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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,155 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is a philosophical work written by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Through dialogue, three fictional characters named Demea, Philo, and Cleanthes debate the nature of God's existence. While all three agree that a god exists, they differ sharply in opinion on God's nature or attributes and how, or if, humankind can come to knowledg ...more
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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published 1779)
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All the New Atheists I've come across cite the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, most recently A.C. Grayling in his horrible The God Argument. But I wonder how carefully they read it; more and more often I feel they are metamorphosing into their creationist enemies, diligently mining out-of-context quotes to support their claim that there is no God and they can prove it. Hume would never have said anything so silly, though I doubt he'd be surprised at the way he is now used: he gives the im ...more
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، من فلسفۀ انگلیس را نمی پسندم، چون به جایِ اندیشیدن برایِ پاسخ به سوالِ ایجاد شده، بیشتر در موردِ خودِ سؤال تفکر میکنند ... بارها سؤال را بالا و پایین میکنند و برایِ آن فلسفه میبافند تا از پاسخ دادن به پرسش شانه خالی کنند... امّا زنده یاد «دیوید هیوم» در میانِ فلاسفهٔ انگلیسی، چیزِ دیگری بود، یک نابغۀ خردمند و یک فیلسوف به معنایِ واقعی بود که عقایدِ روشنگرانه اش تا به امروز بر بینشِ انسان هایِ خردگرا تابش داشته و دارد
دوستانِ گرانقدر، سعی میکنم تا چکیده ای مفید و مختصر از این کتاب
Roy Lotz
In almost every aspect of his thinking, David Hume was a man ahead of his time. His views on the nature of causality and induction—the foundation of the scientific method—are still relevant, unsolved problems in philosophy. His views on morals, however simple-minded they may seem, do presage the sociobiological explanation of ethical behavior by pointing to an innate sense. His Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion are perhaps more relevant still, as it seems the debate over evolution vs. intell ...more
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
“All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be sceptical, or at least cautious, and not to admit of any hypothesis whatever, much less of any which is
supported by no appearance of probability.”

― David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion


Reading Mill's Utilitarianism the other day reminded me that it has been ages since I've read Hume. Hume's last little book, for me, is nearly perfect. He combines skepticism with a dark and mischievous humor. He

David Hume gravé par Carmontelle

Parmi les œuvres philosophiques du célèbre Marcus Tulius Ciceron, la La Nature Des Dieux est l'un de ceux qui m'ont le plus marqué. Trois amis disputaient sans acrimonie, mais en toute franchise de leurs visions respectives de la religion, en fonction de leurs appartenance à telle ou telle école philosophique, alternant les rôles de thuriféraires et de contempteurs des différentes opinions. Ces anciens se laissaient une grande latitude sur les possibilités de la n
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't like most of the New Atheists (Dennett is the exception). They take their arguments beyond the point they should. They seem to open up a needlessly indefensible special hatred towards Muslims hence allowing for a non-tolerant person to occupy the White House and appointing a white supremacist to the NSC. This book shows in nuanced ways how to argue against dogmatist while not also becoming a dogmatist in the process. Nothing really changes under the sun, and Hume's book is still as relev ...more
Erik Graff
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Cornel West
Shelves: philosophy
I read this book for Cornel West's course on Hume & Kant during my last semester at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. This and his Treatise of Human Nature are my favorite books by Hume, one of my favorite philosophers.

It struck me today whilst thinking back upon Hume that his critique of necessity in evidentiary cases of causality, the spark that set off Kant's revolution in philosophy, might be a salutory read for those, like Einstein, who've been troubled by developments in mic
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 argumen
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Scottish philosopher David Hume finished writing this work in 1776, shortly before his death.

Cleanthes argues in Part I that religious persons use whatever approach, rational or anti-rational, in their arguments, whatever approach will support and buttress their own preexisting convictions. Demea, on the other hand, in Part II takes the position of Job, that God exists but is so far beyond us that it is not only futile but inappropriate for us to try to understand God’s essence or characteri
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume. What a magnificent piece of philosophical inquiry! Considering the time it was written, this short book offers an impressive and accessible survey of its subject. Hume disposed of the Argument from Design a century before Darwin.
Skepticism at its finest.
Marts  (Thinker)
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Featuring a dialogue amongst three philosophers, this volume debates the existence of god, highlighting the varied opinions on the nature and attributes of such...
Bob Nichols
In these Platonic-like dialogues, Hume uses three characters to lay out three views on religion. In one, God transcends all human attributes and is incomprehensible. In another, God is modeled after humans, focusing on intelligence in a super-human sort of way. The third view, articulated by Philo, takes Hume’s empiricist approach to argue that we cannot establish the existence or non-existence of God. Philo’s ambivalence on the issue of God is palpable and in the end he lands on a deist approac ...more
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of the worst books that I was ever forced to read in college.
When I read this the cover was brown. Books have to be so sexy now!
Tarp Jones
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is something analogous in Hume’s characters of Cleanthes, Philo, Demea, and their pursuit of natural religion to the workings of a dog track. In order to get the dogs to run in a circle, a metal, rabbit-shaped animal—often given a cute name like “Sparky”--appears in front of the pack just when the starting gate is lifted. The dogs, driven by natural instinct, catch sight of Sparky and begin the race. Sparky, driven by an intelligently designed mechanism that surpasses the speed of even th ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a small addiction to late night talk shows. When I say small, I mean that I am constantly searching for who is on so that I know when to record which program. A long time ago, Cornell West was on the Craig Ferguson show and somehow they started talking about David Hume. As an agnostic, I am always searching for a thought-provoking read. Inevitably, I end up re-reading Voltaire or random op-ed articles/journals. So when Cornell West said that this was the greatest piece of literature ever ...more
David Wells
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is a posthumously published work by the late great Scottish philosopher David Hume. It can be difficult to read as the language is a bit archaic, but if you can get past the 5 dollar words, like "pernicious", it is a wonderful read. Hume takes on and accomplishes the philosophical dialog with flying colors.

