pearl's Reviews > Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume
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Jun 05, 11

bookshelves: philosophy, essays, favorites, religion
Read from May 22 to June 05, 2011

I thought, you know, that the idea of an imaginary "dialogue" was cheesy and overdone. But Hume is a riot. He is such a devastatingly skilled debater--so insightful, careful, witty, and unafraid of going waist-deep in his (numerous, varied) convictions--that I've been left in quiet awe of him. And what struck me too was the even-handedness with which Hume dealt all sides, giving equal credence to the voices of his three characters, Philo, Cleanthes, and Demea.

Cleanthes--well, okay so his argument from design holds some water, but it's hard to sympathize with someone so rude! Calling skeptics jesters and railliers? Atheists? Come, come, tsk, tsk. Skeptical Philo was my obvious favorite, but surprisingly (or unsurprisingly?) I found myself empathizing most with Demea, the religious conservative and mystic, especially in his call against the anthropomorphic view of the universe that supposes God must be like ourselves.

My paper on the Dialogues and Cleanthes' argument from design is due Friday. Then all I've got left to read are the two essays on Suicide and Miracles. I can safely say that I'm kinda looking forward to this week...

***Update: I'm done. And my verdict? Smashing.
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