David Hume (1711-1776) was a Scottish philosopher of the Enlightenment, a leading proponent of skepticism and empiricism, and one of the earliest open atheists. Hume's 1739 work, A Treatise of Human Nature, was one of the earliest systematic attempts to understand human nature through philosophy. In opposition to the rationalists, such as Descartes, Hume believed that it was desire, as opposed to reason, that drove human behavior. Custom writing from Paper Masters will help you flush out the most important ideas in the writings of David Hume.
David Hume as a Historian
Hume was also a noted historian, writing an exhaustive work The History of England between 1754 and 1762, which ran well over one million words. The work surveyed all of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the Glorious Rebellion of 1688. Hume also wrote extensively on religion, and such works as On Superstition and Enthusiasm were received with great criticism by religious authorities of the day. The following are a few of David Hume's more well-know writings:
- A Treatise of Human Nature
- Essays, Moral and Political
- Of Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul
- Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
The heart of Hume's philosophy revolves around the problem of induction. Through inductive reason, a series of observations leads towards a new inference. Hume believed that casual relations could only be discovered through induction, since any cause might produce multiple effects.
Hume was highly critical of arguments attempting to prove the existence of God. He believed that if God designed the universe, then God himself required a designer. On his deathbed, Hume called the idea of an afterlife "a most unreasonable fancy."