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  1. Hume and the Rotting Turnip.Michael Jacovides - manuscript
    Right after Philo’s about-face in Part 12 of the Dialogues, he gives an argument that the dispute between the theist and the atheist is merely verbal. Since everything is at least a little like everything else, the atheist must concede that the source of order is at least remotely like a human intellect, even if this source is something like a rotting turnip. This passage provides a major argument for dismissing Hume’s apparent avowals of theism in the Dialogues and elsewhere, (...)
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  2. David Hume and the Philosophy of Religion.Paul Russell - 2021 - In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion. New York, NY, USA: pp. 1-20.
    David Hume (1711-1776) is widely recognized as one of the most influential and significant critics of religion in the history of philosophy. There remains, nevertheless, considerable disagreement about the exact nature of his views. According to some, he was a skeptic who regarded all conjectures relating to religious hypotheses to be beyond the scope of human understanding – he neither affirmed nor denied these conjectures. Others read him as embracing a highly refined form of “true religion” of some kind. On (...)
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  3. Hume’s Critique of Religion: Sick Men’s Dreams, by A. Bailey & D. O'Brien. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):867-70.
    Hume’s Critique of Religion is a valuable and rewarding contribution to Hume scholarship. The atheistic interpretation that the authors defend is well supported and convincingly argued. Although Gaskin’s Hume’s Philosophy of Religion is (rightly) highly regarded, I believe that Bailey and O’Brien provide a more compelling and convincing interpretation. Their account is, in particular, much stronger in respect of the historical background and contextual considerations that they draw on to support of their interpretation. These historical advances are achieved without weakening (...)
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  4. True religion in Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.Tim Black & Robert Gressis - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (2):244-264.
    Many think that the aim of Hume’s Dialogues is simply to discredit the design argument for the existence of an intelligent designer. We think instead that the Dialogues provides a model of true religion. We argue that, for Hume, the truly religious person: believes that an intelligent designer created and imposed order on the universe; grounds this belief in an irregular argument rooted in a certain kind of experience, for example, in the experience of anatomizing complex natural systems such as (...)
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  5. Toward a Humean True Religion: Genuine Theism, Moderate Hope, and Practical Morality by Andre C. Willis. [REVIEW]Paul Russell - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):168-169.
    Andre Willis argues that although Hume is generally credited with being a “devastating critic” of religion, it is a mistake to view Hume solely in these terms or to present him as an “atheist.” This not only represents a failure to appreciate Hume’s “middle path” between “militant atheists and evangelical theists”, it denies us an opportunity to “enhance” our understanding and appreciation of the positive, constructive value of religion through a close study of Hume’s views. Willis’s study presents Hume as (...)
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  6. Why did Hume not Become an Atheist?: The Influence of Butler on Hume's Dialogues.Naoki Yajima - 2017 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 15 (3):249-260.
    This article aims to illuminate the background and intention of Hume's Dialogues. It argues that ‘Cleanthes’ is significantly modeled after Butler's thought by showing the connection between Part IX of the Dialogues and Butler's early correspondence with Clarke regarding the concepts of probability and conceivability. This clarifies Philo's ‘reversal’ in Part XII. Butler's theory of probability provides a clue to Hume's moderate skepticism which stops short of endorsing atheism. Hume presents a philosophical narrative in which readers are invited to entertain (...)
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  7. Hume's Philosophy of Irreligion and the Myth of British Empiricism.Paul Russell - 2016 - In The Oxford Handbook of HUME. New York, NY, USA: pp. 109-37.
    This chapter outlines an alternative interpretation of Hume’s philosophy, one that aims, among other things, to explain some of the most perplexing puzzles concerning the relationship between Hume’s skepticism and his naturalism. The key to solving these puzzles, it is argued, rests with recognizing Hume’s fundamental irreligious aims and objectives, beginning with his first and greatest work, A Treatise of Human Nature. The irreligious interpretation not only reconfigures our understanding of the unity and structure of Hume’s thought, it also provides (...)
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  8. Review: A Short History of Atheism. [REVIEW]Dan Linford - 2015 - Secularism and Nonreligion 4 (1):1-2.
  9. Causation, Cosmology and the Limits of Reason.Paul Russell - 2013 - In James Harris (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Eighteenth-Century,. New York, NY, USA: pp. 599-620.
    For well over a century the dominant narrative covering the major thinkers and themes of early modern British philosophy has been that of “British Empiricism”, within which the great triumvirate of Locke-Berkeley-Hume are taken to be the dominant figures. Although it is now common to question this schema as a way of analyzing and understanding the period in question, it continues to command considerable authority and acceptance. (One likely reason for this is that no credible or plausible alternatives structures or (...)
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  10. Paul Russell. The Riddle of Hume’s Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Pp. 424. $99.00 ; $34.95. [REVIEW]Eric Schliesser - 2013 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (1):172-175.
  11. Spectres of False Divinity – Hume's Moral Atheism. [REVIEW]Martin Bell - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (1):198 - 204.
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 198-204, January 2012.
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  12. Hume's atheistic agenda: Philo's confession in dialogues, 12.Willem Lemmens - 2012 - Bijdragen 73 (3):281-303.
