Wednesday, October 03, 2007

William Adams and David Hume

Dr. Adams had distinguished himself by an able answer to David Hume's 'Essay on Miracles.' He told me he had once dined in company with Hume in Logond: that Hume shook hands with him, and said, 'You have treated me much better than I deserve;' and that they exchanged visits.

Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D., vol. 2. Fletcher, ed. Heritage Press (New York: 1963) p. 234.

The Dr. Adams in question is William Adams; his answer to Hume's essay can be found online. Hume is not conceding anything to Adams in this anecdote as far as the substance of Adams's critique goes; rather, he is thanking him for his civility. And Boswell goes on to note that he and Johnson have an argument with Adams over whether it is proper to treat an infidel's writings with civility, with Adams arguing that it is.

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