Destroy and Liberate : Political Action on the Basis of Hume, Paperback / softback Book

Destroy and Liberate : Political Action on the Basis of Hume Paperback / softback


In David Hume's science of human nature every self is located by passions that bind it to groups, repel it from other groups, and rank it on a hierarchy: we call this discovery a `topology of the passions'.

These bound and ranked selves and groups form the matter of what he called `government', a supposedly neutral model of political action designed to avoid the malady of faction and catapult Scotland out of feudalism into a glorious future as a commercial society, assisted by the application of the new discipline of political economy, a discipline blind beyond its functional measures of privileged variables - the growth of trade, interest rates, wage levels - measures that justify the destruction of all obstacles to the wholesale liberation of the commercial passions.

To govern - a new kind of action for a new epoch - is to destroy and liberate.

But ever since Hume, government has fallen apart because it fails to take into account the complexity of society as a topology of the passions.

It is through a close analysis of Hume's account of the English Revolution in The History of England that we find an alternative to government: in his ambivalent report on the impact and danger of another model of political action - democratic enthusiasm - wherein to act is to incarnate an idea of commonality.

Moreover, it is also in Hume's History that we glimpse the springs and workings of fortune in politics: models of political action woven together, unravelling, re-woven, any `ought' or any `necessity' foundering in a sea of contingency.

We see how the efficacy of a politics is sown together by speech acts and their shaping of time in a topology of passions.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield International
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Western philosophy, from c 1900 -
  • ISBN: 9781783481613

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