Department of Philosophy



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The Philosophy Graduate Colloquium Series is pleased to present

Stephanie Smith on

David Hume and Peter Kropotkin: A Comparison of Accounts of Human Sociability

Date: Friday, December 7, 2018

Time: 2:30 pm

Watson Hall, Room 341

David Hume and Peter Kropotkin both provide accounts of what they take human sociability to consist of, as well as the forms of political society that will emerge from these accounts as a result. Although both thinkers hold that human beings possess a desire for social living as well as traits which allow them to do so successfully, they advance differing accounts of the political societies which will emerge from such sociability. While Hume promotes the idea that a state is required in order to facilitate successful interaction between agents, Kropotkin advances his theory of anarcho-communism as the most successful form of human society. I will argue that although the political societies advanced by these thinkers vary, several of the assumptions regarding human sociability upon which they are based are very similar. I will illuminate that the assumption Kropotkin holds regarding the size of anarcho-communist societies is similar to Hume’s assumption regarding the limits of natural human sociability. The implications of these assumptions, I argue, results in an analogous picture of the evolution of human societies (up to a certain point) between the two thinkers.