Since the 1950s, Terence Penelhum has been a leading contributor to studies on the thought of David Hume. In this collection, he presents a selection of the best of his essays on Hume. Most of the essays are quite recent and three are previously unpublished.
Russell's study of Hume's theories of freedom and responsibility is the first extended treatment of these themes in the literature and shows in detail how what is regarded by most readers as merely the first statement of "compatibilism" is part of a full naturalistic analysis of praise, blame, punishment and responsibility. The notice seeks to bring out how Russell's account of Hume's view of freedom illuminates his psychology and ethics and concludes with a few "libertarian" criticisms of Hume's position.
I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to Dr Chappell for the encomia he has so kindly included in his notice of my book. It was especially kind of him to include them when we appear to disagree so fundamentally on the two issues he has chosen to discuss. First, he does not think, as I do, that the world is religiously ambiguous. Second, he thinks that religious beliefs can be, and are, chosen, and I do not.
Inattention to the historical antecedents of current philosophical views may impoverish our arguments in defense of those views. A case in point, examined here, concerns the difference that can be made for current strategies designed to defend religious belief by carefully reconsidering the position of historical sceptics.
This is a re-Examination of hume's intentions in the final part of the "dialogues". It is here, If anywhere, That we find the resolution of the conflict between his naturalistic acceptance that belief has non-Rational causes, And his wish to expose religious belief as irrational. The paper amends its author's previous view that hume is shown to have accepted, At least verbally, That such a theism is a result of cleanthes' arguments, But to have maintained his secularism by showing it (...) to be religiously vacuous, And hence a socially benign influence. The argument relies on hume's use of the thought and language of the fideist tradition, And on questioning how far we can identify hume with philo as the "dialogues" conclude. (shrink)