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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 3, 1990
Fascinating Facets of Philosophy
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About the Author
JM Bell is Professor of Philosophy at the Manchester Metropolitan University and Head of the Department of Politics and Philosophy.
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Top Customer Reviews
Hume explores all of the major arguments for God's existence. First, the a posteriori argument is explored; the argument that just as seeing a house gives us reason to assume an architect and builder, seeing the world should give us reason to infer a designer. Hume (through the skeptical voice of Philo) sees much wrong with this argument. Why? Because the reason we infer a builder for a house is because experience has shown us that houses have builders, thus when we see a house, we assume that, like other houses we've seen, this one too has a builder. But experience does not tell us that where there is a world, there is a designer. The leap is extra-experiential. Further, even if we DID infer a designer, why infer just one? Houses have construction crews of multiple people; if we analogize between the house and the world, then why not infer that the world, too, might have infinite creators? (And why infer that the world's creator is omnipotent, if all that is needed to create something is to be more powerful than the thing created - no more, no less?)
Next, we go through the a priori argument - the argument from first cause. Hume (Philo) is quick to point out the obvious flaw with this. If everything needs a cause, then what caused God?Read more ›
Most of the Dialogues is devoted to discussion of a posteriori arguments for the existence of God. The main argument considered here is the classical argument from design, which Hume seems to understand as an analogical argument of the following sort: the complexity and order of the universe show that it is similar to artifacts created by human intelligences; similar causes have similar effects; therefore, the universe must have been created by a being with something like a human intelligence; therefore, the universe must have been created by God.
Hume's objections to this argument are legion, and many of the individual objections are both ingenious and forceful. He provides reasons for thinking that the universe isn't all that similar to artifacts created by human beings.Read more ›
The Dialogues are constructed as a 3 cornered argument between three friends. Demea, a man upholding revealed religion against the idea that reason provides support for the existence of God. Cleanthes, an advocate of natural religion. Philo, a skeptical reasoner who attacks the positions held by Demea and Cleanthes. For those who like Hume's sprightly 18th century style, this is a fun book to read. Hume artfully divides some of his strongest arguments between Cleanthes and Philo, and gives the Dialogues the real sense of a dispute among 3 intelligent friends. Philo is generally taken to represent Hume's positions but Cleanthes articulates some strong arguments and provides some of the best criticisms of Demea's fideism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Everyone I know would benefit from reading this fine book. Do yourself a favor and get this book.Published 19 months ago by Kerstin Spremulli
This review is for the Angelnook Publishing Book.
I loaned out my old copy and never got it back, so just bought a new copy.... Read more
This was published posthumously, if I'm not mistaken, because it's an argument for atheism, or at least agnosticism, and could have got him in plenty of trouble in 18th century... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Evalyn F. Segal
I down loaded this, a free book, to fill up my kindle. I have yet to read it. But it's a classic, so there.Published on March 16, 2013 by chris pederson
Certainly this is a classic and will remain so. Whether it rates then as 4 or 5 stars is fairly subjective. Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by Will Jerom
I don't have a lot of time to write this, but I just want to say that this is one of the absolute best books on philosophy of religion I have ever read. Read morePublished on September 10, 2012 by Mike
In this "post-hume" posthumous publication Hume mounted a special attack on the logical structure of many naive design arguments and indeed also upon the rational basis of any form... Read morePublished on February 10, 2011 by Roman Nies
Content completely aside, this is a terrible edition of Dialogues to read: the text is too big and illegible. Read morePublished on January 9, 2011 by Student5204