Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Books read in 2016: No. 59 -- Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

by David Hume

Started: Nov. 25
Finished: Nov. 29

Notes: I'm in a philosophical mood, so I turn to Hume. It's been a long while since I've dipped into any serious philosophy, though I've never been a big fan of the Empiricists as writers, though I don't have any hangups concerning their actual ideas. It's not impossible I read this 1757 piece in college lo those many decades ago, but I don't recall having done so.

Mini review: The writing style here was interesting in that it was a fallback to the pattern of ancient philosophers who often used fictional conversations to get their point(s) across. Still, like with most philosophers during Hume's time, I have to find fault when far too often fifty words are used instead of one and when, in an attempt at being precise, a sometimes confusing language is used instead of a more simple one. This particular book lands upon several related topics, but the gist of it concerns whether or not man can find evidence of the existence of God. Basically, this is an argument about the notion of divine design, though it scoffs at outright atheism. The side in this argument favoring design appears to be the winner here, though Hume himself was not known to favor it. Besides my own philosophical interests here, there is some historical interest, as Hume's arguments against intelligent design are often considered the strongest ever produced with the exception of Darwin's works. As for my own personal thoughts on the matter, though I consider myself a Christian, I do not believe there is any objective evidence for the existence of God. Subjective, yes, but not objective.


Charles Gramlich said...

Love that opening phrase, "I turn to Hume." You ever wonder how often that phrase has been uttered? I'm guessing it's not all that common! :)

Ty said...

Ha! Yeah, probably not. For that matter, probably hardly anyone reads Hume nowadays outside of some professors and students. I could say the same for Locke, Leibniz, etc.