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Hume

            "I was from the beginning scandalised, I must own, with this resemblance between the Deity and human creatures."
                                        --Philo    

    David Hume wrote much about the subject of religion, much of it negative. In this paper we shall attempt to follow Hume's arguments against Deism as Someone knowable from the wake He allegedly makes as He passes. This kind of Deism he lays to rest. Then, digging deeper, we shall try our hand at a critique of his critique of religion, of resurrecting a natural belief in God. Finally, if there's anything Hume would like to say as a final rejoinder, we shall let him have his last word and call the matter closed.
   
    To allege the occurrence of order in creation, purpose in its constituent parts and in its constituted whole, regularity in the meter of its rhythm and syncopations, and mindful structure in the design and construction of Nature is by far the most widely used and generally accepted ground for launching from the world belief in an intelligent and omnipotent designer god. One does not have to read for very long to find some modern intellectual involved in the analysis of some part of Nature come to the "Aha!" that there's a power at work imposing order, design, structure and purpose in creation. Modern religious piety salivates at the prospect of converting scientists and will take them any way it can. From Plato to Planck the problematic lion of religion must be rendered safe and tame. Religion must be ...
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Hume

            "I was from the beginning scandalised, I must own, with this resemblance between the Deity and human creatures."
                                        --Philo    

    David Hume wrote much about the subject of religion, much of it negative. In this paper we shall attempt to follow Hume's arguments against Deism as Someone knowable from the wake He allegedly makes as He passes. This kind of Deism he lays to rest. Then, digging deeper, we shall try our hand at a critique of his critique of religion, of resurrecting a natural belief in God. Finally, if there's anything Hume would like to say as a final rejoinder, we shall let him have his last word and call the matter closed.
   
    To allege the occurrence of order in creation, purpose in its constituent parts and in its constituted whole, regularity in the meter of its rhythm and syncopations, and mindful structure in the design and construction of Nature is by far the most widely used and generally accepted ground for launching from the world belief in an intelligent and omnipotent designer god. One does not have to read for very long to find some modern intellectual involved in the analysis of some part of Nature come to the "Aha!" that there's a power at work imposing order, design, structure and purpose in creation. Modern religious piety salivates at the prospect of converting scientists and will take them any way it can. From Plato to Planck the problematic lion of religion must be rendered safe and tame. Religion must be Hume I was from the beginning scandalised I must own with this resemblance between the Deity and human creatures. G. while at the same time we are employed upon object . too large for our grasp. that there's a power at work imposing order design structure and purpose in creation. that the Author of nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man; though possessed of much larger faculties proportional to the grandeur of the work which he has executed. ssions lusts cruelties vengeance and the most heinous of vices. law which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection. have acknowledged that the chief or sole argument for a divine existence which I have never questioned is derived from the order of nature where there appear such marks of intelligence and design that you think it extravagant to assign for its cause either chance or the blind and unguided force of matter. from design is to substitute ourselves and our experience for the deity and then to assume this Agent will act as we would. except in so far as the dissimilarities between As and A*s force us to postulate a difference. are adjusted to each other with an accuracy which vanishes into admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. Your measures and claims of fact are not knowledge objective and verifiable but beliefs. Your Design Arguments are arrested at the very outset at the roadblock of a category mistake. You take one realm of localized phenomena and without benefit of experience you analogize a God. You have scored a good point. You have divorced your arguments from the authoritative range of experience. You cannot make causal claims of fact when causation itself is suspect because of necessary connection. You allow that this is an argument drawn from effects to causes. You admire this prodigious variety and fecundity. Yet this inadequate analogy of Cleanthes falls short. With this established he then proves how an analogical argument can be designed to show how evidence confirms the hypothesis. With these words Philo proceeds al fine allegro non stoppo championing his cause. With humans one can infer from effect to cause and then infer anew concerning the effect because we have other corroborating experience about humans from motives to operations. With his famous ejaculation The whole earth believe me Philo is cursed and polluted he sounds the note Philo has been waiting to hear to drown out Cleanthes' flat pitch. Why torture your brain to justify the course of nature upon suppositions which for aught you know may be entirely imaginary and of which there are to be