Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Humeday


Today of course marks the 295th anniversary of the birth of philosopher and historian David Hume. In keeping with long tradition, many will be taking the day off from work in order to learn about the world through the operation of the senses, and to engage in constructive skepticism. Although Humeday is widely (if not especially broadly) recognized as a legitimate impromptu holiday, many institutions of higher learning take a dim view of it, especially if they can lip-read their way through parts of Hume's profound political treatises, and may threaten employees with dismissal if they do not report to work, and repudiate Hume and all his works. True Humeans will naturally be uncowed, and will positively rejoice if they are summarily fired. Human nature may be everywhere the same, but Humean nature is principled. So I hope that all of our readers have scheduled skeptical empiricist events, celebrations, and parades today, with public readings of choice passages from A Treatise of Human Nature. And I wish them the very best fortune tomorrow in locating new, non-academic jobs to support their scholarly pursuits.