Saturday was the 300th birthday of David Hume, who is widely considered one of the most important and influential philosophers ever (and certainly one of my favorites). Fittingly, the New York Times published an essay by Robert Zaretsky that nicely discusses the role that Hume’s philosophical thinking on reason and emotion played in his everyday life.

Hume was most concerned with the nature of knowledge, morality, causality — not with fashioning a philosophy for everyday life. And yet his life, like his work, does offer insights about how to live. Consider an episode in Hume’s life that reflects his most provocative and misunderstood claim: that reason is and always will be the slave to our passions.

The example Zaretsky uses: the romance between Hume and French woman Hippolyte de Saujon. Read on.