The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion [Book Review]

Philosophical Review 119 (1):108-112 (2010)
Abstract
Although it is widely recognized that David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature belongs among the greatest works of philosophy, there is little agreement about the correct way to interpret his fundamental intentions. It is an established orthodoxy among almost all commentators that skepticism and naturalism are the two dominant themes in this work. The difficulty has been, however, that Hume's skeptical arguments and commitments appear to undermine and discredit his naturalistic ambition to contribute to "the science of man". This schism appears to leave his entire project broken-backed. The solution to this riddle depends on challenging another, closely related, point of orthodoxy: namely, that before Hume published the Treatise he removed almost all material concerned with problems of religion. Russell argues, contrary to this view, that irreligious aims and objectives are fundamental to the Treatise and account for its underlying unity and coherence. It is Hume's basic anti-Christian aims and objectives that serve to shape and direct both his skeptical and naturalistic commitments. When Hume's arguments are viewed from this perspective we can solve, not only puzzles arising from his discussion of various specific issues, we can also explain the intimate and intricate connections that hold his entire project together. This "irreligious" interpretation provides a comprehensive fresh account of the nature of Hume's fundamental aims and ambitions in the Treatise. It also presents a radically different picture of the way in which HUme's project was rooted in the debates and controversies of his own time, placing the Treatise in an irreligious or anti-Chrisitan philosophical tradition that includes Hobbes, Spinoza and freethinking followers. Considered in these terms, Hume's Treatise constitutes the crowning achievement of the Radical Enlightenment
Keywords Hume  religion  skepticism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1215/00318108-2009-030
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,767
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
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion. [REVIEW]Peter Millican - 2011 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2):348-353.
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise :Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion. [REVIEW]Colin Heydt - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (3):401-402.
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise. [REVIEW]Michel Malherbe - 2008 - Hume Studies 34 (2):305-308.
Hume on Morality.James Baillie - 2000 - Routledge.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-12

Total downloads

32 ( #153,898 of 2,146,969 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #278,852 of 2,146,969 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums