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Thanks Grumpy! I'm now very interested in reading Hume, which I have never done.

I've never actually read him, as I haven't actually read most philosophers. My view of him was formed in a philosophy survey class in college. Well, I guess maybe we read some excerpts of the actual works, but I don't remember. But what I remember, which may or may not be accurate, is that Hume was said to have asserted that we couldn't actually prove that any one even causes another; all we can say is that one follows the other. I thought that was irrefutable and concluded that studying philosophy was not the way to go.

"Hume has done more for my faith than many of the theologians who have starred in the 52 Authors series. Even though our starring theologians have all been ‘greats,’ I have to confess that Hume has done more for me, in freeing me from my own spiritual sluggishness."

That's quite a testimony, Grumpy.

That made for an interesting read: Hume as an antidote to natural theology. Where does Elizabeth Anscombe say he's a bad man?

I really only know Hume first-hand from his History of England, where he comes across as opinionated, self-complacent and incredibly unimaginative. He may be a brilliant philosopher, but he's a rubbish historian!

I think I like his idea that belief is the basis of ratiocination.

I'm intrigued by that opening re Christian conservatives and Hume. I don't really know enough to ask an intelligent question. But I'll hazard a guess, based on the meagre experience I mentioned above, that it has to do with seeing Hume as an extreme skeptic: yes, he subverted rationalism, but not to the encouragement of theism.

Last year I was listening to a philosophy podcast in which the hosts polled several dozen Anglosphere philosophers with the question, "Who is your favourite philosopher?" The most frequent answer was "David Hume". I was a little surprised by that.

I've only read a little of Hume. I usually think of him as the most consistent empiricist, even to the point of absurdity (for example, his denial that we can make justified claims about causality).

In sloppy accounts of philosophy it is sometimes said that he argued (or "showed") that miracles are impossible. I think in reality he argued that we can have no adequate warrant for *belief* in miracles. Either way, he cut the feet out from under the kind of rationalistic approach to faith that Grumpy described.

For this reason he is often seen as a foe of religion, and of Christianity in particular. I myself have never thought of him in a particularly positive light, and I'm intrigued that Grumpy sees him that way. This was a very interesting entry in the series. Thanks, Grumpy.

If "all reasoning rests on belief", then in what does the praeambula fidei consist? Not rational argumentation to "lay the groundwork" for faith? Should we think of it instead as a kind of education of our sensibilities, a "baptism of imagination", an aesthetic or moral project, or maybe merely the clearing away of misconceptions that would impair reception of faith? I'm genuinely interested in this question.

That is a very interesting question to me as well, Craig. This article by P.H. Reardon has been immensely helpful to me in trying to answer it. I have a tape of the lecture on which it's based, which I've listened to numerous times.


(By the way, I had Fr. Reardon for intro to philosophy in college. Challenging but amazing class. At the time I was still an Evangelical, and did not know he was an Orthodox priest until several weeks into the class. Three years later he was my catechist. God can be mischievous, can't He?)

That looks like a great article. Not sure when I'll get a chance to read it. Sad to say, there's a good chance that I already have, as I think I was already subscribing to Touchstone when it came out, but I don't remember it. Reardon is excellent (understatement). Yeah, that is pretty mischievous.

Thanks for that link, Rob. I'll be sure to read it -- probably after Christmas.

I will be offline until 12/26, so I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas!

Thank you, and the same to you, and everyone. I won't be online very much for the next several days, either.

Merry Christmas to Mac and all his readers!

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Tonight for the first time in about 16 years, I am going to be singing for Midnight Mass with a good big choir. I am so excited. There is something about weaving my little alto part in and out of the melody that reminds me of the charity of Heaven.

I just hope I can find a cup of coffee for my hour-long drive home. ;-)


Sounds great, Janet!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Merry Christmas to all.

52 authors post probably won't be up till Tuesday evening.
Stay tuned--it's a good finale.

Looking forward to it!

Aristotle and Thomas never spoke of a principle of Causality

Those guys spoke of causes

The principle of causality is rationalist guff and Hume was on to something

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