfrom, rather than to acquire controlrnover, the other, which sought to maintainrnthat control.) Hume thought thatrnthe English Civil War was unique in historyrnand that it had a special philosophicalrnsignificance. For the first timerna mass speculative consciousnessrnhad generated mass speculativernpassions which had the power tornoverthrow an established politicalrnorder and which eventually soughtrnto destioy not only the political orderrnbut the moral and social orderrnas well, and to replace it with arnAs we know, this unique status was notrnmaintained for many years after Hume’srndeath. For the ideas of Rousseau (which,rnas Livingston makes clear, Hume abhorred)rnhelped to shape the “mass speculativernconsciousness” which generatedrn”mass speculative passions” having thernpower to overthrow the established politicalrnorder of France and to replace it withrna truly modern state. This was a republicrn”one and indivisible” possessing, in thernname of the General Will of the nation,rntotal power over both the persons and thernproperh’ of the citizens.rnThe remaining two chapters of PartrnOne deal with “English Barbarism:rn’Wilkes and Liberty!'” and “English Barbarism:rn’The Poor Infatuated Americans.'”rnThe second of these clearly revealsrnhow, and for what reasons, Humernfirst began to support American secessionrnwell before this aim was adopted byrnmost of the future Founding Fathersrnand, at the time of the Declaration of Independence,rnwas—among all his Edinburghrnfriends—alone in adopting thisrnposition. This same chapter also revealsrnthat one of those friends, the painter AllanrnRamsay, advocated a form of totalrnJUNE 1999/29rnrnrn