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The Life of David Hume$
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Ernest C. Mossner

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199243365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199243365.001.0001

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Recovery through Catharsis

Recovery through Catharsis

(p.81) Chapter 7 Recovery through Catharsis
The Life of David Hume

Ernest Campbell Mossner

Oxford University Press

In London, the anguished and frustrated David Hume paused for final reconsideration of his plans for the future. As the problem of his health could not profitably be discussed with James Oswald, he carried letters of introduction. Lonely as he was and morbidly preoccupied with his own problems, Hume was sorely tempted to take someone into his confidence. At one and the same time sure of himself, and yet curiously unsure, he felt the need for confirmation of his own diagnosis – if the right physician could be found. He must also be agreeable to diagnose the case of a man so shy as to be unwilling to present himself for personal consultation and so reticent as even to be unwilling to sign the very letter requesting advice. Hume knew his man: Dr John Arbuthnot, the only candidate perfectly fulfilling all the qualifications laid down and implied in the letter.

Keywords:   London, David Hume, health, James Oswald, letters, physician, John Arbuthnot

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