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It is widely held that Hume's Treatise has little or nothing to do with problems of religion. Contrary to this view, Paul Russell argues that it is irreligious aims and objectives that are fundamental to the Treatise and account for its underlying unity and coherence.
The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) is widely regarded as the greatest and most significant English-speaking philosopher and often seen as having had the most influence on the way philosophy is practiced today in the West. His reputation is based not only on the quality of his philosophical thought but also on the breadth and scope of his writings, which ranged over metaphysics, epistemology, morals, politics, religion, and aesthetics. The Handbook's 38 newly commissioned chapters are divided into six parts: Central Themes; Metaphysics and Epistemology; Passion, Morality and Politics; Aesthetics, History, and Economics; Religion; Hume and the Enlightenment; and After Hume. The volume also features an introduction from editor Paul Russell and a chapter on Hume's biography.
This ebook is a selective guide designed to help scholars and students of social work find reliable sources of information by directing them to the best available scholarly materials in whatever form or format they appear from books, chapters, and journal articles to online archives, electronic data sets, and blogs. Written by a leading international authority on the subject, the ebook provides bibliographic information supported by direct recommendations about which sources to consult and editorial commentary to make it clear how the cited sources are interrelated related. This ebook is a static version of an article from Oxford Bibliographies Online: Philosophy, a dynamic, continuously updated, online resource designed to provide authoritative guidance through scholarship and other materials relevant to the study Philosophy. Oxford Bibliographies Online covers most subject disciplines within the social science and humanities, for more information visit www.oxfordbibligraphies.com.
Beginning with an overview of Hume's life and work, Don Garrett introduces in clear and accessible style the central aspects of Hume's thought. These include Hume's lifelong exploration of the human mind; his theories of inductive inference and causation; skepticism and personal identity; moral and political philosophy; aesthetics; and philosophy of religion. The final chapter considers the influence and legacy of Hume's thought today. Throughout, Garrett draws on and explains many of Hume's central works, including his Treatise of Human Nature, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Hume is essential reading not only for students of philosophy, but anyone in the humanities and social sciences and beyond seeking an introduction to Hume's thought.
The Limits of Free Will presents influential articles by Paul Russell concerning free will and moral responsibility. The problems arising in this field of philosophy, which are deeply rooted in the history of the subject, are also intimately related to a wide range of other fields, such as law and criminology, moral psychology, theology, and, more recently, neuroscience. These articles were written and published over a period of three decades, although most have appeared in the past decade. Among the topics covered: the challenge of skepticism; moral sentiment and moral capacity; necessity and the metaphysics of causation; practical reason; free will and art; fatalism and the limits of agency; moral luck, and our metaphysical attitudes of optimism and pessimism. Some essays are primarily critical in character, presenting critiques and commentary on major works or contributions in the contemporary scene. Others are mainly constructive, aiming to develop and articulate a distinctive account of compatibilism. The general theory advanced by Russell, which he describes as a form of "critical compatibilism", rejects any form of unqualified or radical skepticism; but it also insists that a plausible compatibilism has significant and substantive implications about the limits of agency and argues that this licenses a metaphysical attitude of (modest) pessimism on this topic. While each essay is self-standing, there is nevertheless a core set of themes and issues that unite and link them together. The collection is arranged and organized in a format that enables the reader to appreciate and recognize these links and core themes.
Graciela De Pierris presents a novel interpretation of the relationship between skepticism and naturalism in Hume's epistemology, and a new appraisal of Hume's place within early modern thought. Contrary to dominant readings, she argues that Hume does offer skeptical arguments concerning causation and induction in Book I, Part III of the Treatise, and presents a detailed reading of the skeptical argument she finds there and how this argument initiates atrain of skeptical reasoning that begins in Part III and culminates in Part IV. She goes on to demonstrate that Hume was committed to the Newtonian inductive method while rejecting the place of the supernaturalin our understanding of nature.
In this volume, authors Alan Bailey and Dan O’Brien examine the full import of David Hume’s arguments and the context of the society in which his work came to fruition. They analyze the nuanced natured of Hume's philosophical discourse and provide an informed look into his position on the possible content and rational justification of religious belief. The authors first detail the pressures and forms of repression that confronted any 18th century thinker wishing to challenge publicly the truth of Christian theism. From there, they offer an overview of Hume's writings on religion, paying particular attention to the inter-relationships between the various works. They show that Hume's writings on religion are best seen as an artfully constructed web of irreligious argument that seeks to push forward a radical outlook, one that only emerges when the attention shifts from the individual sections of the web to its overall structure and context. Even though there is no explicit denial in any of Hume's published writings or private correspondence of the existence of God, the implications of his arguments often seem to point strongly towards atheism. David Hume was one of the leading British critics of Christianity and all forms of religion at a time when public utterances or published writings denying the truth of Christianity were liable to legal prosecution. His philosophical and historical writings offer a sustained and remarkably open critique of religion that is unmatched by any previous author writing in English. Yet, despite Hume’s widespread reputation amongst his contemporaries for extreme irreligion, the subtle and measured manner in which he presents his position means that it remains far from clear how radical his views actually were.

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