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Aaron Garrett

Nice discussion. As I think you intimate Hume may have thought he was a great modern Briton and aligned that with modern virtues. But the virtues that King Alfred (Hume's central example of a founder) would have been rather different in pre-modern violent times.

Also given that Hume seems to suggest that Richard Cromwell had lots of modern virtues, and was a disaster as a politician, it seems likely that there isn't a connection between these virtues and political success.I would think Hume would avoid that connection -- or at least that's the ordinary way of reading Hume. But maybe you are just pointing to the particular exemplary virtues.

Eric Schliesser

On your first point, agreed. (Having said that there is a complicated story to be told about Hume's view of the kind of pre-modern magnanimity of King Alfred and modern kind of magnanimity, associated with Johan De Witt.)

On the second (helpful) point: I am not claiming that for Hume the modern virtues are sufficient for political success, just that (against the Ancients) they are compatible with and sometimes conducive to (justified) political success.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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