Philosophy David Hume

4404 words - 18 pages

Intro Sample...

"I was from the beginning scandalised, I must own, with this resemblance between the Deity and human creatures."


David Hume wrote much about the subject of religion, much of it negative. In this paper we shall attempt to follow Hume's arguments against Deism as Someone knowable from the wake He allegedly makes as He passes. This kind of Deism he lays to rest. Then, digging deeper, we shall try our hand at a critique of his critique of religion, of resurrecting a natural belief in God. Finally, if there's anything Hume would like to say as a final rejoinder, we... View More »

Body Sample...

It is an argument against any inductive proof for God's existence. What Hume seeks to show is the failure of this argument to establish the type of deity that belief in a particular providence or divine action must require one to assert. This he sets out first and in preliminary fashion in Section XI of the Enquiry and with more plethoric attention in the Dialogues. In both books he employs the dialogue form to embody his attacks.

The argument of the former is mistitled. Fourteen of the seventeen pages have nothing to do with immortality or "particular providence." Hume's argument here is from the particular effect to the existence of a cause sufficient for its production. Causes are to be known from effects alone; to ascribe to it any superfluous qualities goes beyond the bounds of strict logical reasoning. The imagination must be philosophically bridled. When ten ounces are raised in a balance one can surely surmise a counterbalance exceeding ten ounces, but one can hardly offer any justification for the counterbalance to weigh 100 ounces. Transferred to philosophical theology, it is impossible to derive legitimately from a natural theology any relevancy in conclusions arrived at over and above what can be independently and directly supported by empirical study of the universe.

Such innocuous-sounding, even camouflaged assertions by Hume were in actuality a D-Day invasion on the Normandy Beach of the Deists. The first salvo is a statement of the terms of reference:

You then . . . have acknowledged that the chief or sole ...

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