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Philo is the hard-headed skeptic who sees paradoxes and inconsistencies in every line of argument, sees alternate interpretations for every observation, and who thus essentially believes nothing can be known for certain. His arguments are most nearly those of the modern skeptic. Hume at times lets him go over the top and express extreme ideas, which are then tempered a bit for the sake of more sensitive readers.
Cleanthes is the pragmatic skeptic, who is keenly aware of the limitations of logic and observation but who nevertheless believes our mental picture of sense impressions and logical inferences is too real to dismiss entirely. It is Cleanthes who articulates the Argument From Design.

"Hume is our Politics, Hume is our Trade, Hume is our Philosophy, Hume is our Religion." This statement by nineteenth century philosopher James Hutchison Stirling reflects the unique position in intellectual thought held by Scottish philosopher David Hume. Part of Hume's fame and importance owes to his boldly skeptical approach to a range of philosophical subjects. In epistemology, he questioned common notions of personal identity, and argued that there is no permanent "self" that continues over time. He dismissed standard accounts of causality and argued that our conceptions of cause-effect relations are grounded in habits of thinking, rather than in the perception of causal forces in the external world itself. He defended the skeptical position that human reason is inherently contradictory, and it is only through naturally-instilled beliefs that we can navigate our way through common life. In the philosophy of religion, he argued that it is unreasonable to believe testimonies of alleged miraculous events, and he hints, accordingly, that we should reject religions that are founded on miracle testimonies. Against the common belief of the time that God's existence could be proven through a design or causal argument, Hume offered compelling criticisms of standard theistic proofs. He also advanced theories on the origin of popular religious beliefs, grounding such notions in human psychology rather than in rational argument or divine revelation. The larger aim of his critique was to disentangle philosophy from religion and thus allow philosophy to pursue its own ends without rational over-extension or psychological corruption. In moral theory, against the common view that God plays an important role in the creation and reinforcement of moral values, he offered one of the first purely secular moral theories, which grounded morality in the pleasing and useful consequences that result from our actions. He introduced the term "utility" into our moral vocabulary, and his theory is the immediate forerunner to the classic utilitarian views of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. He is famous for the position that we cannot derive ought from is; the view that statements of moral obligation cannot simply be deduced from statements of fact. Some see Hume as an early proponent of the emotivist metaethical view that moral judgments principally express our feelings. He also made important contributions to aesthetic theory with his view that there is a uniform standard of taste within human nature, in political theory with his critique of social contractarianism, and economic theory with his anti-mercantilist views. As a philosophical historian, he defended the conservative view that British governments are best run through a strong monarchy.

Jean-Pierre Godfroy

Chief Tech Officer bei Hoosnagh U.S.
Pulvis et umbra sumus. J.P. -> ardent blogger and philosopher.
Cruzarei os dedos por você. Ou como dizem no teatro: quebre a perna!

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Pulvis et umbra sumus. J.P. -> ardent blogger and philosopher. Cruzarei os dedos por você. Ou como dizem no teatro: quebre a perna!

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