found no traces in the course of nature. Why did it not die from the exposure to which Hume subjected it. Why can we not infer from the simple and unparalleled fact of the universe an equally simple and unparalleled Deity as Cause. Who resurrected this false phoenix. When we face a new species of phenomena our observation and experience prove unequal to the task; and analogy will fail as a way of explanation as well. When ten ounces are raised in a balance one can surely surmise a counterbalance exceeding ten ounces but one can hardly offer any justification for the counterbalance to weigh 100 ounces. When inferring any particular cause given certain effects one cannot ascribe any qualities but what are sufficient to explain adequately the cause. What happens when you find two true but conflicting hypotheses as we have with the nature of light. What an immense profusion of beings animated and organized sensible and active. What That is we can't know for It is parasitic on data we shall never be able to interrogate. What Hume seeks to show is the failure of this argument to establish the type of deity that belief in a particular providence or divine action must require one to assert. What Cleanthes says about Nature and God says more about Cleanthes than Nature and God. We structure an entire edifice in our imaginations while standing on the porch. We look at our children grandchildren brothers sisters and parents and infer heredity or more specifically genes. We know not how far we ought to trust our vulgar methods of reasoning in such a subject; since even in common life and in that province which is peculiarly appropriated to them we cannot account for them and are entirely guided by a kind of instinct or necessity in employing them. We have no experience to arbitrate here there is no existing genus of thought. We have been struck dumb however; we can no longer be incautious with such temptations to believe with such sirens sounding for sensible systematic sureness. We cannot in any sense of logic speak of the deity's possible or probable attributes or actions. We can never be allowed to mount up from the universe the effect to Jupiter the cause and then descend downward to infer a ny new effect from that cause . We are like foreigners in a strange country to whom every thing must seem suspicious and who are in danger every moment of transgressing against the laws and customs of the people with whom they live and converse. We are led to infer . Views of nature are fashioned from concealed even from the fashioner bias by the one s who fashion them. Transferred to philosophical theology it is impos-sible to derive legitimately from a natural theology any relevancy in conclusions arrived at over and above what can be independently and directly supported by empirical study of the universe. To insist the deity is known . To be a successful enduring critic of Hume one has to change the nature of the Question or introduce new categories of thinking questions and categories to which Hume might not have enjoyed access. To allege the occurrence of order in creation purpose in its constituent parts and in its constituted whole regularity in the meter of its rhythm and syncopations and mindful structure in the design and construction of Nature is by far the most widely used and generally accepted ground for launching from the world belief in an intelligent and omnipotent designer god. To Hume it is sinful to assume greater effects to an actually lesser cause. This objection he answers through his dialogue partner There is an infinite difference between the human and the divine. This kind of Deism he lays to rest. This is the mental gymnastics of a finite mind and the finite cannot re-present the unknowable infinite. This is speculation and Hume allows it no authority. This he sets out first and in preliminary fashion in Section XI of the Enquiry and with more plethoric attention in the Dialogues. They are in principle impossible. These conditions include the unhappiness of humanity and human corruption. These are the questions we should confront. Therefore-given that there is no more satisfactory explanation of the existence of A*s-they are produced by B*s similar to Bs. There is no rational foundation for your claims of fact. Then digging deeper we shall try our hand at a critique of his critique of religion of resurrecting a natural belief in God. Then Hume raises an objection. The whole presents nothing but the idea of a blind nature impregnated by a great vivifying principle and pouring forth from her lap without discernment or parental care her maimed and abortive children. The way bodies behave in accordance to the law of gravitation illustrates the latter. The true conclusion for Philo is that the original source of every thing is wholly apathetic to all the principles at work in the universe and regards health no better than harm good not better than evil lightness no better than heaviness. The result is a Design Argument and if true is conditional upon the strength of the analogy and upon how coherent empirical matters are processed to a divine cause. The purpose of my open mind regarding uncertainty is to close it on this one thing certain That the Cause or Causes of order in the universe bear no remote resemblance or analogy to humans animals plants or nature. The one who is able to balance theory off theory holding none of one's own is the victor. The knowledge of the cause being derived solely from the effect they must be exactly adjusted to each other; and the one can never refer to anything further or be the foundation of any new inference and conclusion. The imagination must be philosophically bridled. The god arrived at by arguments on the one-way street of effect