Hume's Reflection on Religion

Hume's Reflection on Religion

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Thepresentwork is arevisedand enlarged English versionofa book originally writtenin Spanish and published in late 1996, La rejlexion de DavidHume en lorno a /a religion. SinceDavidHume is arguablynot only the most important philosopherwhohaseverwrittenintheEnglishlanguage,butthemoststudiedand influential,itisonlynaturalthatsoonerthanlaterIwouldfeelthe urgencyto bring totheattentionofamuchwiderpublicaworkwhoseoutlook is, I think, signifi- cantlydifferentfrom that ofother books which deal with the Scottish thinker's worksonreligionandnaturaltheology.Thisdesirewassostrongastoallowmeto overcome the all-too-natural fear that my wavering and uncertain command of English wouldmakethe few valuableinsights theworkmight containappearun- clear,andmyphilosophicalerrors,evenmoreastonishing. This book is addressednot only to scholarswhomay beinterested in modem philosophy in generalorHume'sphilosophyofreligion in particular,but also to themoreextensivecompassofreaderseitherintriguedortroubledby religion and themyriadofissuesandproblemsitposes,whichare, as it were, the primematter forphilosophicalanalysisandtheorizing.Inspiteofitsphilosophicaland linguistic limitations,forwhichIamentirelyresponsible,Iferventlyhopethatthisworkmay befoundtocontainsomethingofthatelusivetruthafterwhichHumestrove, andto whichheremainedconstantto theend, particularlyatatime whenthe priceto be paidforthepublicationofcontroversialphilosophicalandreligious views wascon- siderablyhigherthanthatofbecominganeasytargetforuniversalridicule.
Thecompletionofthisworkhasbeenmadepossible principally by asabbatical leavethattheUniversityofPuertoRico grantedme fortheyear 1999. This leave gavemethenecessarytimeto readandstudy thepertinentliterature,aswell asto writemostoftheEnglish manuscript.Italsoallowedmeto visit Edinburgh and spendmostofJuly andAugust 1999 attheNationalLibraryofScotlandand the EdinburghUniversityLibrary.Although Ihaveincorporatedinto thepresentwork onlyasmallpartofmyresearchatthose libraries,ifthis bookshows agreaterap- preciation of the immediate social and religious context of Hume's thought (particularly of Calvinistic theology and the Scottish Enlightement) than its Spanish predecessor, it is in no small measure due to the books, articles, and xi xii Preface manuscritsIwasabletoconsultatthe time. Inthis respect, Iwouldliketo thank Professor Peter Jones, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the HumanitiesattheUniversityofEdinburgh, who was very instrumental in making myvisittoEdinburghareality,andgenerouslyputthefacilitiesoftheInstitute at mydisposal.
Manythoughts andlinesofargumentcontained in this bookdatebackto my doctoraldissertation,andsomeearlierversionsofanumberofchaptersorsections ofchaptershavebeenpublished in differentphilosophyjournalsor anthologies. I oftheminthebibliographyundermy name. But sincemy previousworks listall onthe subjecthavebeenrevisedandmodifiedsomanytimes in the lightofnew fmdingsortomeetactualorpossiblecriticism,Ican saythatthey havebeeneffec- tivelysupersededbythepresentwriting.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162.6 x 241.3 x 25.4mm | 589.68g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 2001 ed.
  • XIII, 336 p.
  • 0792370244
  • 9780792370246

Table of contents

Preface. Introduction. Part I: Hume's Scrutiny of Religion: Its Theoretical Foundations, Historical Roots, and Ultimate Goals. 1. Hume's Philosophical Project and his Reflection on Religion. 2. Brief Historical Setting of Hume's Investigation of Religion. Part II: The Origin, Development and Historical Effects of Religious Beliefs. 3. The Nature of Hume's Investigation of Religion. 4. The Conception of the Phenomenon to be Investigated. 5. The Origin of Religion: Critical Exposition of Hume's Theory. 6. Religion and History. 7. Belief and Faith. 8. The Ethical Depreciation of Religion. Part III: Hume's Natural Theology: The Critique of the Presumed Validity of Religious Beliefs. 9. From Historical Religion to Natural Religion. 10. The Impassable Path of A Priori Reasoning: Analysis of Hume's Critique of the Ontological Argument and Its Foundations. 11. The Rejection of Miracles: An Attempt to Elucidate the Import of Hume's Critique. 12. The Uncertain Path of Empirical Reasoning, Part I: The Unfolding of Hume's Critique of the Argument from Design. 13. The Uncertain Path of Empirical Reasoning, Part II: The Critique of the Argument from Design in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Part IV: General Conclusions. 14. The Natural and Reasonable Character of the Belief in an Intelligent Author of the Universe. Bibliography. Index.
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Review quote

`This scholar and well-written volume addresses itself first and foremost to Hume specialists, but also to those with deep-going interest in selected topics in the philosophy of religion and in philosophical theory.'
Acta Comparanda XIII
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