The Tale of the Magic Toe – Superstition? Or What?

Two years ago, I was in Edinburgh musing about what David Hume would think of people rubbing his statue’s toe for luck…

Ordinary Philosophy

I attended a meeting of the Humanist Society of Scotland the other day, and some of us were chatting about my David Hume project. They recommended sites to see and people and ideas to add to my research, and I was telling them what I had seen and discovered so far. They also regaled me with some Hume anecdotes. Such a friendly group of people, so engaged with important issues of the day, and so welcoming and ready to chat and have a good time!

One thing that came up was the classical statue of Hume on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. I noticed that the left toe of the statue is polished to a bright brassy shine, from the tradition of students and others rubbing it for luck, so as to absorb some of his wisdom.

Some who I was talking to laughed, as if at a friendly…

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