Get Your Free Audiobook

Listen with a free trial

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
$16.45 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $34.76

Buy Now for $34.76

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

This is the story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships - and how it influenced modern thought.

David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime, he was attacked as "the Great Infidel" for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships.

The Infidel and the Professor is the first audiobook to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers - and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. The audiobook follows Hume and Smith's relationship from their first meeting in 1749, until Hume's death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other's writings, supported each other's careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume's quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics - from psychology and history to politics and Britain's conflict with the American colonies.

The audiobook reveals that Smith's private religious views were considerably closer to Hume's public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics - and Smith contributed more to philosophy - than is generally recognized. Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.

©2017 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Infidel and the Professor

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John
  • John
  • 28-02-2021

Great for Hume & Smith fans & much unanswered work to do

I regret this otherwise average book would not
be of much interest to those uninterested in these philosophers. It does not suffer
because of the author’s failings, but rather Rasmussen’s virtuous commitment to stick to evidence. It is dry history, free of psychological speculation. I liked this, but I think it would be dull for some.
I’m very glad it was written and look forward to historical fiction drawing from it. Eg Fantastic figures from the Scottish Enlightenment, pre-revolutionary France, and even Ben Franklin and Gibbon are in the mix. Franklin even lived with Hume in Glasgow for a month, which is missed in three biographies of Franklin I’ve read, but corroborated a hypothesis about Hume’s influence on Franklin, and Franklin’s religious skepticism.
I suppose
One fault authorial fault was a failure to show Hume’s humor and personality with examples rather than reports.
I would have liked better psychological insight into the relationship especially because it was one that was mostly long distance. But, I suspect evidence was lacking and the author’s admirable aversion to speculate beyond the evidence means these analyses are left to future scholars or fiction authors.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for henryj
  • henryj
  • 21-02-2020

a thoroughly enjoyable account of friendship

a good story, well told. It is a good balance of the personal friendship and the relative philosophies of the two men. I finished the book, wishing I had known them both. And I'll read some more by each of them.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for luca momigliano
  • luca momigliano
  • 20-03-2021

Love it!

Truly wonderful to see the impact of a friendship on such great thinkers. We often see people of the magnitude of Smith and Hume, as intrinsically different from the average man. But through the right friendships, courage and dedication, anyone is able to accomplish great things.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Russell Herbst
  • Russell Herbst
  • 27-01-2021

Great listen.

Overall great listen. The book does the connection between the two and both beautiful and meaningful ways. You really see the importance of their friendship and they're shaping of each other's ideas but you also get a sense of each man's identity through the lens of each other. Also a great overview and at times in depth review of each man's contribution to Western Civilization.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Heather Smith
  • Heather Smith
  • 08-10-2020

Excellent

The narration was great. I didn’t know much about either man, but it was a very interesting story of friendship and philosophy. I recommend it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Julian G.
  • Julian G.
  • 18-08-2020

More on the Infidel than the Professor

I recently finished a book on Smith and thought to grab another about him, but was happy to see a book on two of the leading figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. This book is more about David Hume than Adam Smith, but written in a way that gives his fans great insight into him as a friend to someone else.

I enjoyed the summary of their major works as well as the appendix of Humes' autobiography.

Excellent narration.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-10-2018

Intimate sympathy

The friendship between Adam Smith and David Hume is one of the great Platonic love stories in the history of philosophy. The book unearths an intimate array of correspondences that offers a compelling narrative that works on two levels: 1) The human sympathy between two human beings who happened to share a soul connection. 2) The literary connection between two great iconoclastic Enlightenment thinkers.

There is very much to be learned from these inestimable writers, not least on matters of fact and speculation, but also on how to maintain a friendship across periods of despair and turbulence. On the level of facts, the time period of Scottish Enlightenment, with its own list of characters and places, is appropriately framed as the intellectual backdrop to the human drama. More impressively, the book animates the protagonists' intimate human struggles and passions with a vivacity that only an archival exposé of private letters can muster.

My only criticism is a minor one: the author lets his own anticlericalism and irreligiosity, which he accurately pinpoints in Hume, take the centre stage, which obfuscates some of the finer points of distinction, drama and controversy that would have made for equally compelling storytelling.

But I cannot fault the book much for this focus, since as a narrative lodestar, or a leitmotif, the heresies and infidelities of the happy & plump philosopher are a juicy and logical choice. That said, the modern amplification of Hume's notoriety into a type of hero worship by latter day atheists is certainly a curious phenomenon that is not without its own shortcomings.

Overall, philosophical biographies are a niche market that is not exactly saturated with quality. This book is exceptional in that it combines good scholarship with easy exposition in a way that can be enjoyed by all readers. I rarely cry when reading (good) philosophy, except out of desperation, but here I cried from sympathy with the human struggles of Scotland's best sons.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dawn Robertson
  • Dawn Robertson
  • 03-05-2019

Interesting story of two men who helped shape modern thought

As a Scot, we have been brought up with our history hidden by that of England and the UK. We have all heard about the Enlightenment but this book explores Hume and Smith’s friendship as well as their influence on each other’s work.

I enjoyed the story but found the regular mispronunciation of Scottish place names grated on the ears.

Otherwise, well written and well read.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.