Part X of Hume's "Dialogues"

American Philosophical Quarterly 3 (1):82-85 (1966)
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In hume's dialogues, Part x, Philo presents the trilemma attributed to epicurus: "is God willing but unable to prevent evil? able but unwilling? both willing and able? whence, Then is evil?" some critics say philo is trying to disprove god's existence. Some say he is not. I say he grants God exists as the first cause in order to show natural religion is impossible. For natural religion must establish god's benevolence, But it cannot combat "moderate scepticism" to establish any moral attribute of god. It would have to show first that men are for the most part happy--A proposition no one can prove both because it is contrary to everyone's feeling and experience and because it is impossible to compute all the pains and pleasures of all men. Philo's argument stands independently of the more frequently discussed four causes argument of part xi



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