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Coleridge and Scepticism$
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Ben Brice

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290253.001.0001

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Hume's ‘Fork’: Scepticism and Natural Religion

Hume's ‘Fork’: Scepticism and Natural Religion

(p.52) 2 Hume's ‘Fork’: Scepticism and Natural Religion
Coleridge and Scepticism

Ben Brice

Oxford University Press

David Hume was brought up as a Calvinist, and studied Newtonian physics and methodology at Edinburgh University and beyond. In An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1748) and his posthumously published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), Hume attacked the foundations of post-Newtonian natural theology by exploiting both Newton's rules for reasoning in natural philosophy (Regulae Philosophandi) and Protestant critiques of natural reason, in order to attack the metaphysical and theological foundations of 18th-century natural religion. It is argued that while Coleridge never ceased to attack the ‘infidelity’ and corruption of the atheist Hume, he could not easily dismiss Hume's arguments against natural religion, since they were often couched in the language of ‘epistemological piety’ as practiced by Christian philosophers like Boyle, Locke, and Newton. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Coleridge's acknowledged intellectual debts to Kant's Critique of Judgment (1790).

Keywords:   Calvinist, Newton, natural philosophy, Regulae Philosophandi, natural religion, experimental philosophy, methodological axioms, theological voluntarism, Kant

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