  13. Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism, by Thomas Holden. [REVIEW]K. R. Merrill - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):825-830.
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  14. Review: Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism. [REVIEW]Ryan Nichols - 2012 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (1):117-120.
  15. Hume's Legacy and the Idea of British Empiricism.Paul Russell - 2012 - In Alan Bailey & Dan O'Brien (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Hume. Continuum. pp. 377.
    David Hume’s views on the subject of free will are among the most influential contributions to this long-disputed topic. Throughout the twentieth century, and into this century, Hume has been widely regarded as having presented the classic defense of the compatibilist position, the view that freedom and responsibility are consistent with determinism. Most of Hume’s core arguments on this issue are found in the sections entitled “Of liberty and necessity,” first presented in Book 2 of A Treatise of Human Nature (...)
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  16. A more dangerous enemy? Philo’s “confession” and Hume’s soft atheism.Benjamin S. Cordry - 2011 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (1):61-83.
    While Hume has often been held to have been an agnostic or atheist, several contemporary scholars have argued that Hume was a theist. These interpretations depend chiefly on several passages in which Hume allegedly confesses to theism. In this paper, I argue against this position by giving a threshold characterization of theism and using it to show that Hume does not confess. His most important confession does not cross this threshold and the ones that do are often expressive rather than (...)
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  17. Hume and the Problem of Evil.Michael Tooley - 2011 - In Jeffrey J. Jordan (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: The Key Thinkers. London and New York: Continuum. pp. 159-86.
    1.1 The Concept of Evil The problem of evil, in the sense relevant here, concerns the question of the reasonableness of believing in the existence of a deity with certain characteristics. In most discussions, the deity is God, understood as an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect person. But the problem of evil also arises, as Hume saw very clearly, for deities that are less than all-powerful, less than all-knowing, and less than morally perfect. What is the relevant concept of evil, (...)
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  18. Atheists without Knowing It? Hume's Critique of Mysticism.John Cottingham - 2010 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 72 (3):461-479.
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  19. Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism.Thomas Holden - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    Spectres of False Divinity presents a historical and critical interpretation of Hume's rejection of the existence of a deity with moral attributes. In Hume's view, no first cause or designer responsible for the ordered universe could possibly have moral attributes; nor could the existence of such a being have any real implications for human practice or conduct. Hume's case for this 'moral atheism' is a central plank of both his naturalistic agenda in metaphysics and his secularizing program in moral theory. (...)
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  20. The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion.Paul Russell - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY PRIZE for the best published book in the history of philosophy [Awarded in 2010] _______________ -/- Although it is widely recognized that David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40) belongs among the greatest works of philosophy, there is little agreement about the correct way to interpret his fundamental intentions. It is an established orthodoxy among almost all commentators that skepticism and naturalism are the two dominant themes in this work. The difficulty has been, (...)
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  21. “Traktat Hume’a i problem cnotliwego ateizmu” [“Hume’s Treatise and the Problem of Virtuous Atheism”],.Paul Russell - 2007 - Nowa Krytyka 20:333-380.
  22. Hume on Religion.Paul Russell - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    David Hume's various writings concerning problems of religion are among the most important and influential contributions on this topic. In these writings Hume advances a systematic, sceptical critique of the philosophical foundations of various theological systems. Whatever interpretation one takes of Hume's philosophy as a whole, it is certainly true that one of his most basic philosophical objectives is to unmask and discredit the doctrines and dogmas of orthodox religious belief. There are, however, some significant points of disagreement about the (...)
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  23. “L’irreligione e lo spettatore imparziale nel sistema morale di Adam Smith” [Irreligion and the Impartial Spectator in Smith’s Moral System].Paul Russell - 2005 - Rivista di Filosofia 3 (3):375-403.
    A number of commentators on Smith's philosophy have observed that the relationship between his moral theory and his theological beliefs is "exceedingly difficult to unravel". The available evidence, as generally presented, suggests that although Smith was not entirely orthodox by contemporary standards, he has no obvious or significant irreligious commitments or orientation. Contrary to this view of things, I argue that behind the veneer of orthodoxy that covers Smith's discussion in The Theory of the Moral Sentiments there are significant irreligious (...)
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  24. Skepticism and Philo's Atheistic Preference.David O'Connor - 2003 - Hume Studies 29 (2):267-282.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume Studies Volume 29, Number 2, November 2003, pp. 267-282 Skepticism and Philo's Atheistic Preference DAVID O'CONNOR [H]owever consistent the world may be... with the idea of... a very powerful, wise, and benevolent Deity... it can never afford us an inference concerning his existence. The consistence is not absolutely denied, only the inference.1 The whole presents nothing but the idea of a blind nature, impregnated by a great vivifying (...)
