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The epistemic configuration of Hume’s economic thought

Iara Vigo Lima


Eugene Rotwein wrote in his ‘Introduction’ to David Hume Writings on Economics that works on Hume’s economics have been primarily ‘internal’ studies. Beyond exploring Hume’s insights for understanding economic phenomena, they have investigated either the relations between his philosophical thought and his economic analysis or emphasised their psychological and historical elements. The perspective in this paper is ‘external’, dealing with Hume’s economic thought according to Michel Foucault’s approach to history. Foucault sees the ‘interiority’ of thought as a doubling of what is outside of thought. It is in this sense that Foucault investigates Hume’s context according to the concept of ‘episteme’, defining this as a set of relations that determines the ways of thinking. Foucault located Hume within the ‘classical episteme’ and I explore here his characterisation of that moment in order to understand the historical conditions of possibility of Hume’s economic thinking


Foucault; Hume; economic thinking.

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