14. Cultivating Our Garden

David Hume and Gardening as Therapy

  1. Dan O'Brien PhD Research Fellow Associate Lecturer
  1. Dan O'Brien PhD Research Fellow Associate Lecturer

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch14

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

O'Brien, D. (2010) Cultivating Our Garden, in Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone (ed D. O'Brien), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch14

Editor Information

  1. Oxford Brookes University, UK

Author Information

  1. Oxford Brookes University, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330212

Online ISBN: 9781444324563



  • cultivating our garden - David Hume on gardening, a form of therapy;
  • gardens, having metaphysical and theological significance;
  • English picturesque tradition, rejecting formal approach - laying out of gardens to precise geometric rules;
  • Voltaire's Candide - as a parody of religion and of religious apologies, existence of evil in the world;
  • Hume, suspicious of metaphysics - hostile towards an organized religion;
  • Hume's Natural History of Religion - naturalistic account of religious belief;
  • Plato, and the world of experience - akin to shadows on cave walls, as shadows of real things in Platonic Heaven;
  • gardening, a sort of pursuit - aiding immersion in common life, inculcating epistemic virtues;
  • artisan, sophisticated grasp of induction - kitchen gardener, poor harvest due to cucumber mosaic virus or spider mites;
  • gardens and tranquility - relation between garden and tranquility


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Candide

  • Hume and Common Life

  • Gardens and Tranquility

  • Notes