Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism
Spectres of False Divinity presents a historical and critical interpretation of Hume's rejection of the existence of a deity with moral attributes. In Hume's view, no first cause or designer responsible for the ordered universe could possibly have moral attributes; nor could the existence (or non-existence) of such a being have any real implications for human practice or conduct. Hume's case for this 'moral atheism' is a central plank of both his naturalistic agenda in metaphysics and his secularizing program in moral theory. It complements his wider critique of traditional theism, and threatens to rule out any religion that would make claims on moral practice. Thomas Holden situates Hume's commitment to moral atheism in its historical and philosophical context, offers a systematic interpretation of his case for divine amorality, and shows how Hume can endorse moral atheism while maintaining his skeptical attitude toward traditional forms of cosmological and theological speculation.
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actions affective attitudes agnosticism analogy argument from determinism argument from evil argument from sentimentalism Bayle behavior Butler Cambridge University Press cause or designer cause or organizing claim Clarendon Press Cleanthes concerning conclusion core natural theology cosmological critique D. Z. Phillips David Hume deity determinism against duties deterministic Dialogues divine amorality doctrine Don Garrett early modern emotion empirical endorse Enquiry Essays evidential argument existence fact Francis Hutcheson human passion Human Understanding Hume Studies Hume’s Philosophy Hume’s Treatise Hutcheson ideas imagery imagination imagistic Indianapolis infinitely powerful interpretation Jonathan Edwards least letter to Mure liminal natural theology mind mitigated skepticism moral atheism moral attributes moral sentiments morally praiseworthy natural object Natural Religion organizing principle original cause Oxford University Press particular Philo Philosophy of Religion Pierre Bayle probabilistic problem of evil properties reasoning religious responsible Section sense sentimentalist simply sort specific suicide theological speculation traditional ultimate virtue