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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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A Hobbist Plan

A Hobbist Plan

(p.61) 6 A Hobbist Plan
The Riddle of Hume's Treatise

Paul Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The central thesis of this chapter is that the scope and structure of Hume's Treatise is modeled or planned after that of Hobbes's The Elements of Law and that in this respect there exists an important and unique relationship between these two works. The immediate significance of this relationship between Hobbes's and Hume's project of the “science of man” is that it indicates the underlying unity and coherence of Hume's entire project in the Treatise. However, although the “plan” of the Treatise is modeled closely after Hobbes's work, we should not infer that there are no significant issues where Hobbes and Hume diverge. On the contrary, there are (several) significant issues where Hobbes and Hume do indeed diverge—an observation that is in no way inconsistent with the fact that Hume's project is modeled after Hobbes's similar project of a “science of man.” Nevertheless, once we recognize the nature and significance of Hume's Hobbist plan in the Treatise, we are in a position to excavate and systematically uncover Hume's fundamental irreligious intentions throughout the Treatise.

Keywords:   Treatise of Human Nature, Elements of Law, Thomas Hobbes, Hobbism, Leviathan, models (literary/philosophical), science of man, scientific method

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