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Hume Studies Volume XXI, Number 2, November 1995, pp. 351-354 J.J. MACINTOSH and H.A. MEYNELL, eds., Faith, Scepticism & Personal Identity: A Festschrift for Terence Penelhum. University of Calgary Press, 1994. xviii + 304. $27.95 paper This substantial collection of essays reflects Terence Penelhum's distinguished contribution to several related fields of philosophy. The essays fall into three sections: "Philosophy of Religion," "Hume Studies" and "Identity and the Self." The contributors include several prominent thinkers in the relevant fields. Those who have contributed to the section on Hume's philosophy are Annette Baier, Alasdair Maclntyre, Antony Flew, and David Fate Norton. Baier's essay offers an analysis and interpretation of Hume's Natural History of Religion—an important but rather neglected work. Baier suggests that NHR is "an attempt to see what happens when we direct upon religion the very forces that it expresses" (62). Hume's "meta-religious meditations," she argues, turn us from questions concerning the causes of the universe, to questions concerning the causes of human beliefs about the (invisible) universe-cause; they express not fear of an "incompletely known super-human power," but rather "fear of the power of religious fears"; and they suggest "hope that our hopes can be redirected to an end to religious intolerance and religious wars" (65 and cp. 74). Her discussion concludes with an especially interesting description of Hume's "meta-piety"—the show of "proper respect for the only partially understood forces that drive people to ordinary piety" (79). Hume expresses due meta-piety by his "serious concerns about the dangerous force of religious conviction as it is normally found" (79). To overcome these dangers we need more than strength of understanding. A "true reflective religious attitude," Baier reads Hume as saying, requires that strength of understanding "will be accompanied by calm passions if the worst evils of religion are to be avoided" (80). Specifically, it demands a "calm hope; calm, informed, but also ignorance-admitting curiosity; and, where necessary, due fear; all taking as their object religion as it has more commonly been found in the world" (81). Penelhum notes that Baier's paper "is full of detailed insights and fills a real gap in the literature" (251). He emphasizes the point, however, that Hume's effort at "religious self-knowledge" does not imply that Hume himself had "the religious motives being scrutinized" (252). Baier's paper on NHR is evidently sympathetic with the general project in that work. Commentators have not always been so kind. For example, Rev. William Warburton tried to have Hume's work suppressed on the ground that the "design" of this work is "to establish naturalism, a species of atheism, instead of religion." (For details, see Mossner, Life of Hume, 325-26.) Alasdair Volume XXI, Number 2, November 1995 352 Book Reviews Maclntyre's contribution to this Festschrift, while not concerned with NHR, shares Warburton's assessment of the significance of Hume's naturalism for matters of religion. The central thread of Maclntyre's piece is an attack on the philosophy of science which, he claims, lies behind Hume's arguments against (belief in) miracles. Hume's empiricism commits him to the view that we never have adequate reason for accepting that a miracle has occurred on the basis of testimony. However, Maclntyre points out that Hume also maintains a naturalism that suggests that for every event that occurs there is a natural law (i.e., some relevant regularity) that explains it. If science is founded on naturalism of this kind, then, says Maclntyre, "science leaves no place for the miraculous" (92). The final section of Maclntyre's paper is devoted to sketching an alternative view of philosophy of science that is "able to do justice both to the powers and regularities of the natural order and to the occurrence of miracles" (96-99). In response, Penelhum agrees that Hume is committed to the naturalistic argument and he agrees that this argument should be rejected. However, Penelhum sides with Flew's "more conservative reading" (against Maclntyre) in holding that Hume does not rely on the naturalistic argument in the miracles section of the Enquiry. The basic issue raised in Maclntyre's paper...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
pp. 351-354
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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