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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and The Natural History of Religion (Oxford World's Classics) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

J. C. A. Gaskin , David Hume
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Kurzbeschreibung

11. Dezember 2008 Oxford World's Classics
David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe. The Natural History of Religion investigates the origins of belief, and follows its development from harmless polytheism to dogmatic monotheism. Together they constitute the most formidable attack upon the rationality of religious belief ever mounted by a philosopher. This edition also includes Section XI of The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and a letter concerning the Dialogues, as well as particularly helpful critical apparatus and abstracts of the main texts, enabling the reader to locate or relocate key topics. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Produktinformation

  • Taschenbuch: 218 Seiten
  • Verlag: Oxford University Press; Auflage: Reissued. (11. Dezember 2008)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0199538328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538324
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,8 x 12,9 x 1,2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 122.263 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Synopsis

David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe. The Natural History of Religion investigates the origins of belief, and follows its development from harmless polytheism to dogmatic monotheism. Together they constitute the most formidable attack upon the rationality of religious belief ever mounted by a philosopher. This edition also includes Section XI of The Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and a letter concerning the Dialogues, as well as particularly helpful critical apparatus and abstracts of the main texts, enabling the reader to locate or relocate key topics.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

He is also the author of Hume's Philosophy of Religion (1988) and Varieties of Unbelief (1989).