to the cause is dead; we should never have allowed him to live. The first salvo is a statement of the terms of reference You then . The first is embarrassing to those who wield natural proofs of God we still have no idea or knowledge from these proofs what this God does what the deity values what It rewards and what It punishes. The finite has no metaphysical license to trespass its boundaries. The explanation should be kept as simple as possible. The experiencing one can never be held hostage to those armed with theory or conjecture about the nature of Reality. The difference is in degree not kind. The death knell of Hume's refutation of natural theology has left undaunted some critics of his writings. The cause must be proportioned to the effect. The argument of the former is mistitled. The Dialogues however does not commit the error of tendering Philo's view as the correct one. The Design Argument has been mortally wounded by David Hume. Swinburne whence came He. Swinburne my respects. Swinburne maintained that no criticism of Hume against natural theology has any validity against a more carefully articulated version of the argument. Swinburne launches his new and improved version of the Design Argument by nuancing the types of order into spatial and temporal categories. Such innocuous-sounding even camouflaged assertions by Hume were in actuality a D-Day invasion on the Normandy Beach of the Deists. Such a class of topics Hume renders unwarranted. So skepticism is the rationalists' arrow to skewer natural theology. So long as we confine our speculations to trade or morals or politics or criticism we make appeals every moment to common sense and experience which strengthen our philosophical conclusions and remove at least in part the suspicion which we so justly entertain with regard to every reasoning that is very subtile and refined. Scientists must venture out beyond the already known and infer the unknown. Religion must be reasonable for after all we are reasonable men. Rather than following Demea out the door however Cleanthes converts. R. Philosophically the argument is cast thus is religion to be the extension of principles and ideas implicit in daily knowledge of the world. Philo slices this argument with the sword of constant conjunction. Philo read Hume uses his skepticism to balance theory against theory and so suspend judgment. Philo maintains his skeptic's silence until later in the Dialogues and speak only to facilitate honest inquiry. Philo expounds his arguments further culminating in this riposte to Cleanthes Your theory itself cannot surely pretend to any such advantage; even though you have run into anthropomorphism the better to preserve a conformity to common experience. Philo begins the engagement of the problem of natural religion W hen we look beyond human affairs and the properties of the surrounding bodies When we carry our speculations into the two eternities before and after the present state of things; into the creation and formation of the universe; the existence and properties of spirits; the powers and operations of one universal spirit existing without beginning and without end; omnipotent omniscient immutable infinite and incomprehensible We must be far removed from the smallest tendency to scepticism not to be apprehensive that we have here got quite beyond the reach of our faculties. Our inferences about probabilities in human nature and works can be experienced. Ordinary experience he claims can settle the question of God Look around the world Contemplate the whole and every part of it You will find it to be nothing but one great machine subdivided into an infinite number of lesser machines. Or cannot Robinson Crusoe seeing one human footprint on the shore conclude he is not alone. One does not have to read for very long to find some modern intellectual involved in the analysis of some part of Nature come to the Aha. One cannot synthesize from the parts a whole that has nothing to do with the parts themselves. Of course things will happen without a ready Cause but that affords you no permission to assign divine causes left and right willy-nilly and certainly no license to worship this divinity. Now to the third argument. Note the contrasts of his analogy with Cleanthes' earlier machine Look round this universe. Not so with the divine who is single sui generis neither empirically obvious nor predictable. No sooner have we engodded the gods with power and intelligence and benevolence than we summon exaggeration and flattery to supply gaps and tease out the argument. No one character fully presents the force of Hume's arguments; his beliefs are on the tongues of all three. No matter what I've said elsewhere experience leads me only to one honest conclusion While others take their broad-jump leaps of faith and land in the quicksand of subjective conjecture I stand on the rock of experience. Nature is a mixed balkanized state. Natural Laws are not empirically obvious there is your mistake. My argument is not contained within that old wine skin of analogy. Mr. Moreover in the Design Argument he thinks strengthens the Christian monotheism habit. Modern religious piety salivates at the prospect of converting scientists and will take them any way it can. Like humans As A*s can be somewhat favorably compared to humans in terms of free choice and intelligence. Let us once more put it to trial. Keeping a mental finger on this he then hypothesizes that in order to explain the operation of many natural laws we should lay them at the feet of divine activity; they are not scientifically or empirically obvious. Its value depends only upon the vigor and durability of the analogy and upon the degree to which the resulting theory makes explanations