Freedom within Necessity

Paul Russell

in The Riddle of Hume's Treatise

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195110333
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199872084 | DOI:
Freedom within Necessity

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This chapter considers Hume's views on the subject “of liberty and necessity” in light of the relevant debate(s) that situate and structure his own contribution in the Treatise (T, 2.3.1–2). The primary concern is to show that, contrary to the orthodox view, Hume's arguments on this subject are highly relevant to problems of religion as Hume and his contemporaries understood and debated them. More specifically, Hume's necessitarianism is both metaphysically and methodologically a core part of his entire (Hobbist) project to establish a secular, scientific account of moral life. Related to this, one of the central lessons of Hume's discussion of free will in the Treatise, as it concerns his more extended views about the nature and conditions of moral responsibility, is that these are issues that we can make sense of only within the fabric of human nature and human society.

Keywords: action (agency); Andrew Baxter; Samuel Clarke; Anthony Collins; William Dudgeon; free will; future state; Heaven and Hell; Thomas Hobbes; liberty and necessity; moral responsibility

Chapter.  7663 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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