Kant's Criticisms of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (5):888-910 (2015)
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According to recent commentators like Paul Guyer, Kant agrees with Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion that physico-theology can never provide knowledge of God and that the concept of God, nevertheless, provides a useful heuristic principle for scientific enquiry. This paper argues that Kant, far from agreeing with Hume, criticizes Hume's Dialogues for failing to prove that physico-theology can never yield knowledge of God and that Kant correctly views Hume's Dialogues as a threat to, rather than an anticipation of, his own view that the concept of God provides a useful heuristic principle for science. The paper concludes that Kant's critique of physico-theology reflects Kant's deep dissatisfaction with Hume's manner of argumentation and suggests that Kant's attempt to provide a more successful critique of physico-theology merits continued philosophical attention.



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Reed Winegar
Fordham University

Citations of this work

Kant on intuitive understanding and things in themselves.Reed Winegar - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1238-1252.

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References found in this work

Kant and the Metaphysics of Causality.Eric Watkins - 2004 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Belief in Kant.Andrew Chignell - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (3):323-360.
Dialogues concerning natural religion.David Hume - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late modern philosophy: essential readings with commentary. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 338-339.
Kant's rational theology.Allen W. Wood - 1978 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Hume’s philosophy of religion.John Charles Addison Gaskin - 1978 - Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press.

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