The Myth of “Castration” and the Riddle's Solution

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 Myth of “Castration” and the Riddle's Solution

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This chapter aims to provide a summary account of the nature and significance of the irreligious interpretation of the Treatise. The solution to the riddle of the Treatise begins with a critique of the “castration” hypothesis, which in its unqualified form is simply a myth. Contrary to this hypothesis, the Treatise is systematically concerned with and directly relevant to issues of religion. The irreligious interpretation plainly serves to explain the character of Hume's motivation in the Treatise as it relates to both his skeptical and naturalistic commitments. It also serves to explain what unites or relates the highly varied component arguments and discussions that appear throughout this work (in contrast with the established accounts which leave us with a work that is disjointed and fragmented).

Keywords: atheism (anti‐Christian); empiricism; Hobbism; irreligion; naturalism; Radical Enlightenment; religion; science of man; secularism; skepticism

Chapter.  6468 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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