Hume, David (1711–1776)
Scottish Enlightenment philosopher,
economist, and historian, whose Treatise of Human Nature (1739–40)
is one of the key works in the tradition of British empiricism.
But it was his shorter Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)
that prompted Kant to his most radical labors.
His influential Dialogues Concerning Natural Religions were published
posthumously in 1779, long after their composition. In epistemology
Hume argued that people have to reason to associate distinct impressions
as cause and effect; if they did so, it was only because experience had
shown them that this was possible. His skepticism
in this respect has always been controversial. In his own day, Hume's most
successful work was possibly his History of England.