Hume Texts Online

My Own Life (1777)

prepared by Peter Millican

Written in the year of his death, when Hume was aware of the seriousness of his terminal illness, this was sent to his printer William Strahan for inclusion in the forthcoming final edition of Hume’s works, but in the event was published separately in 1777. This text is taken from the original publication, with a few small corrections made by comparison with Hume’s handwritten manuscript in the National Library of Scotland. Hume’s story of his life is certainly selective (for example it contains no mention of the distasteful quarrel with Rousseau), and his aim seems to be to leave to posterity an appropriate impression of calm philosophical detachment. For a sensitive discussion of the nuances of the piece, see Donald Siebert, The Moral Animus of David Hume (Associated University Presses, 1990), chapter 5.