Religion and Faction in Hume's Moral Philosophy

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 23, 1997 - Philosophy - 300 pages
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This interpretation of Hume contests standard views by placing Hume's writings on religion securely within the context of his ethical concerns, and giving due attention to The History of English and The Natural History of Religion. Arguing that important aspects of Hume's writings on religion and moral philosophy can only be understood in light of his worries about the social effects of religion, this text reveals the links between Hume's concept of sympathy in the Treatise and his preoccupation with the destructiveness of religious faction. By tracing these concepts throughout Hume's corpus and setting his discussions of topics ranging from the nature of moral approval to the role of tragedy within the full scope of 18th-century thought, the author is able not only to shed new light on the coherence of Hume's authorship, but also to revise our understanding of the period in which he lived and wrote.
  

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Contents

Setting sympathys stage
17
Interestedness and intelligibility
24
The solution of sympathy
29
Sympathy and the experimental method
35
Displacing Providence
39
The Hutcheson connection
50
Accounting for approbation
60
The problem of contradiction
65
The problem of vicious manners
133
Divergent sympathies
143
Beyond poetry history speculation and religion
157
Religion and irrationality in history
168
Varieties of religious belief
171
Hume vs Pascal
181
Irony and sentimentality in the History of England
188
Zeal and faction
197

Sympathy and the Enquiry
71
Poetical systems and the pleasures of tragedy
82
The Douglas controversy
87
Of tragedy
98
Fiction reality and belief
105
the dangers of detachment
113
Sympathetic understanding and the threat of difference
117
The limits of sympathetic understanding
206
Conclusion
219
Notes
234
Select bibliography
283
Index
293
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