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by John T. Scott,Robert Zaretsky

  • ISBN: 0300121938
  • Category: Biographies
  • Author: John T. Scott,Robert Zaretsky
  • Subcategory: Professionals & Academics
  • Other formats: rtf lrf mbr doc
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st edition (March 3, 2009)
  • Pages: 264 pages
  • FB2 size: 1870 kb
  • EPUB size: 1186 kb
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 920
Download The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding fb2

The Philosophers' Quarrel gives us a close up and personal look at the dispute - both personal and . To be a bit more accurate, the limits of knowledge is never mentioned and the Enlightenment barely mentioned

The Philosophers' Quarrel gives us a close up and personal look at the dispute - both personal and philosophical - between former friends turned enemies David Hume and Jean-Jaques Rousseau. These are two of the towering figures of the Enlightenment, and some of the minor characters in the book are also very well known exponents of that age-defining movement: from Voltaire to Diderot, to the various women who famously hosted the salons that shaped the culture of the time. To be a bit more accurate, the limits of knowledge is never mentioned and the Enlightenment barely mentioned. Sane man meets crazy man, of interest maybe to a shrink, but that's about it.

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The Philosophers' Quarrel book. In this lively and revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott explore the unfolding rift between Rousseau and Hume. The authors are particularly fascinated by the connection between the thinkers’ lives and thought, especially the way that the failure of each to understand the other-and himself-illuminates the limits of human understanding.

In this lively and revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott explore the unfolding rift between Rousseau and . Hume is best known today as a philosopher and the author of A Treatise o f Human Nature. But in his day, that book was a failure and Hume publicly repudiated it. The authors are particularly fascinated by the connection between the thinkers' lives and thought, especially the way that the failure of each to understand the other-and himself-illuminates the limits of human understanding. In addition, they situate the philosophers’ quarrel in the social, political, and intellectual milieu that informed their actions, as well as the actions of the other participants in the dispute, such as James Boswell, Adam Smith, and Voltaire.

The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding (Paperback). Zaretsky and Scott have crafted an excellent book, written with a dramatic flare that consistently provides a gripping narrative. Robert Zaretsky (author), John T. Scott (author). It is superior to other books on the subject by taking seriously what is most important about Rousseau and Hume: their thought.

revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. that the failure of each to understand the other-and himself-illuminates the limits of human understanding.

Everyone took sides in this momentous dispute between the greatest of Enlightenment thinkers. The authors are particularly fascinated by the connection between the thinkers' lives and thought, especially the way that the failure of each to understand the other-and himself-illuminates the limits of human understanding

The Philosophers' Quarrel : Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding.

The Philosophers' Quarrel : Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. by Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott. The rise and spectacular fall of the friendship between the two great philosophers of the eighteenth century, barely six months after they first met, reverberated on both sides of the Channel. As the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume unraveled, a volley of rancorous letters was fired off, then quickly published and devoured by aristocrats, intellectuals, and common readers alike. Zaretsky and Scott have crafted an excellent book, written with a dramatic flare that consistently provides a gripping narrative

In this lively and revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. Christopher Kelly, Boston College (Christopher Kelly).

Robert Zaretsky and John Scott retell the saga of this disastrous encounter. Although their work naturally overlaps with that of the occasionally cited Edmonds and Eidinow, there are differences. While Edmonds and Eidinow have done their homework, they are journalists by profession and cannot muster the details offered by Zaretsky and Scott, both specialists on Rousseau. Both were, then, stalwart critics of the Enlightenment surrounding them.

The rise and spectacular fall of the friendship between the two great philosophers of the eighteenth century, barely six months after they first met, reverberated on both sides of the Channel. As the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume unraveled, a volley of rancorous letters was fired off, then quickly published and devoured by aristocrats, intellectuals, and common readers alike. Everyone took sides in this momentous dispute between the greatest of Enlightenment thinkers.In this lively and revealing book, Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott explore the unfolding rift between Rousseau and Hume. The authors are particularly fascinated by the connection between the thinkers’ lives and thought, especially the way that the failure of each to understand the other—and himself—illuminates the limits of human understanding. In addition, they situate the philosophers’ quarrel in the social, political, and intellectual milieu that informed their actions, as well as the actions of the other participants in the dispute, such as James Boswell, Adam Smith, and Voltaire. By examining the conflict through the prism of each philosopher’s contribution to Western thought, Zaretsky and Scott reveal the implications for the two men as individuals and philosophers as well as for the contemporary world.
Reviews about The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding (6):
Acebiolane
If you are interested in the Age of Reason, or in the personalities and intellectual disagreements of some of the greatest minds of all time, this is one book you will want to read. The Philosophers' Quarrel gives us a close up and personal look at the dispute - both personal and philosophical - between former friends turned enemies David Hume and Jean-Jaques Rousseau. These are two of the towering figures of the Enlightenment, and some of the minor characters in the book are also very well known exponents of that age-defining movement: from Voltaire to Diderot, to the various women who famously hosted the salons that shaped the culture of the time. I must admit to a profound dislike for Rousseau and his ideas, and a comparable love of Hume, and this book - while in fact maintaining a fairly neutral tone - has validated my original impressions. Both thinkers were critical of the extreme program of the Enlightenment, recognizing the limits of reason and the necessity for a balance with the emotional side of being human. But Hume strived to reach a, well, reasonable medium, while Rousseau was out to destroy pretty much everything that makes for good philosophy, in the process also demonstrating a degree of misanthropy and ingratitude to his friends (including Hume) that is simply astounding. The actions of the two protagonists, set against the intellectually magnificent backdrop of Paris and London, make for fascinating reading. And the chapter on "How philosophers die" is simply very moving - again, though, thanks pretty much only to Hume.
Whiteseeker
The cover announces, The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume and the Limits of Human Understanding. A blip on the back cover calls it "half biography, half intellectual history of the Enlightenment."

