Hume's Real Riches

History of Philosophy Quarterly 39 (1):45–57 (2022)
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Hume describes his own “open, social, and cheerful humour” as “a turn of mind which it is more happy to possess, than to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year.” Why does he value a cheerful character so highly? I argue that, for Hume, cheerfulness has two aspects—one manifests as mirth in social situations, and the other as steadfastness against life’s misfortunes. This second aspect is of special interest to Hume in that it safeguards the other virtues. And its connection with the first aspect helps explain how it differs from Stoic tranquility. For Hume, I argue, philosophy has a modest role in promoting human happiness by preserving cheerfulness.

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Charles Goldhaber
Haverford College

Citations of this work

Hume's Skeptical Philosophy and the Moderation of Pride.Charles Goldhaber - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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References found in this work

A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1958 - Philosophical Quarterly 8 (33):379-380.
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume - 1751 - New York,: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp.
Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary.David Hume - 1875 - Indianapolis: Liberty Press. Edited by Eugene F. Miller.

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