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Civilizing Money

Civilizing Money

Hume, his Monetary Project and the Scottish Enlightenment

George Caffentzis

An engaging and unique study of Enlightenment philosopher David Hume's understanding of money.

This is the long awaited final volume in a career-defining trilogy by George Caffentzis. Taking the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume as its subject, the book breaks new ground in focusing its lens on a little-studied aspect of Hume's thinking: his understanding of money.

Caffentzis makes both an intervention in the field of monetary philosophy and into Marxian conceptions of the relation between philosophy and capitalist development. He vividly charts the ways in which Hume's philosophy directly informed the project of 'civilizing' the Scottish Highlands and pacifying the English proletariat in response to the revolts of both groups at the heart of the empire.

Built on careful historical and philosophical detective work, Civilizing Money offers a stimulating and radical political reading of the ways in which Hume's fundamental philosophical claims performed concrete political functions.

George Caffentzis is a co-founder of the Midnight Notes Collective and coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa (CAFA). Caffentzis was a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine for over thirty years before retirement. His previous publications include In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism (Brooklyn: Common Notions, 2013).

'Caffentzis has been the philosopher of the anticapitalist movement from the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. A historian of our own times, he carries the political wisdom of the twentieth century into the twenty-first. Here is capitalist critique and proletarian reasoning fit for our time' - Peter Linebaugh, author of 'The Magna Carta Manifesto' (University of California Press, 2008)

An Autobiographical Preface
Introduction: What is a Philosopher of Money?
Part I: Historical and Biographical Context
1. On the Scottish Origins of 'Civilization'
2. Civilizing the Highlands: Hume, Money and the Annexing Act
3. Hume's Monetary Education: Hume in Bristol
Part II: Philosophical Tools of Civilization
4. Hume, Money and Civilization; Or Why was Hume a Metallist?
5. Did Hume read Berkeley's The Querist?: Notions and Conventions in Their Philosophies of Money
6. Wages and Money: Pegasus's Mirror
7. Fiction or Counterfeit? Hume's Interpretations of Paper and Metallic Money
Conclusion: Locke, Berkely and Hume as Philosophers of Money
Coda: A Critique of Marx's Thesis XI on Feuerbach
Published by Pluto Press in Jul 2021
Paperback ISBN: 9780745341521
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745341514
eBook ISBN: 9781786806819

256 pages

135mm x 215mm