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  25. David Hume's Critique of Religion and its Implications for Contemporary Theology.John Hendricks - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Chicago
  26. Hume's Aesthetic Theism.John Immerwahr - 1996 - Hume Studies 22 (2):325-337.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume Studies Volume XXII, Number 2, November 1996, pp. 325-337 Hume's Aesthetic Theism JOHN IMMERWAHR When it comes to religion, Hume's motto is corruptio optimi pessima, "the corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst" (NHR 338,339, SScE 73).1 He warmly endorses what he calls "true religion" and strongly attacks false religion, superstition and priestcraft. Hume's distaste for false religion is obviously sincere, but scholars have sometimes (...)
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  27. Why Hume Wasn't an Atheist: A Reply to Andre.Beryl Logan - 1996 - Hume Studies 22 (1):193-202.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume Studies Volume XXII, Number 1, April 1996, pp. 193-202 Why Hume Wasn't an Atheist: A Reply to Andre BERYL LOGAN In a recent issue of Hume Studies,1 Shane Andre argues that, as Hume's position on theism can be read primarily from Philo's position in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and since Philo's position in the Dialogues is one of "limited theism," Hume was also a "limited theist" and (...)
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  28. Why Hume Wasn't an Atheist: A Reply to Andre.Beryl Logan - 1996 - Hume Studies 22 (1):193-202.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Hume Studies Volume XXII, Number 1, April 1996, pp. 193-202 Why Hume Wasn't an Atheist: A Reply to Andre BERYL LOGAN In a recent issue of Hume Studies,1 Shane Andre argues that, as Hume's position on theism can be read primarily from Philo's position in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and since Philo's position in the Dialogues is one of "limited theism," Hume was also a "limited theist" and (...)
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  29. Responsibility Naturalized: A Qualified Defence of Hume.Paul Russell - 1995 - In Freedom and Moral Sentiment: Hume's Way of Naturalizing Responsibility. New York, NY, USA: pp. 170-185.
    This concluding chapter of FREEDOM AND MORAL SENTIMENT (OUP 1995) provides a qualified defense of Hume's naturalistic approach to the problem of free will and moral responsibility. A particularly important theme is the contrast between Hume's naturalistic approach and the “rationalistic” approach associated with classical compatibilism. Whereas the rationalistic approach proceeds as an a priori, conceptual investigation into the nature and conditions of moral responsibility, the naturalistic approach is committed to an empirically oriented (i.e., psychologically informed) examination of these issues (...)
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  30. Was Hume An Atheist?Shane Andre - 1993 - Hume Studies 19 (1):141-166.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Was Hume An Atheist? Shane Andre Hume's philosophy of religion, as expressed in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, the Natural History of Religion, and sections 10 and 11 ofthe Enquiry ConcerningHuman Understanding,1 invites a number of diverse interpretations. At one extreme are those who see Hume as an "atheist"2 or "anti-theist."3 At the other extreme are those who see Hume as some kind of theist, though not a classical (...)
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  31. Epigram, Pantheists, and Freethought in Hume's Treatise: A study in esoteric communication.Paul Russell - 1993 - Journal of the History of Ideas 54 (4):659-673.
    Hume's Treatise of Human Nature was published in the form of three separate books. The first two, "Of the Understanding" and "Of the Pas- sions," were published in London in January 1739 by John Noon. The third, "Of Morals," was published independently in London by Thomas Longman in November 1740.2 The title and subtitles on all three books are the same: A Treatise of Human Nature: Being An Attempt to introduce the experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects. On the (...)
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  32. 'Atheism' and the Title-Page of Hume's Treatise.Paul Russell - 1988 - Hume Studies 14 (2):408-423.
    In this paper I will describe certain significant features of the title-page of Hume's Treatise which have gone largely unnoticed. My discussion will focus on two features of the titlepage. First, Hume's Treatise shares its title with a relevant and well-known work by Hobbes. Second, the epigram of the title-page, which is taken from Tacitus, also serves as the title for the final chapter of Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. In the seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries Hobbes and Spinoza were infamous as the (...)
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  33. Skepticism and Natural Religion in Hume's Treatise.Paul Russell - 1988 - Journal of the History of Ideas 49 (2):247.
    My principal objective in this essay will be to show that the widely held view that Hume's Treatise' is not significantly or "directly" concerned with problems of religion is seriously mistaken.2 I shall approach this issue by way of an examination of a major skeptical theme which runs throughout the Treatise, namely, Hume's skepticism regarding the powers of demonstrative reason. In this paper I shall be especially concerned to bring to light the full significance of this skeptical theme by placing (...)
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  34. David Hume and the suppression of 'atheism'.David Berman - 1983 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 21 (3):375-387.
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  35. Hume, Atheism and the 'Interested Obligation' of Morality.J. C. A. Gaskin - 1979 - In McGill Hume Studies.
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  36. Hume's Tacit Atheism.Charles Echelbarger - 1975 - Religious Studies 11 (1):19 - 35.
    A recent paper, ‘Hume's Immanent God’, )* by George Nathan, contains an insightful interpretation of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion . Insight is no guarantee against error. I shall argue that Nathan's interpretation is mistaken, and then offer my own. Nathan observes that the general tendency in scholarship on D has been to focus on its sceptical side. He proposes to ‘bring out Hume's positive contribution’. Nathan's thesis, briefly, is that D best supports a modestly theistic interpretation according to which (...)
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