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A philosopher thinks about God's existence 9. Februar 2006
Format:Taschenbuch
David Hume, a philosopher of the period often classified as British Empiricism, is the intellectual associate of philosophers John Locke and George Berkeley. Born in Edinburgh in 1711, he attended the University of Edinburgh but did not graduate. He went to France during his 20s, and spent time there working on what would become his most famous work, 'An Enquiry into Human Understanding', first published under the title 'Treatise of Human Nature'. However, Hume was a prolific writer, and dealt with many areas of philosophy, including politics and ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. He wrote in the area of history as well, and had a politic career as British ambassador to France and a post as a minister in the government for a few years. His final work, 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion', was published posthumously in 1779, although work had begun on it as early as the 1750s.
Hume was very concerned about rationality. Hume was never publicly and explicitly an atheist, but his rational mind, concerned about sensory and intelligible evidence, led him to question and doubt most major systems of religion, including the more general philosophical sense of religion and proofs of the existence of God. The primary arguments in his 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion' deal with the Argument from Design, and the Cosmological Argument. There is an assumed distinction here between natural religion and revealed religion, an especially important distinction in the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophical structure.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen vergnuegliche philosophie 15. Juli 2005
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Taschenbuch
Humes Religionsphilosophie ist einfach atemberaubend. Es ist richtig berauschend mit welcher leichtigkeit die argumente aufeinander folgen. zudem kann man ihm nicht vorwerfen, dass er einem eine Meinung aufzwingen will. natuerlich ist dies auch teilweisen auf den historischen kontext zuruechzufuehren allerdings koennte man es auch durch seine gemaessigte skepsis erklaeren. gaskin hat in diesem buch eine interessante auswahl von religionsphilosophischen texten humes zusammengestellt und sie mit einer sehr hilfreichen einleitung versehen. gaskin gilt als einer der wichtigsten kenner des gebiets, hier sei nur auf sein standartwerk ueber humes religionsphilosophie hingewiesen. er schafft es das ueberaus komplexe gedankengebilde humes auf relativ leicht verstaendliche und dennoch praezise art und weise zu erlaeutern.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Forgotten although serious 10. Februar 2011
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In this "post-hume" posthumous publication Hume mounted a special attack on the logical structure of many naive design arguments and indeed also upon the rational basis of any form of scientific enquiry.
In the Dialogues Hume calls the Design argument the religious hypothesis and proceeds to attack its foundation from a variety of directions.
Hume`s approach is entirely negative, whereas most of his contemporaries accepted the rationality and ordered structure of the world without questioning, Hume did not. A comm.on sense view of the world along with the metaphysical trimmings that had been added to the Newtonian world model, Hume rejected. His book is analogous to Cicero`s De Natura Deorum.The Dialogues describe a debate in which the sceptical Philo umpires and examines the argument between two supporters of different types of religious hypothesis. On the one hand there is Demea, representing the school of a priori truth and revelation and on the other Cleanthes, who reasons in a posteriori manner, employing the fashionable synthesis between final causes and the mechanical world-view. "I shall briefly explain how I conceive this matter. Look around this world: contemplate the whole and every part of it. You will find it to be nothing but one great machine, subdivided into an infinite member of lesser machines---all these various machines and even their most minute parts, are adjusted to each other with an accuracy, which ravishes into admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. The curious adapting of means to ends throughout all nature resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance, of human design, thought, wisdom and intelligence..."
The principal objections which Hume allows to surface during the course of the discussion are threefold.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Essential Philosophy in a Nice (and Cheap) Edition 5. Juni 2004
Von ctdreyer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This is a wonderful collection of Hume's most famous and influential writings on religion. Few books I've encountered include this much first-rate philosophy for the price, and so I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Hume's thinking about religion. It includes the section on miracles from Hume's Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals and the full versions of both The Natural History of Religion and the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. (Hume's short autobiography, "My Own Life," is also included.) Furthermore, Gaskin has provided some helpful editorial material: there's a useful introductory essay discussing the selections, and he includes explanatory notes that clarify some of Hume's more obscure references.
The central theme of Hume's religious thought is the central theme of his philosophical thought as a whole--namely the extent of our ignorance and the impotence of human reason to discover the things we really want to discover. And, for this reason, his writing on religion provides a good illustration of his general philosophical method: he begins by pointing out the impotence of reason, and then he offers a naturalistic psychological explanation of why we continue to think as we do. Our tendency to believe various religious thesis, he argues, cannot be explained as a justifiable way of thinking about the world that we arrive at through the use of reason. It is, instead, explained by certain general principles governing the operation of human minds. And two major works in this volume illustrate the two components of Hume's philosophical method. In the Dialogues he argues that neither empirical research nor the a priori exercise of reason is likely to reveal that our religious beliefs are justified. In The Natural History he begins the project of explaining why we do in fact believe what we do about religion.
As I said above, the Dialogues pertain to the first part of the method. Most of the Dialogues is devoted to discussion of a posteriori arguments for the existence of God, though there is also a short section on various a priori arguments. The main argument considered here is the classical argument from design, which Hume seems to understand as an analogical argument of the following sort: the complexity and order of the universe show that it is similar to artifacts created by human intelligences; similar causes have similar effects; therefore, the universe must have been created by a being with something like a human intelligence; therefore, the universe must have been created by God.
Hume's objections to this argument are legion, and many of the individual objections are both ingenious and forceful. He provides reasons for thinking that the universe isn't all that similar to artifacts created by human beings. Hume also provides for thinking that, even if we think the universe is similar to a human artifact, we ought to think the universe was created by a being quite unlike God. In addition, he suggests certain speculative naturalistic explanations of the existence and nature of the universe; and he claims that it's unclear why an appeal to divine creation is to be preferred to these speculative naturalistic stories of the universe's creation. Hume's cumulative case against the argument from design is quite impressive. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that Hume has shown that the argument from design is more or less worthless as support for anything resembling traditional theism.
But where, in the end, does Hume come down on the issue of theism? It seems clear that he has no sympathy for organized religion, or for any religious views that purport to describe the nature of God, His intentions, or how and why He created the universe as He did. For any such religious view is going to overstep the bounds within which he thinks human reason can operate. And the only positive religious claim that is given respectful treatment here is the bare claim that we have reason to think that the cause of the universe as a whole is somewhat similar to a human intelligence. But does acceptance of this minimal thesis amount to his being a theist? It's very hard to tell. The problem is that it often seems Hume's explicit advocation of this position amounts to little more than a description of what he thinks is an inevitable human tendency to think this way.
And this is where the second part of his project, the part carried out in The Natural History of Religion, becomes relevant. For The Natural History is the work in which Hume sets out to trace the sources of religious belief to certain natural principles of the human mind. There he argues that the the operation of our minds, along with the conditions in which we find ourselves, leads us to arrive at the sorts of religious beliefs we find to be popular in past and present human societies. Our ignorance about the way the world operates and our apprehensiveness about the ways these unknowns can affect our lives naturally lead human beings to a form of polytheism. We tend to attribute the underlying principles by which the world operates to a large number human-like beings, and this is what polytheistic religion amounts to. But once polytheism is in place our tendency to attribute greater powers and more perfect natures to individual gods leads us to something closer to monotheistic views according to which there is a single wholly perfect being behind all the underlying principles governing the world and behind the existence of the world itself.
It should be clear, then, why it's difficult to pin down just what Hume though about religion. He does think that it's hard for beings like us to deny the general thesis that the universe as a whole was probably created by a human-like intelligence. For given how our minds actually work, he seems to think, we're bound to think something like this about the origin of the universe. Yet it's somewhat unclear that he thinks forming beliefs in this way is reliable. It may simply be that we have a brute instinct to think in a way that insures we'll see the world as resulting from some human-like intelligence, and it's at least not clear that that isn't a debunking account of the plausibility of theism.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The most intelligent book ever written about religion 22. Mai 2002
Von Ronald Gentile - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is by far the most fascinating and critical look at religion I have ever read. The work is extremely well thought-out and, in my opinion, unbiased as well. As the editor, J.C.A. Gaskin, points out, Hume, in expressing points of view opposing to his own, portrays these views accurately and succeeds in anticipating his oponents' counter-arguments.
Second to the magnificence of Hume's ideas, the greatest thing about this book (and Hume's work in general) is the complete clarity of his writing and the ease with which the reader can follow the logical progression of his ideas.
I consider Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion to be Hume's greatest work. Regardless of your personal beliefs, Hume will make you re-think your views about religion and the universe.
Very highly recommended to all, skeptics and non-skeptics alike.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A philosopher thinks about God's existence 7. März 2005
Von FrKurt Messick - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
David Hume, a philosopher of the period often classified as British Empiricism, is the intellectual associate of philosophers John Locke and George Berkeley. Born in Edinburgh in 1711, he attended the University of Edinburgh but did not graduate. He went to France during his 20s, and spent time there working on what would become his most famous work, 'An Enquiry into Human Understanding', first published under the title 'Treatise of Human Nature'. However, Hume was a prolific writer, and dealt with many areas of philosophy, including politics and ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. He wrote in the area of history as well, and had a politic career as British ambassador to France and a post as a minister in the government for a few years. His final work, 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion', was published posthumously in 1779, although work had begun on it as early as the 1750s.

