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date: 28 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is about Hume’s critiques of the cosmological, ontological, and design arguments for the existence of God, as proposed by Samuel Clarke and other Newtonian theologians. Clarke regarded the cosmological argument (in a form that incorporates the ontological argument) as essential to prove the uniqueness, eternity, infinity, and omnipresence of God and the design argument as essential to prove the wisdom and foresight of God. The criticisms Hume makes all depend on his empiricist theory of ideas and his revolutionary theories of causation and causal reasoning. Most of the chapter discusses these themes. The concluding section draws attention to recent research that shows two things. One is how central to Hume’s whole philosophical enterprise is his rejection of theological ideas and doctrines. The other is how this relates to his rejection of certain parts of Newtonian metaphysics.

Keywords: Cosmological argument, design argument, causation, causal reasoning, Newtonian metaphysics

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