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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Dialogues 1–11 discuss religion’s foundation in human reason. Dialogue 12, in which Philo. the relentless opponent of pro-theistic arguments, makes his “confession” that he embraces natural religion; namely, the view that the cause or causes of order in nature bear some remote analogy to human intelligence. Hume’s Natural History of Religion, although published earlier than the posthumous Dialogues, is, in effect, a second volume to them. It presents a complex naturalistic explanation of religion’s origin in human nature, providing a sophisticated (and controversial) account of religion’s origin that is also a critique of religious belief. The core of this critique is an argument that theistic belief cannot be rendered so as to significantly differ from an atheism that grants that natural order has some cause or other.

Keywords: Natural propensities, natural beliefs, human nature, foundation in reason, origin in nature, sceptic, design argument, analogy, theory of meaning

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