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

Rudolf Metz (1891-1944)

Heidelberg, 1935

Rudolf Metz served as Director of the Helmholtz Gymnasium in Heidelberg between 1934 and 1941. Apart from this fact we as yet have very little information about his life. In the early twentieth century he made several significant contributions to Berkeley and Hume scholarship, and to scholarship in the history of British philosophy. Norman Kemp Smith called Metz’s book David Hume: Leben und Philosophie (1929, 1968) “the best single work wholly devoted to Hume.” But he is better known today for his often reprinted survey of the late modern period: A Hundred Years of British Philosophy, first published as Die philosophischen Strömungen der Gegenwart in Grossbritannien (1935). It is worth noting also that Metz published an article on the philosophy and character of the British people in a National Socialist monthly.


David Hume: Leben und Philosophie. By RUDOLF METZ, Stuttgart: Frommanns, 1929.

Bibliographie der Hume-Literatur. By RUDOLF METZ. Literarische Berichte aus dem Gebiete der Philosophie. Heft 15-16 (39-50).

Unveröfftentlichte Briefe David Hume’s. Edited by RUDOLF METZ. Englische Studien, 1929. Band 63 (337-388).

Les amitiés françaises de Hume et le mouvement des idées. By RUDOLF METZ. Revue de Littérature Comparée, 1929. (644-713).

STUDENTS of Hume owe a great debt of gratitude to Prof. Metz for the publications above enumerated.

The volume devoted to Hume’s life (pp. 3-87), and teaching (pp. 91-396) is, I should venture to maintain, the best single work wholly devoted to Hume. There are, in other treatises, discussions of this or that part of Hume’s Philosophy - such as Cassirer's admirable treatment of Hume's theory of knowledge in his Erkenntnisproblem - which are much more complete, and in this or that respect more adequate; but taken as a whole, and as covering the life and every part of Hume’s teaching, Dr. Metz’s volume stands by itself. It is independent, and yet not coloured by any desire to exhibit Hume as supporting this or that type of later or present-day philosophy.

Selected from Norman Kemp Smith, Mind (April 1930)

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