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The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion

The Riddle of Hume's Treatise: Skepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion (Paperback)

By Russell, Paul

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Although it is widely recognized that David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (1729-40) belongs among the greatest works of philosophy, there is little aggreement about the correct way to interpret his fundamental intentions. The solution to this riddle depends on challenging ano...ther, 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-Christian philosophical tradition that includes Hobbes, Spinoza and freethinking followers. Considered in these terms, Hume's Treatise constitutes the crowning achievement of the Radical Enlightenment. The Riddle of Hume's Treatise is a stimulating and provocative piece of scholarship. The central question it poses--how to understand all of the Treatise as part of a single project?--is most certainly a question that still needs to be asked. And Paul Russell's way of answering it, by means of a careful consideration of David Hume's intellectual context, is the only way. --Times Literary Supplement Paul Russell's The Riddle of Hume's Treatise is an excellent and thought-provoking text that is a pleasure to read...It deserves to have an important impact not only on Hume research, but on the narrative that drives undergraduate survey courses in the history of early modern philosophy as well. --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Paul Russell has given us a marvelously good book. [He] offers original and compelling accounts of the irreligious implications of central arguments of the Treatise on an impressive range of topics it should never again be claimed that the Treatise is largely unconcerned with questions of religion. - Don Garrett, Philosophical Review a major addition to the scholarly literature. - Terence Penelhum, University of Calgary
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ISBN 9780199751525
Released AU 14 May 2010
Publisher Oxford University Press (S3)
Format Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780199751525
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Oxford University Press (S3)
Imprint Oxford University Press Inc
Released 14 May 2010
Publication Country United States United States
Format Paperback
Author(s) By Russell, Paul
Category Award Winning
Modern Western Philosophy, C 1600 To The Present
Epistemology, Theory Of Knowledge
Number of Pages 442
Dimensions Width: 156mm
Height: 235mm
Spine: 25mm
Dewey Code 149.73
Weight 646g
Interest Age 19+ years
Reading Age 19+ years
Library of Congress Religion - Philosophy, Hume, David
NBS Text Philosophy
ONIX Text College/higher education;Professional and scholarly