Hume, David

(1711–76)
   Philosopher and Historian.
   Hume was born and educated in Edinburgh. He was the author of several important works of philosophy including A Treatise on Human Nature, Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (which contains his essay on miracles), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and, perhaps most interesting of all to the student of religion, his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. He also compiled a six-volume history of England. He is remembered for his sceptical attitude towards miracles – he argued that it was always more reasonable to reject a witness’s testimony about a miracle than to accept it, since ‘it is contrary to experience that a miracle should be true, but not contrary to experience that testimony should be false’. His dismissal of the teleological argument for the existence of God in the Dialogues is also masterly. Hume’s philosophy has been immensely influential and he must be seen as the forerunner of the modern logical positivists.
   A.J. Ayer, Hume (1980);
   J.C.A. Gaskin, Hume’s Philosophy of Religion (1978);
   S. Tweyman (ed.), David Hume: Critical Assessments (1995).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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  • HUME, David — (1711 1776)    Scottish skeptical philosopher, historian and essayist whose radical empiricism has had a profound influence on modern thought. KANT claimed that Hume awoke him from dogmatic slumber through his A Treaties on Human Nature (1739).… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

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