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Cairu, a reader of David Hume: enlightenment and religion in Portugal and Brazil (1772-1830)

Grant number: 20/12332-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History
Principal Investigator:João Paulo Garrido Pimenta
Grantee:Lucas da Costa Mohallem
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


In many of his writings, José da Silva Lisboa, The Viscount of Cairu (1756-1835), refers repeatedly to David Hume, giving him praise. These allusions to Hume are, by themselves, intriguing, because of how culturally different these two figures were. Cairu was a fiercely catholic intellectual, whereas Hume was a critic of the dogmatic foundations of religion. However, such laudatory references become even more interesting when we take into account that Cairu was once an agent of the Portuguese Empire's censorship regime, while Hume, on the other hand, figured amidst the authors forbidden by the censoring institutions of which Cairu took part. By taking this curious reception movement as its subject, this research project aims to identify the means by which a catholic thinker has developed such an esteem for one of the most emblematic exponents of modern scepticism. By doing so, we expect to contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of enlightenment in the luso-american world during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (AU)

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