Skeptical tranquility and Hume's manner of death

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 6 (2):115-134 (2008)
In this essay I examine the relevance of Hume's skepticism for the debate around his death. I argue that as to the official record of Hume's manner of death, `My Own Life' indirectly points to his skepticism, while Adam Smith's `Letter to Strahan' evades the issue altogether. As for the responses, when they address the problem of Hume's skepticism, they are either hostile or, at best, dismissive of it. I claim that William Cullen's letter to John Hunter constitutes the one relation of Hume's death that positively acknowledges his skeptical principles, and acknowledges, in a Humean fashion, their beneficial moral influence. Along with Cullen, I argue that such influence both delivers one from superstitious disquiet and heightens the enjoyment of common life. It thus plays a central role in Hume's tranquil acceptance of death
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DOI 10.3366/E1479665108000171
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