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Portrait of David Hume (detail) by Allan Ramsey (1754)

André-Louis Leroy (1892-1967)

André-Louis Leroy (July 8, 1892 - May 7, 1967) was born in Sedan, was orphaned early, and belonged to the generation whose studies were interrupted by the First World War. He did his duty bravely at Verdun, for which he was decorated. He resumed his studies at Amiens and at Lille, and held several temporary teaching posts until 1927, when he joined the faculty at Le Mans. From 1938 to 1955 he taught philosophy at Ghaptal college, and after that at Lakanal. From 1944 until 1961 he offered a course of English philosophy at the Sorbonne. He then retired to Nîmes, where the dry climate was more suited to the health of Mrs. Leroy. In 1964 he was Visiting Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

In 1930, as a professor at Le Mans, he completed his thesis under the direction of Emile Bréhier: La critique et la religion chez David Hume. He subsequently published a commentary on Shaftesbury, and a number of translations of Berkeley and of Hume. Among the latter were Traité de la nature humain (1946), and Enquête sur l’entendement humain, and Enquête sur les principes de la morale (1947). Leroy’s main contributions are of course the two synthetic works that appeared in the series “Les Grands Penseurs”: David Hume (1953) and George Berkeley (1959); not to mention a small book on Locke (1964).

Selected and translated from Pierre-Maxime Schuhl, Revue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger, T. 157 (1967)


André-Louis Leroy is one of the foremost scholars of English philosophy in the world today. His work is, unfortunately, not as well known in America as it ought to be. Beginning with his book La critique et la religion chez David Hume in 1930, and continuing in various articles on Hume, Berkeley, and others, Professor Leroy has contributed greatly to the understanding of many aspects of English philosophy. His translations, especially of Hume’s Treatise and Enquiries, have rendered classical English thought more accessible to the French philosophical audience.
     David Hume is, as Professor Leroy points out at the outset, a summary of Hume’s science of human nature. It is not a study of Hume’s sources, nor of the development of his thought. Rather, the book attempts to organize Hume’s science of human nature under various categories, and to offer an interpretation of his views as well as a systematic account of them. The interpretation purports to provide a new key for unifying and comprehending the Scottish sceptic’s philosophy.
     Professor Leroy’s book is one of the most important studies of Hume in recent years. Its interpretation, strange though it may sound, attempts to do justice to a side of Hume too often ignored or glossed over. It is a book well worth reading, whether or not one is convinced of its central claim. The individual analyses of various portions of Hume’s views are masterful, and the total effect is that of taking one through the world of Hume, and forcing one to reexamine and reevaluate its merits completely.

Selected from Richard H. Popkin, “Review of André-Louis Leroy, David Hume,” The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Jan. 20, 1955)

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