Scottish Schadenfreude from David Hume

porticos in Bologna, Italia

Scottish Schadenfreude from David Hume

“[David Hume] loved to puncture convictions and to discomfit dignitaries. He was sincerely irreligious, but he also wanted to shock. Such Schadenfreude doubtless quickens a man’s perception of vulnerable targets, but in itself it gives no more, though no less, of a title to intellectual eminence than does the desire to reassure. Both can be motives to good, both to bad thinking. But the quality of the thinking has to be judged by its results, not by its motives.”

––Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976)

“Hume” (1956) in Gilbert Ryle: Collected Papers. Vol. I, (London: Hutchinson & Co, 1971).


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