The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

By Dennis Rasmussen
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"The Infidel and the Professor" by Dennis Rasmussen is a captivating biographical work that explores the unlikely friendship between David Hume, a revered philosopher of the Enlightenment, and Adam Smith, the renowned economist. Set against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland, Rasmussen delves into the intellectual and personal bond formed between these two great minds.

Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Rasmussen charts the trajectory of Hume and Smith's parallel lives, which converged at the University of Edinburgh. Despite their contrasting personalities and approaches to life, Hume and Smith found common ground in their shared pursuit of knowledge and their rejection of orthodox religious doctrines.

Rasmussen examines the profound influence Hume had on Smith's intellectual development, particularly in shaping his ideas on moral philosophy and the role of government in society. The author expertly illuminates how their dialogues and debates on subjects like ethics, economics, and political theory shaped their own thinking as well as the broader intellectual landscape of the time.

"The Infidel and the Professor" is a deeply human tale of friendship and intellectual camaraderie, shedding light on the personal struggles and triumphs of these iconic thinkers. Rasmussen's prose is accessible and engaging, making this scholarly work a rewarding read for both academics and general readers interested in the history of ideas.

In this concise yet richly detailed book, Rasmussen captures the essence of the Enlightenment era and the enduring legacy of Hume and Smith's partnership. "The Infidel and the Professor" offers readers a profound understanding of the complex relationship between reason, philosophy, and friendship, and how it shaped the course of Western thought.
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