Religion and Moral Prohibition in Hume's 'Of Suicide'

Hume Studies 31 (2):189-210 (2005)
This paper presents a new analysis of the logical structure of Hume’s attack on the theological objection to suicide. I suggest that Hume intends his reasoning in “Of Suicide” to generalize, covering not just suicide but any arbitrary action: his implied conclusion is that no human action can violate a duty to God. I contrast my reading with a series of recent interpretations, and argue that the various criticisms of Hume’s reasoning are based on a misunderstanding of what he is about. Finally, I also show the integration of Hume’s discussion of suicide with his broader critique of attempts to generate moral conclusions by way of natural religion
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