In a post in the past, the Noumenal Realm asked this question, but didn’t really answer it, and it was a post about something else. Anyway, lets ask the question as a textual issue. Lets forget about a ‘historical’ Hume with recourse to Hume’s life history and his relationship with the Kirk. But his philosophical reasons.
Reasons people give to suggest Hume is an atheist:
- Natural theology fails (such as the design inference, and the argument from definition)
- Revealed theology fails insofar as miracles do, and belief in them (First Enquiry)
- Religion comes about as natural instinct or response to the wonder of life
What does this infer?
- We should not make bad inferences
- We should avoid metaphysics as the project of being qua being
- Person-centric philosophy leads the disposition to believe in God, but not necessarily that he’s an invention
Could Hume be a Theist, then?
- Perhaps a Deist
- Fideist? Believe in God is the most ‘natural instinct’; and it is not an object of our questioning this belief, but merely we must accept it is in the furniture of our mental processes; in the same way that we do not question the quale ‘this coffee is damn hot!’
No, this isn’t good enough
- Hume is a SKEPTIC; he wouldn’t assent to answering questions like ‘Does God exist’, or others in the same line like ‘is the soul a seperate substance?’, ‘do we intuit reality as modes through the two attributes of thought and extension’