Slight update to the reading group list

On Wednesday we completed the readings from Hume’s Political Discourses, with numerous linked discussions focusing on Hume’s conception of (free)trade, merchants, money and national wealth, commerce, interest rate mechanisms and state roles in industry and trade. There is perhaps too much to discuss here, at length in any case, so I invite you to read and post your opinions as a comment to this note.

On Wednesday 15th February, we’re moving on to read Foucault’s discussion of Hume in Lecture 11 of the Birth of Biopolitics collection. This was originally scheduled for 29th Feb, but we’ve brought it forward in the reading series.

The following articles will be discussed on the changed dates, noted below:

22nd Feb

Caffentzis, C.G., (2001), “Hume, Money, and Civilization; or, Why Was Hume a Metalist?”, Hume Studies, XXVII (2), pp.301-335.

29th Feb

Wennerlind, C. (2001), “The Link between David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature and His Fiduciary Theory of Money”, History of Political Economy, 33 (1), pp. 139-160

If you are interested in coming along to discuss Foucault and Hume, as captured through Lecture 11, then please do so. 12.30 in Bennett Link Building, G82.

If you require access to a copy of Lecture 11, please let me know. However, I only have a pdf of the full book so the file is quite large.


One thought on “Slight update to the reading group list

  1. What I’ve found most interesting about the Hume readings is their insistence upon the need to analyse the site of consumption as a site of moral and economic significance. A Humean critique of consumer society would be difficult to develop, I think, because for Hume the sphere of consumption is served by the sphere of production. For as long as the wealth generated in the sphere of production doesn’t facilitate or encourage idleness and indolence then it is said to be worthwhile. It is said to be worthwhile precisely because it is through consumption that humans become refined and go on to flourish. Economic development provides for this possibility but is not to be confused with it. Work certainly matters for Hume, but work isn’t anywhere near enough.

    The sphere of consumption, in this sense, isn’t simply the sphere of subsistence and reproduction. Much more than that, the sphere of consumption is the sphere in which beauty is encountered and ethical living becomes refined. Hume’s political economy hence offers an interesting counter-point to a commodity fetishism line of consumer critique. Still, phenomena such as Jedward, the Crazy Frog and the X-Factor probably put Hume’s notion of the aesthetic improvement of mankind into no small degree of difficulty.

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