more simple and coherent. It therefore appears every endeavor to argue from design like the Promised Land has its Dead Sea. It supports it not at all. It is unscientific to ascribe certain characteristics to a postulated designer of the universe if those characteristics go beyond what is required adequately to explain the facts. It is the only sanctuary I don't have to defend. It is an exercise in uselessness B ecause our knowledge of this cause being derived entirely from the course of nature we can never according to the rules of just reasoning return back from the cause with any new inference or making additions to the common and experienced course of nature establish any new principles of conduct and behaviour. It is an argument against any inductive proof for God's existence. It is a concession of the inadequacy of every weltbild to present itself as the norm. It has proven to be a tarbaby to all who are bound by the same questions as Hume about natural theology. It could not as an explanation guide experiments and research. Is the constant conjunction of events which Hume says must be experienced as cause and effect the only legitimate permission we possess for inferring either from the presence of the other. Is one instance in itself of constant conjunction sufficient to know a cause from inspection to its effect. Is not your God subject to creation-a cause-Himself. Is it a particle or a wave. Inferring from the world order to the nature of God from humanity writ large does not support the religious piety and philosophic rationales about the nature of God. Inductions we have proven over and over are not sufficient grounds for the certainty you would require. Induction can only give you a probability and I'd like to see you preach a probability. In what respect then do his benevolence and mercy resemble the benevolence and mercy of men. In this paper we shall attempt to follow Hume's arguments against Deism as Someone knowable from the wake He allegedly makes as He passes. In the Treatise Hume has urged us to conceive of events occurring without any causes at all; anything may be the cause of anything. In the Design Argument As are regularities of succession Bs are the human agents who cause As. In science how many false hypotheses do you come up with before you arrive at a true one. In one sense irrespective of the demolition of the Argument from Design or the religious hypothesis the Dialogues is a dramatization of the success and achievement of skepticism. In both books he employs the dialogue form to embody his attacks. In all instances which we have ever seen though has no influence upon matter except that matter is so conjoined with it as to have an equal reciprocal influence upon it. In all instances which we have ever seen ideas are copied from real objects and are ectypal not archetypal to express myself in learned terms You reverse this order and give thought the precedence. In Section XI of the Enquiry and throughout the Dialogues Hume subjects the Argument from Design to searching and searing philosophical analysis to the point in his mind that it is forever dead and to the point in our minds that we wonder why the world has not yet received the obituary. In Part II Cleanthes is drawn out by Philo and by his own growing self-confidence to assert that what is true for religious hypotheses also rings true for claims about the nature of God. If you have then you must truly be God. If you do the best you can do is bag unicorns and dragons; the worst you could do is to divinize your pa. If you cannot make out this point you allow that your conclusion fails; and you pretend not to establish the conclusion in a greater latitude than the phenomena of nature will justify. If experience is our only and final interlocutor and arbiter why can one not use one's experience and say that a half-finished building surrounded by all the materials and tools necessary for its completion will be one day complete. If Hume is right the implications are far-reaching. I lay your argument to rest at the feet of infinite regression. I have expressed myself badly in places but I think I can salvage my cause with a more circumspect exposition. Hume's purpose is to vitiate the Argument from Design more completely and to this end he skillfully balances his words among the protagonists; to let the currency of his argument fall upon the shoulders of one person alone would not only destroy the Dialogue by definition but would also diminish that dramatic interest in it which also constitutes its value. Hume's argument here is from the particular effect to the existence of a cause sufficient for its production. Hume replies Ok OK so I was not as careful as I might have been in formulating my principle that on the other side of experience there is no door leading to conjecture or hypothesis. Hume repeats and amplifies his voice in the Dialogues with the help of three protagonists Cleanthes Philo and Demea. Hume countered this thinking because it constructed belief and certainty out of mere possibility. How insufficient all of them for their own happiness. How hostile and destructive to each other. How do these implicate his Argument from Design. How contemptible and odious to the spectator. His reasoning dampens any spark of hope for whatever good there may be in Nature. His power we allow infinite Whatever he wills is executed But neither man nor animal are happy . His arguments the camp of unbelief have appropriated. Here he understands Nature as something in which nothing can be regarded as essential and nothing if anything can be taken as temptation for one to covet a higher state of living and experience. He queries Cleanthes how in the face of the orchestrated facts can he