Hume was very concerned about rationality. Hume was never publicly and explicitly an atheist, but his rational mind, concerned about sensory and intelligible evidence, led him to question and doubt most major systems of religion, including the more general philosophical sense of religion and proofs of the existence of God. The primary arguments in his 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion' deal with the Argument from Design, and the Cosmological Argument. There is an assumed distinction here between natural religion and revealed religion, an especially important distinction in the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophical structure.

- Natural Religion and Revealed Religion -

Natural religion is the idea that we come to know and understand God (and, consequently, what God wants or expects of us, if anything) simply from nature and our sensory perceptions, as well as our interpretations (emotion and rational) of this kind of understanding. From very early in his writing career, Hume attacked the idea of natural religion and most of its conclusions, drawing a sharp line between what we can actually know and what ends up being fanciful extrapolations based on other-than-rational ideas and evidence. Revealed religion is primary what most religions base themselves upon - the burning bush to Moses, the resurrection and post-resurrection appearances to the Apostles, the Buddha's enlightenment under the tree - these are examples of revelation. While Hume does take on the idea of revealed religion in his other works, this particular text does not concern itself with that topic, and stays in the domain of addressing natural religion.

- The Argument from Design -

Arguments from Design have always had a strong appeal to believers within religious frameworks; they have often been used as tools of evangelism, as attempts to show that beyond the revealed doctrines, the very nature of things points to a creator. In very short order, the Argument from Design in Hume's newly-industrial time might have read like this:

- Machines are designed by beings with intelligence.

- The world and the universe it is in resembles a machine.

- Therefore, the world must have been created by means of intelligent design.

This is an argument by analogy, and is convincing to some, but often more convincing to those already inclined to believe in the existence of God.

- The Cosmological Argument -

The Cosmological Argument is at once both more subtle and more simple. The most simple way of stating it would be that God is the 'first cause' of everything. If everything has to have a cause (even the whole universe), then that first cause must be God. In the twentieth century era of thinking of a universe that began with a Big Bang, it seemed to some that the Cosmological Argument was confirmed.

Hume would have been familiar with Leibniz's more subtle form of the Cosmological Argument, which argues for a world of infinite contingent causes. However, there has to be something outside of this system of infinite causes that produced the series - thus, even in a universe with no set beginning or ending, there would still need to be an overarching cause.

- Hume's Arguments -

Hume argues on many levels. His first criticism of the Argument from Design is that this analogy (as are most arguments from analogy) is faulty and not exact; we have no idea if the universe is like a machine. Even if it was, machines are often designed and built by several designers - why argue for one God rather than several? How do we know that matter and the universe don't have their own, internal self-organising principles?

With regard to the Cosmological Argument, the argument is a little more strained. Hume argues that, in any series of causality, once one knows about each cause, it makes no sense to inquire beyond the sequence of causes to some other effect. This is a very Empirical argument, to be sure, and while perhaps not entirely satisfying, it still has merit in philosophy to this day.

- Hume's Structure -

This is a dialogue, set up in the classical way of people talking with each other about the subjects. Hume draws primarily from Cicero, whose work 'On the Nature of the Gods' uses characters of the same names. However, whereas Cicero was concerned about the nature of the Gods (their attributes, powers, etc.) and not their existence, it is the very existence of God that occupies Hume's thoughts.

Hume, despite many years of work on this text, probably never quite thought it was finished. He left the work to Adam Smith (the noted economist, and friend of Hume in Edinburgh), who also thought the arguments against the existence of God were too strong, and likely too damaging to Hume's overall reputation. The tug-of-war over the publication makes for interesting reading in and of itself.

These are important arguments, worthy of discussion and dialogue in philosophy classes, theology classes, and among others who ponder the existence of God.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A book for those who like to think about religion 27. August 1997
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
This is a book for those who like to think about religion. Whether you are an atheist or a theist the book will challenge you. Hume arranges powerful arguments on both side of the question, and it is still a matter of scholarly debate what he really believed, however what Hume really believed is less important than the training in critical thinking he offers. This is the kind of book that can change your life
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The truth that they will never teach you. 3. Juni 2003
Von Jeremy S Brown - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Hume is a master, one of the most important philosophers ever. In the Natural History, Hume masterfully shows the natural evolution of religion. From its crude beginings of polytheism to the more refined monotheism, comparing the value systems of each. Monotheism has roots and can be traced to a source. He concludes that any rational mind would aviod the unstable houses of religion altogether.
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