The Practical Pyrrhonist

Paul Russell

in The Riddle of Hume's Treatise

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195110333
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199872084 | DOI:
The Practical Pyrrhonist

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This chapter provides a general interpretation of the irreligious character of Hume's sceptical intentions in the Treatise. Although the Treatise remains the primary concern, the discussion also covers Hume's later philosophical works. Hume's basic aim is to reveal the “weakness and uncertainty of mere human reason" so that he can show that all speculations that reach beyond “the common affairs of life"—specifically, those that are encouraged by “superstition"—should be abandoned. This is the principal lesson of the Conclusion of Book I (T, 1.4.7). This general account of Hume's skeptical commitments serves as the foundation for a solution to the problem of the “riddle” of the Treatise.

Keywords: Pierre Bayle; common life; dogmatism; fideism; Thomas Hobbes; human understanding; naturalism; natural religion; Pyrrhonism; skepticism

Chapter.  10022 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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