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BOOK REVIEWS 259 tivity to the demands of different circumstances, rather than a genuine understanding of any defect of right liberalism. Montesquieu amends Hobbes, makes him more gentle, less "sauvage." Yet, such a reading leaves it unclear how deep the defect goes. That Montesquieu should have been concerned with the necessity of enshrouding modern regimes in a faith that more lay at their foundations than was really there suggests a radical understanding of the defect. Surely, one inescapable conclusion that emerges from the central books of The Spirit o/the Laws is the idea that the entire globe will not necessarily support right politics. Hence, the history of progress to be written by modern natural philosophy is a history that may be confined to select regions. The world need not be made safe for democracy, since nature has made many parts of it unsafe for any moderate government. Montesquieu raises, in the context of modern science, the possibility that it may justifiably be the eternal human prospect that men should be divided into high cultures and barbarian cultures. On this basis, the city and man can remain the themes of political philosophy without requiring political philosophy to reconcile itself to the fundamental inadequacy of the human. It is to the practical accomplishment of this objective that his history of the republic is directed. It is a history of right politics--not the history of man on earth-that is intended to serve as the principle of right for the citizens of the modern regime. Montesquieu, one might say, sought to ensure the possibility of universal politics, but only for particular regimes. Such reflections would lead to consideration of the sense in which Montesquieu was more radical than his predecessors. What is at stake is man's capacity to discern and choose legitimate politics and the necessity of rejecting tyranny as an error. That is a theoretical goal, and we wish to know the nature of that political prudence which might ensure it. WILLIAMB. flkLLEN Harvey Mudd College Hume's Philosophical Development. By James Noxon. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1973. Pp. xiv + 197. $8.25) Hume's Philosophical Development is one of the most interesting books to have been written on Hume in a long time. It reverses the deplorable trend of treating some specific philosophical issue in Hume in isolation from the rest of his philosophy. Not only does Noxon take the totality of Hume seriously, but he advances an interesting and provocative thesis about a change in Hume's orientation. Noxon begins with noting the generally accepted view that in the Treatise I-Iume proposes to apply the Newtonian experimental method to the analysis of philosophical problems , and what this amounts to is the reduction of both the social sciences and philosophy itself to a theory of empirical psychology. This constitutes both a constructive aim on Hume's part and a basis for subverting his theological and philosophical opponents. Noxon then summarizes the main features of Newton's method and shows how Hume adopted them. Although much is said in the literature about Newton's influence on Hume, very few specific details are ever spelled out. Noxon goes a long way toward making the details more apparent. The main part of the book is then devoted to exposing the metaphysical, methodological, and logical obstacles to the successful completion of the Humean project. Noxon argues that the two novel features of Newton's method are the application of mathematics to empirical data and the insistence on confirming hypotheses with experiments . Hume's methodological difficulties with extending the Newtonian method were his lack of a mathematical format and a rather attenuated notion of experiment. The latter was further complicated by the metaphysical problem of a dualism in Hume's system. 260 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY Before discussing the logical difficulties in Hume's program, I shall present Noxon's developmental thesis, a development which Noxon argues was necessitated by the foregoing difficulties. Noxon clearly sees that what held the Treatise together was a theory of the passions wherein Hume developed a theory of sympathy which he applied to morals in Book IIL By the time Hume wrote the second Enquiry, he abandoned...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 259-260
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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