David Hume

Biography and early life

David Hume’s birth name was David Home. He was born Edinburgh in 1711, May 7th. His parents were Joseph Home, a solicitor by profession, and Katherine Falconer. Hume joined the University of Edinburgh when he was just 12 years old. Initially, he wanted to study law, but, later, his interests turned philosophical.


In 1734, he travelled to France, where he clashed with the Jesuits of La Flèche college. This happened because Hume spent most of his life’s savings during four years while writing a book named “A Treatise of Human Nature”. He finished the book when he was 26 years old. This book is considered as one of his most renowned works to date. In 1744, his work was published again under the name of “Essays Moral and Political”.

After the publishing of the book, Hume put an application for the post of Chair of Pneumatics and Moral Philosophy at University of Edinburgh. Because Hume was believed to be an atheist, he was not given the post. Instead, the post went to William Cleghorn. In the year of 1745, at the time of the Jacobite Rebellion, Hume taught the Marquis of Annandale. This bond was broken just one year later and created a huge mess.

Hume then started on one his most impactful works, “The History of England”. This work took fifteen years to complete; it consisted of around one million words and was printed in six volumes. It was published from 1754 to 1762. The work was related to Canongate Theatre; Hume also linked it with Lord Monboddo within the same context and with other personalities of Scottish Enlightenment Edinburgh.

In 1746, he also served three years as Secretary to Lt. General St. Clair. During that time, he penned his “Philosophical Essays” related to human understanding; this was later published under the name, “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”. This work was more famous than his previous publications.

Hume was later accused of heresy, but received support from a young cleric friend. The friend claimed that, as an atheist, Hume was separate from the jurisdiction of the Church. In spite of the support, Hume was unsuccessful in attaining the post of Chair of Philosophy at University of Glasgow.

Upon his return from Edinburgh, he wrote his autobiography, “My Own Life” in 1752. This work was the means that empowered Hume to continue his historic exploration for “The History of England”. Hume attained great reputation in literary circles as a historian. “The History of England” was a huge achievement, and consisted of an entire chronology of events from Julius Caesar’s invasion to the revolution of 1688. It was the biggest selling book at that time.

Hume died in 1776, August 25th. His fame lives on, and he is considered a great historian to this day.