So I bought the book and read it, becoming more and more disappointed as I went along. The book's two main characters were in fact philosophers (and included other philosophers), but it is not about an intellectual quarrel or about the Enlightenment. Rather the book is about David Hume's efforts to be a friend to Rousseau, efforts that were negated at every turn by Rousseau. The story is: sane Scottish (and smart) philosopher meets insane (also smart) Swiss philosopher. The book has almost nothing to do with intellectual history, the Enlightenment or the limits of knowledge. To be a bit more accurate, the limits of knowledge is never mentioned and the Enlightenment barely mentioned. Sane man meets crazy man, of interest maybe to a shrink, but that's about it. A theme that runs through the book is the story of how Rousseau tried to return to some mythical primal state of innocence after being ruined by civilization and, on the other hand, how Hume kept insisting that, for all its faults, we must live in the world as it really is.

Pick up my copy found in the philosophy department and take it to the psychology (abnormal, that is) department.

Norman Siefferman
Mogelv
I was unaware until reading this book that Rousseau and Hume had actually met. Rousseau was on the run after publishing a work that derided miracles and Hume offered to give him refuge. At first, the relationship was one of mutual admiration, but that deteriorated eventually mostly, as I percive it, due to Rousseau's sensitivity. Today, Rousseau might be labeled as paranoid based on all the imaginary offenses that he thought were ocurring. The story is told in a way that keeps the reader engaged. The writing duo of Zaretsky and Scott are highly gifted; one wonders how they worked together to pull this off. There are so many illustrious characters involved, beyond the two main protagonists - Boswell, Johnson, Erasmus Darwin, Robert Garrick, Voltaire, Diderot - it's a veritable who's who of Enlightenment personalities. The reader gets a mini-course on Rousseau's and Hume's philosophies in the context of their relationship, their times and the conflagration between the two. To be honest, at times it felt as if I was reading nothing more than gossip, a sort of highbrow version of the Housewives of New Jersey. In the end, however, there is the intellectual satisfaction of reading the masterful writing and tasting of the profound thinking of both Rousseau and Hume.
Burilar
A bit disappointing, this one. In describing the falling-out between Hume and Rousseau, the emphasis is not so much on the limits of human understanding, as its subtitle promises, but more on personal differences. The reader gets a good idea of the amiable Hume trying his best to support the hypersensitive Rousseau, or Old Ross Hall as the locals in northern England used to call him. There are some nice scenes depicting Rousseau in his Armenian coat walking his beloved dog Sultan and a hilarious account of him visiting the theatre attended by King George lll and an unruly audience, all anxious to get a glimpse of the famous philosopher.
We also get a taste of the acuity and pettiness of "the skeletal genius" Voltaire, who from the sidelines follows and comments on the developments. In a painting by Jean Huber, he is seen getting out of bed while dictating a letter to his secretary, no doubt blackening the reputation of his arch-enemy Rousseau. Sometimes the stories in The Philosophers' Quarrel amount to little more than gossip. The famous visit of James Boswell at Hume's deathbed is included, where one wonders about the relevance of how many times Boswell had caught a venereal disease. In an earlier instance, we're also informed he couldn't properly "perform".
All in all, a pleasant read. The philosophers are rendered lifelike, warts and all, but with more of a weekly magazine feel to it than one would perhaps have expected from the two stern-looking professors gazing at you on the back flap.
Bliss
I'm half way through this book and I hope it soon lives up to its title. So far though it's been strong on biographical info and very weak on intellectual history as I had hoped for. If you're interested in where and when Hume and Rousseau lived in various places, this is the book for you. If, like me, you want to know more about their ideas, perhaps another book would be better.

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