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The Riddle of Hume's TreatiseSkepticism, Naturalism, and Irreligion$
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Paul Russell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195110333

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195110333.001.0001

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The Monster of Atheism

The Monster of Atheism

Its Being and Attributes

(p.47) 5 The Monster of Atheism
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise

Paul Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The early responses to the Treatise show that the issue of “atheism” was neither peripheral nor irrelevant to the way that Hume's own contemporaries understood his aims and objectives. Most contemporary Hume scholars maintain, however, that this label, not only misrepresents Hume's intentions in the Treatise but that it also misrepresents his position on the subject of religion as presented in his later writings (which are understood to be more “directly” or “explicitly” concerned with religion). The immediate aim of this chapter is to develop a clearer understanding of the way that Hume and his contemporaries interpreted “atheism” and the specific doctrines that were associated with it. Once this standard is (back) in place, we will be in a position to determine the extent to which the charge of “atheism” fits the actual content of the Treatise.

Keywords:   atheism, Pierre Bayle, Boyle Lectures, deism, future state, Thomas Hobbes, Naturalism, Pantheism, Pyrrhonism, Spinoza/Spinozism

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