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Is the University of Edinburgh right to “cancel” David Hume?

Great thinkers can have reprehensible views but there are better ways to deal with this paradox

By Julian Baggini  

Photo: David Hume by Allan Ramsay, 1766

For decades after its construction in the 1960s, the only controversy about the naming of the University of Edinburgh’s David Hume Tower was whether Britain’s finest philosopher, if not the world’s, deserved a better memorial than this modernist monstrosity. Yet this week, owing to far more serious controversy, the building was renamed 40 George Square, a response to the dishonour of his deplorable views on race.

This has been coming ever since Edward Colston’s effigy was sent plunging into Bristol’s floating…

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