assert the moral attributes of the Deity his justice benevolence mercy and rectitude to be of the same nature with these virtues in the human creature. Have you faced a new species of sui generis phenomena. Have you experienced the universe as a simple and unparalleled fact. Has the Design Argument been forever altered by Hume. Ha Ha. From the order of the work you infer that there must have been project and forethought in the workman. From Plato to Planck the problematic lion of religion must be rendered safe and tame. Fourteen of the seventeen pages have nothing to do with immortality or particular providence. For Cleanthes early on the purveyor of common sense religious hypotheses like scientific ones are founded on the simplest and most obvious arguments and unless it meets with artificial obstacles has easy access and admission into the mind of man. Finally if there's anything Hume would like to say as a final rejoinder we shall let him have his last word and call the matter closed. Experience must be the true guide for philosopher and deist. Every scientific stride has come from its putting forth hypotheses which extend beyond the phenomena observed. Employing arguments of analogy based not on spatial but on temporal regularities Swinburne has satisfied himself that he has shown the Design Argument to be a legitimate inference to the best explanation for God. Einstein writes that the scientist's religious feeling takes the form of rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural. Each will have its day expose itself and die from exposure. Debate still rages on whether Cleanthes or Philo most faithfully represents Hume. David Hume's philosophy of religion is fatal to the natural revelation of Deism. DNA is an unostentatious reality unexperienced but we see its effect. Constant conjunction among events may explain those sequences that are often observed but it cannot deliver the answer to the question of the world's origin we cannot observe or experience it. Conjecture must be arbitrary. Cleanthes' conversion demonstrates it is enough for the view to be credible. Cleanthes makes no substantial reply and Demea the pietist comes to the stage with another set of conditions with which the Argument from Design must be reconciled. Cleanthes is led beyond the areas he was able to hold within practical reasoning into areas where he is vulnerable to the applications of his own reasoning. Causes are to be known from effects alone; to ascribe to it any superfluous qualities goes beyond the bounds of strict logical reasoning. Can we not legitimately infer God as a way to account and even foretell phenomena of the universe. Can it render service in post-Hume discussions. By this argument a posteriori and by this argument alone we do prove at once the existence of a Deity and his similarity to human mind and intelligence. By the end of Part III Cleanthes has spent his common sense arguments and returns to the background; though he often speaks his breaking of his silence breaks no new ground. By postulating predictive impotence Hume has set up an impasse. But your chessboard of an analogy fails because you are too ready to ascribe natural laws to a Deity when they are pawns unequal to the task of checkmating the prize piece. But inspect a little more narrowly these living existences the only beings worth regarding. But in theological reasonings we have not this advantage;. But all of them prepare a complete triumph for the skeptic who reminds over and over that no system can be embraced without some troublesome remainder. B*s are postulated to be similar in all respects to Bs except in so far as shown otherwise viz. As to this second objection. As some are fond of saying Your god is too small. As for the DNA model of analogy it won't reward you with a larger version or vision of the god of DNA. As are caused by Bs. As an argument from analogy the Argument from Design is on serviceable. Arguments may float but desiccated by the salt and sun of skepticism will hold no convincing power. Are you willing to constitute a religion and call people to faith based on what might be a false hypothesis. Are our observations one-on-one with our experiences. And this god of yours Mr. And so the coup de grace If one is baffled about the true state of the world how can one argue from design. And so do we. Analogies are inductive. An invalid argument will not support a conclusion not partially not even weakly. An example of the former is a section of books on a library shelf arranged by author's last name in alphabetical order. Also the experiencing one must be careful not to compromise her experience by inflating it with false conclusions which do not fit the close tolerances of experience. All your religious systems are subject to great and insuperable difficulties. All these various machines . All these slippery objections specific textual questions and ever-more refined points of logic are nothing but a series of assurances that you can never put one over on me. All reasoning all inquiries into the nature of the Deity rests on custom and habit. Adequately is the watchword. A*s are the regularities of succession exemplified by natural laws and B*s are the rational agents or causes of A*s of divine status. A*s are similar to As. A total suspension of judgment is my only refuge my mighty fortress. A second objection centers in the critique of constant conjunction. A scientific theory that proceeded only upon existing data would be worthless. A priori questions must be asked what is the bias of the world view. A final objection comes from science. 3. 2. 1. -Philo David Hume wrote much about the subject of religion much of it negative. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .