1. David Hume (1711-1766) was christened as David Home, but later changed the spelling of his last name to Hume as most English people mispronounced it.
2. Hume began studying at Edinburgh University at the age of 12. He spent two years studying until he halted his education at the age of 14. He insisted that the education he was receiving was not as valuable as studying ancient thinkers. He later tried to pursue law—the career of his father—but found it laborious. Instead, he sought education in letters.
3. In 1729, Hume discovered “a new scene” of philosophical thought and found himself in a state of mental crisis, which resulted in a nervous breakdown. During the five years following his breakdown, Hume experienced rapid heart palpitations and other symptoms of anxiety.
4. His first publication, A Treatise of Human Nature, did not succeed in the public market. Concerning this collection’s pitiful release, Hume commented in his autobiography, “It fell dead-born from the press, without reaching such distinction, as to even excite a murmur among the zealots.”
5. In 1744, he became a candidate for the chair of moral philosophy at Edinburgh University; however, he was accused of heresy and atheism for the claims he made in his Treatise. Amidst this controversy, Hume left the city and spent subsequent few years wandering from town to town, taking various jobs along the way.
6. Hume befriended fellow Enlightenment thinker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. After he offered the persecuted writer refuge in his home, the pair quickly fell out. Rousseau believed Hume had conspired to silence him. When news broke that their friendship had dissolved, Rousseau’s sanity was questioned and Hume’s reputation was dampened.
7. During his time, Hume was known more as a historian than as a philosopher. As Librarian to the Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, he used the library’s extensive collections to write his six-volume bestseller The History of England.
8. Following the success of his History of England, all of Hume’s works were placed on a list of forbidden books contrived by the Roman Catholic Church—this was a result of continued accusations of atheism against Hume. In one instance of such allegation, a woman did not help Hume out of a bog until he recanted his atheism by reciting the Lord’s Prayer and confessing Christ.
9. Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion were not published during his lifetime. His friends greatly discouraged him from publishing this work as the Dialogues refuted popular arguments among theists for God’s existence, mainly the cosmological and teleological arguments.
10. Toward the end of his life, Hume asserted that his collection—A Treatise of Human Nature—was a juvenile work and not characterized by the maturity of his later years. Despite his discontent with these early works, they are the most read among today’s philosophical academics.