The dialog takes place between 3 characters, each representing a different point of view with regard to the subject matter discussed; and the topic is (as the title states) Natural Religi
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It was interesting to read philosophy in a dialogue format that isn't Plato. It was a different and altogether more realistic dialogue in which the characters continued to disagree with each other, or held the same beliefs but for completely different reasons, and one character ended up leaving the conversation in disgust. Lots of interesting questions are raised and various objections are made to traditional arguments about God. It is interesting for the content and also to try to decipher what ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
این کتاب بحثی درباره ی برهان نظم که یکی از برهان های وجودی خدا هست رو شروع میکنه و به روشی گفت و گو مانند مطلب رو شرح میده ، دو شخصیت موافق وجود خدا بر طبق استدلالشان بر اساس برهان نظم و فیلو شخصیتی که برهان نظم رو به چالش میکشه ، کتاب پر است از جدل های گفتاری که طبیعته چنین مناظره هایی است و بسیار جالب و هیجان انگیز است ، بحث پیرامون وجود خدا از نظر هیوم فراتر از توانایی بشر است و به همین دلیل برهان نظم رو با منطق هایی محکم و شکست ناپذیر رد میکنه و نشون میده که این برهان تا چه اندازه در اثبات و ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, science
If you are a religious person stay away from this book because it will give you eye cancer.
It's hard to put sense into someone whose defense for their beliefs is just as irrational as themselves.
Parents should not subject children to manipulation and fear in order for them to believe in this person called 'god'. Let them make their own decision when they have the age and knowledge to make it. 
A lot of people need to read this before they start to become aware of how absurdly far fetched and cla
Kyle van Oosterum
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
One of the more lucid writers in philosophy, David Hume blends the writing style of Rousseau with the precision of Dawkins. These dialogues were published posthumously as Scotland was not the most open-minded country in the 18th Century. Atheism was liable to get you arrested and Hume subtly and successfully works in arguments against most of the theological thought of antiquity. His opinions are embodied in the fiercely skeptical Philo who analytically tears down each argument that the devout C ...more
Abdul-mohsen Al-Qasabi
I think this was a good summary to whatever philosophy presents nowadays in the field of theology

I really enjoyed it & i don't think this is the last time i'm going to read this beautiful peace of thought
Luís C.
Jun 16, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Lisbon Book-Fair 2017.
Onyango Makagutu
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read
Rowland Bismark
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hume's skepticism was the result of more than his strong commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of the supremacy of reason; it was also largely the result of his equally strong commitment to the philosophical principles of British Empiricism. Following in the footsteps of George Berkeley, Hume believed that all factual knowledge derives from experience. In contrast to the rationalists, such as Rene Descartes and Nicolas Malebranche (both influential for Hume), who believed that knowledge of matte ...more
Iván Leija
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Conocer a Dios es rendirle culto. "Ser un escéptico filosófico es, en un hombre de letras, el primer y más esencial paso hacia ser un cristiano de firmes creencias". Tales son las conclusiones a las que se llegan en estos diálogos, los cuales superan en complejidad y dramatismo a los platónicos. Para entender esta complejidad es necesario mencionar la distinción principal que hace Hume entre religión natural, en la que se enfoca el diálogo, y la religión revelada, que apenas es levemente represe ...more
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three guys who all believe in god get together to talk about god, but quickly discover that actually they all disagree about fundamental characteristics of god. Essentially that’s it.

David Hume empiricist and sceptic, essentially argues that discussions of religion can never be rational. Hume highlights the lack of common ground shared by those that claim to believe in the same god, and as such it goes some way to explaining 30,000 Christian denominations, along with the many different practices
It's basically an atheist argument. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves. The only reason religious people don't get up in arms is because Hume doesn't attack relgion. He asks to modify their conception of god.

I don't think there's anything incredible here. I can't remember treatise of human nature so well but I feel like everything in here was pretty much covered in that.

For some reason while I was reading this I was reminded of saul bellow.
Andrew Barkett
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yo300
Hume's writings offer the clearest explanation of, and argument for, intelligent design. They also offer some of the better developed counterarguments. It is easy to detect an early deist strain in this book, as well as much of the foundation for Darwin's work on evolution. It is altogether a seminal piece.
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  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Monadology
  • Our Knowledge of the External World
  • Theological-Political Treatise
  • Naming and Necessity
  • Philosophical Fragments
  • A History of Philosophy, Volume 2: Medieval Philosophy, from Augustine to Duns Scotus
  • On Certainty
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • Word and Object
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • A Letter Concerning Toleration: Humbly Submitted
  • Philosophical Dictionary
David Hume (/ˈhjuːm/; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish historian, philosopher, economist, diplomat and essayist known today especially for his radical philosophical empiricism and scepticism.

In light of Hume's central role in the Scottish Enlightenment, and in the history of Western philosophy, Bryan Magee judged him as a philosopher "widely regarded as the greates
More about David Hume...
“How can we satisfy ourselves without going on in infinitum? And, after all, what satisfaction is there in that infinite progression? Let us remember the story of the Indian philosopher and his elephant. It was never more applicable than to the present subject. If the material world rests upon a similar ideal world, this ideal world must rest upon some other; and so on, without end. It were better, therefore, never to look beyond the present material world.” 20 likes
“All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance
and obscurity, is to be sceptical, or at least cautious, and not
to admit of any hypothesis whatever, much less of any which is
supported by no appearance of probability.”
More quotes…