David Hume on the cosmological argument and the argument from design in the Dialogues: a systematic exposition
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In the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779), published a few years after his death, David Hume discusses the cosmological argument and the argument from design in dialogue form, allegedly because the subject matter is both very obvious and important but also very obscure and uncertain. Although the work is highly readable and entertaining in its current form, it is the aim of this paper to put the arguments regarding the cosmological argument and the argument from design that are presented in the Dialogues in a rather scattered and sometimes somewhat incomplete way into a systematic form, supplementing them where considered appropriate with arguments from other of his works or with my analysis of what certain missing arguments could be, so that their pros and cons can be assessed much more easily than they can from a reading of (a part or the whole of) the Dialogues in its current form. In doing so, it is hoped that the present paper may provide an illuminating view of what Hume has written on these matters, a useful addition to the field of the philosophy of religion, and perhaps even an enlightening introduction to Hume’s overall epistemology resp. philosophy.