Refuting The Whole System? Hume's Attack on Popular Religion in The Natural History of Religion

Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):715-736 (2012)
There is reason for genuine puzzlement about Hume's aim in ‘The Natural History of Religion’. Some commentators take the work to be merely a causal investigation into the psychological processes and environmental conditions that are likely to give rise to the first religions, an investigation that has no significant or straightforward implications for the rationality or justification of religious belief. Others take the work to constitute an attack on the rationality and justification of religious belief in general. In contrast to these views, I argue that Hume aims to establish two important claims in ‘The Natural History of Religion’. First, almost all popular religions, including popular monotheism, are deeply superstitious. Second, superstitious monotheism is incompatible with the variety of theism supported by the argument from design. This incompatibility puts significant pressure on the rational acceptability of popular religions
Keywords Hume
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2012.00076.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Martin Bell (2011). Design Flaws. The Philosophers' Magazine (54):80-84.
Don Garrett (2012). What's True About Hume's 'True Religion'? Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (2):199-220.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

24 ( #122,464 of 1,724,952 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,164 of 1,724,952 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.