David Hume, the 18th century Scottish historian and economist, addressed political disequilibrium throughout the undoubtedly volatile trajectory of England in his extensive book, The History of England. Ranging from Julius Caesar’s invasion to the Revolution of 1688, Hume’s work was seen as the authoritative history of England for nearly a century. Public Policy professor Andrew Sabl’s latest book, Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the “History of England,” sees it as something more: a lesson on the shifts in conventions of authority during periods of political upheaval.
By reading Hume’s History as a dynamic treatment of “coordination problems,” in which different actors would benefit from all doing the same thing but have trouble figuring out what that thing should be, Sabl reveals that Hume’s work lays foundations of understanding complex processes that were not explicitly described until centuries later. Sabl’s new perspective on Hume’s monumental work offers political scientists and political theorists alike a new way to approach questions of authority, liberty, equality and justice.
The book, published by Princeton University Press, is available on Amazon.com.