Alan Bailey offers a clear and vigorous exposition and defence of the philosophy of Sextus Empiricus, one of the most influential of ancient thinkers, the father of philosophical scepticism. The subsequent sceptical tradition in philosophy has not done justice to Sextus: his views stand up today as remarkably insightful, offering a fruitful way to approach issues of knowledge, understanding, belief, and rationality. Bailey's refreshing presentation of Sextus to a modern philosophical readership rescues scepticism from the sceptics.
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 nature 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. (shrink)
The Continuum Companion to Hume is a comprehensive and accessible guide to Hume's life and work includes 21 specially commissioned essays, written by a team of leading experts, covering every aspect of Hume's thought. The Companion presents details of Hume's life, historical and philosophical context, a comprehensive overview of all the key themes and topics apparent in his work, including his accounts of causal reasoning, scepticism, the soul and the self, action, reason, free will, miracles, natural religion, politics, human nature, (...) women, economics and history, and an account of his reception and enduring influence. This is an essential reference tool for anyone working in the fields of Hume Studies and Eighteenth-Century Philosophy. (shrink)