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The 4th Annual Enlightenment Lecture: Dr Margaret Watkins, 'Hume’s Sceptica...

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The 4th Annual Enlightenment Lecture: Dr Margaret Watkins, 'Hume’s Sceptical Hope'

We often associate the Enlightenment with unmitigated optimism—belief in the promise of humanity, and trust that humanity would fulfil that promise. David Hume’s hope for the future, however, was a sceptical hope. He worked to combat nostalgia for the past and forward modern progress, but he also recognized that progress could be precarious. This lecture will discuss Hume’s hope that philosophical thinking, broadly understood, might both promote social progress and provide a refuge for the reflective individual in reactionary times.

Biography: Margaret Watkins is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Honors Program at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She is currently the David Hume Fellow at IASH; during her time in Edinburgh, she will finish work on her study of Hume’s Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary. She earned the Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame and has published articles on Hume’s ethics and aesthetics in journals such as Hume Studies, Inquiry, and History of Philosophy Quarterly. She also likes to think about other early modern writers and thinkers with interesting affinities to Hume, and she has published articles on the resources of Jane Austen’s novels for ethical theory and the concept of habit in Montaigne’s Essays. Her plans for future research include further study of Hume’s theory of the passions as it relates to marginalized groups, including those with emotional disorders. She is a member of the Hume Society Executive Committee and is co-organizer of the 2018 Hume Society conference in Budapest.

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50 George Square

Edinburgh

EH8 9LH

United Kingdom

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