Toward a Humean True Religion: Genuine Theism, Moderate Hope, and Practical Morality

Paperback | October 14, 2016

byAndre C. Willis

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David Hume is traditionally seen as a devastating critic of religion. He is widely read as an infidel, a critic of the Christian faith, and an attacker of popular forms of worship. His reputation as irreligious is well forged among his readers, and his argument against miracles sits at the heart of the narrative overview of his work that perennially indoctrinates thousands of first-year philosophy students. In Toward a Humean True Religion, Andre Willis succeeds in complicating Hume’s split approach to religion, showing that Hume was not, in fact, dogmatically against religion in all times and places. Hume occupied a “watershed moment,” Willis contends, when old ideas of religion were being replaced by the modern idea of religion as a set of epistemically true but speculative claims. Thus, Willis repositions the relative weight of Hume’s antireligious sentiment, giving significance to the role of both historical and discursive forces instead of simply relying on Hume’s personal animus as its driving force. Willis muses about what a Humean “true religion” might look like and suggests that we think of this as a third way between the classical and modern notions of religion. He argues that the cumulative achievements of Hume’s mild philosophic theism, the aim of his moral rationalism, and the conclusion of his project on the passions provide the best content for this “true religion.”

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David Hume is traditionally seen as a devastating critic of religion. He is widely read as an infidel, a critic of the Christian faith, and an attacker of popular forms of worship. His reputation as irreligious is well forged among his readers, and his argument against miracles sits at the heart of the narrative overview of his work th...

Andre C. Willis is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University.

other books by Andre C. Willis

Toward a Humean True Religion: Genuine Theism, Moderate Hope, and Practical Morality
Toward a Humean True Religion: Genuine Theism, Moderate...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6.03 × 0.65 inPublished:October 14, 2016Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271064889

ISBN - 13:9780271064888

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Abbreviations of Primary Texts

Introduction

Chapter 1: The ‘Proper Office of Religion’ from Cicero to Hume

Chapter 2: Genuine Theism

Chapter 3: Moderate Hope

Chapter 4: Practical Morality

Chapter 5: The Religious Significance of Hume’s True Religion

Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

“With great acuity and originality, Willis does address the question of how Hume’s thinking on religion might be made serviceable to our post-secular twenty-first-century culture in general, and a philosophically-informed study of religion in particular. In fact, this line of thought is well articulated in the first page of Willis’s book and becomes again prominent in his insightful and challenging last chapter, ‘A Humean true religion.’ Willis’ study is a must read for anyone who wants to know whether Hume might be a good philosophical guide to help such an Enlightened sense of piety to flourish.”—Willem Lemmens, Journal of Scottish Philosophy