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Certainty and Order, Liberty and Contingency. Back Matter Pages About this book Introduction This volume offers one of the first systematic analyses of the rise of modern social science. Contrary to the standard accounts of various social science disciplines, the essays in this volume demonstrate that modern social science actually emerged during the critical period between and It is shown that the social sciences were a crucial element in the conceptual and epistemic revolution, which parallelled and partly underpinned the political and economic transformations of the modern world.

From a consistently comparative perspective, a group of internationally leading scholars takes up fundamental issues such as the role of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution in the shaping of the social sciences, the changing relationships between political theory and moral discourse, the profound transformation of philosophy, and the constitution of political economy and statistics. Editors and affiliations. An anonymous eighteenth-century commentator of the Hume-Rousseau quarrel obliquely suggested that this was the case:.

You are aware no doubt that our philosophers had fallen into great disrepute, at the time they concluded that David Hume would make a suitable recruit for their sect and would help to raise it up. He was a foreigner, imperturbably stolid, bold in his speculations, and sufficiently well behaved in his actions.

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He had written the History of his country for England, and four volumes of philosophy for France. His History, which had little success in London, succeeded very well in Paris, among our philosophers and their disciples, because of the four volumes of philosophy that buttressed their principles. They spoke of it with great enthusiasm: it was purchased, scarcely read, and praised to the skies. That Hume was more routinely praised than carefully read by the philosophe party is entirely possible. Reaction was inevitable.

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Voltaire had spoken of the English as tolerant in religion, moderate and free in politics and, most important of all, profound in their philosophical thinking. If only, Voltaire seemed to be saying, France took England for its model, then all would be well. Lefebvre de Beauvray disagreed vehemently. We are harangued every day on how little liberty is afforded under monarchical government. To silence these critics, I shall ask them only to weigh the following considerations, set out in good faith by Mr.

Or should it be found impossible to restrain the license of human disquisitions, it must be acknowledged that the doctrine of obedience ought alone to be inculcated and that the exceptions, which are rare, ought seldom or never to be mentioned in popular reasonings and discourses. Nor is there any danger that mankind, by this prudent reserve, should universally degenerate into a state of abject servitude.

Obliged to curry favour with the Populace, they saw themselves obliged to applaud its folly, or to fall in with its rage. Cromwell was not just the worst of these parliamentary leaders; no man since Mohammed, de Beauvray affirms, had exhibited to the same degree such a harmful mixture of genius and low cunning.

Voltaire had painted a very rosy picture of religious toleration in England; each Englishman, we remember, is seen as going to heaven by the road of his choice. Hume, in his descriptions of the Civil War period, gives us a rather different version of things and, still according to Lefebvre de Beauvray, his picture is one which deprives the British people of any right to accuse other nations of religious persecution:. Never was there an Inquisition like that instigated by the Puritans of England and the Covenanters of Scotland. The supposedly religious confederation known as the Covenant brought fire and sword to all parts of the Three Kingdoms.

It was, in a sense, this league that prepared the horrific tragedy whose outcome was so fatal to the royal family and still causes sons to lament the crime of their fathers. Similarly, those who make a great show of tolerance often reveal a most intolerant character.


Without themselves deigning to tolerate anyone, they want everyone to tolerate them. Some reproach him his Scottish birth and his predilection for the Court party. As a consequence they deny him the acclaim his writings and research deserve. If they persist in the assertion that Mr. Hume is not a good historian, then England does not yet have a national history and can never have one.

Voltaire had Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] also praised the English for their civic virtues. What is significant for us is that he too found proofs for his arguments in the impartial Mr. Hume frankly admitted, for example, that the English at the time of the Norman Conquest showed very little of that patriotism which they liked to boast of as almost hereditary in their nation. The British Cabinet had always known that its unruly subjects had either to be amused or to be feared:. To avoid being reduced to this last extremity, it seeks to keep its restless population occupied.

And if such enterprises turn out to be ruinous for the nation, it lulls the people with celebrations of these glorious triumphs that in fact exhaust it.

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That is why one of the most astute political thinkers of England Mr. The philosophes were not to be allowed the satisfaction of thinking that all of modern philosophy supported their cause.

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Hume was not really an angel of truth, but he could be spirited away from his evil brothers and put to work against their incredulity. Happily, there was a remedy for their blindness:. More judicious authors have remedied this failing with more accurate studies, based on authentic documentation. If among those persons who have fallen away from religion because of unfortunate prejudices there can be found minds of rectitude and equity and hearts inclined to virtue, what better way for them to be cured of their prejudices and reconciled to Christianity than by reading the life of Jesus Christ and the lives of the saints who, imbued with the spirit of Jesus Christ, have exemplified in all of their conduct the Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] grandeur and simplicity of the Gospels?

There they will find human nature ennobled by the most exalted virtues, practiced in full brilliance and without ostentation. Apparently a perusal of Hume could be added profitably to readings from the gospels. Already author of an anti- Emile and an anti- Contrat social, Gerdil set out again to attack the artificiality of contract theory. Man is born for society; the contracts of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau are false, the concept of natural equality is a harmful myth; ultimately, the organization of man in society is a reflection of the government of God.

One is not surprised to find this learned ecclesiastic defending theocracy as the true basis of government. Little more than a clever transition is required to perform this textual miracle. The origin of Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] public authority does not rest, then, in the free consent of individuals who have given up for this purpose part of their natural rights.

Public authority takes all its force from the right that nature implicitly gives every society to see to its well-being and survival:. Gerdil applauds this argument as entirely solid. Unfortunately, Hume spoils his line of reasoning somewhat by his subsequent conclusions. Gerdil gives the obviously confused but no doubt well-intentioned Monsieur Hume a kindly correction on this point:.

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The establishment of government conforms to the intentions of the omniscient Being, and the sovereign occupies a place in society that is designated expressly by Providence; but the abuse that a bandit makes of his physical power in order to rob the passerby is a crime against the laws of God, who, while allowing this evil, disapproves of it, condemns and punishes it. How then could Mr.

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Hume suggest that the authority of the most lawful prince is not more sacred, or more inviolable than that of a brigand? We must therefore look upon the establishment of government not only as the simple effect of this secret influence that animates all of nature but also as an institution that God desires, that conforms to the intentions of the all wise Being and to his supreme beneficence. This conformity that Mr. Hume acknowledges is revealed to us by right reason, informs us by clear and immediate logic that we cannot attack the sovereign authority of government without at the same time defying the intentions, the laws, and the will of the omniscient Being.

This proves sufficiently that such authority is sacred and inviolable. What reason demonstrates on this subject is fully confirmed by the testimony of the Scriptures which reveal to us in a more distinct and authentic manner the will of the Supreme Being. Christianity, he maintained to the contrary, has been a civilizing and beneficial factor in good government throughout the ages:.

Christianity has had a civilizing effect on customs, it has checked the spirit of sedition, it has uprooted and destroyed the seeds of civil war. It is therefore undeniable that it has been a force for good in the universe. These same frenzied tubthumpers who constantly proclaim Christianity to be a religion of disorder and discord, a disruptive force that overturns states, kingdoms, and empires, also seek to depict it as a bloodthirsty religion, the most dangerous to crowned heads.

In that, they are not of the same opinion as one of the most celebrated learned men of this century who, though a Protestant, acknowledges that, of all religions, Catholicism is the most favourable to sovereigns. Hume, Hist. Hume does not speak of it. Quite to the contrary, James was forced to leave the English throne because he was excessively tolerant.