A great deals of the work of David Hume was concerned with Religion, its cause, its effects, and the reasons for religious belief, and his views on the subject are widely spread through his writings. In these lectures an attempt is made to draw together the most powerful elements of his thought about religion and present them as a systematically constructed whole. Hume was not without his blind spots-as emerges particularly in the third lecture- bur nevertheless his case, taken as a whole, amounts to a very serious indictment, not of religion as such, but of most actual religions both past and present.
This small volume brings together the three lectures delivered at the Institute by Dr. Edward Craig during August and September 1996 when he was with us as Visiting Professor. David Hume, as we know, is one of the most exiting philosophers of modern West, and has been an abiding influence on the course of European thought for the last 200 years and more. Although Hume's views on problems in the areas of philosophy of mind have fairly widely discussed in the academic philosophy of our country, there has not been as much attention paid to his views on religion. But Hume on religion is just as important and absorbing as Hume on knowledge, or causality or personal identity. Dr. Craig's lectures combine, in their easy-going and charming manner of presentation, subtle and authoritative scholarship with the highest rigour of philosophical argumentation. It will not be surprising at all if this book proves to be the stimulus for the awakening of a serious interest in Hume's writings on religion-an awakening which may be of great value especially in view of the enormous importance that the topic of religion has acquired in the present time, both in India and globally.
This booklet contains the text of three lectures delivered at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study during the author's tenure of a Visiting Professorship there in August and September 1996. My warmest thanks go to the Director of the Institute, Professor Mrinal Miri, for his help in bringing this about; also to him and his wife, Professor Sujata Miri, and to numerous Fellows and Associates of the Institute, for making these four short weeks so interesting, instructive and enjoyable.
About the Author
Edward Craig is the reader in Modern Philosophy in the University of Cambridge, He has held visiting appointments at the University of Hamburg, Heidelberg, Melbourne and Lublin, and the Visiting Professorship at the Indian Institute of Advanced study which was the occasion for the lectures published here. He works on the history of philosophy in the modern period, and on the theory of knowledge. His main publications are David Hume: eine Einfubrung in seine Philosophie, the Mind of God and the Works of Man and knowledge and the state of Nature. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1993.
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