David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

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9781451506839: David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

David Hume made a reputation by writing on reason and its limits. The main thrust of "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" is to question whether theological arguments for God that assign Him positive attributes (omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent, etc.) go beyond reason's limits in assigning these attributes. We watch Cleanthes (believer in theological arguments), Demea (believer more on faith) and Philo (disbeliever in theology's efficacy) hash out whether reason and experience alone give us reason to say anything whatever about God. In "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion," David Hume explores all of the major arguments for God's existence including the posteriori argument, the priori argument, and the argument from evil. The main thrust of "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" is that Philo, far from challenging whether God exists, challenges theologies capacity to assign ANY characteristics to God by reason and experience alone. David Hume does a good job not only in outlaying arguments as to why reason is not capable of knowing a thing about God, but also in making believable dialogues (compared to Plato, whose characters are all made to be one-dimensional foils for "Socrates.") As in so many other areas, David Hume was a pioneer in the realm of the philosophy of God. "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" furnishes strong proof of that!

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About the Author:

David Hume (1711–1776) was a Scottish philosopher, economist, historian and an important figure in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment. Hume is often grouped with John Locke, George Berkeley, and a handful of others as a British Empiricist. During his lifetime, Hume was more famous as a historian; his six-volume History of England was a bestseller well into the nineteenth century and the standard work on English history for many years, while his works in philosophy to which he owes his current reputation were less widely read during his day. Hume was heavily influenced by empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley, along with various French-speaking writers such as Pierre Bayle, and various figures on the English-speaking intellectual landscape such as Isaac Newton, Samuel Clarke, Francis Hutcheson, and Joseph Butler (to whom he sent his first work for feedback). In the twentieth century, Hume has increasingly become a source of inspiration for those in political philosophy and economics as an early and subtle thinker in the liberal tradition, as well as an early innovator in the genre of the essay in his Essays Moral, Political, and Literary.

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David Hume
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