Preface (Full Text, truncated)
- This edition of David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion attempts to provide an accurate reproduction of the handwritten manuscript housed in the National Library in Edinburgh.
- With the exception of minor grammatical changes, (e.g. "tis' to ‘it Is’, 'which' to 'that'), all Hume's revisions are included. Hume's editorial changes are indicated in the text by the use of footnotes, and, in the case of word or phrase substitutions, both the deleted and the added text are given. Major additions to the text are noted by the use of two asterisks at the beginning and end of the added passage, and by a footnote giving Hume's directions for insertion. Hume's own footnotes are printed in italics. The original punctuation has been retained throughout; in most cases, though, spelling has been modernized and his general capitalization of nouns has been omitted. Hume uses Arabic numbers in his text for numbering the twelve Parts, and this style has been retained in this edition in the text of the Dialogues and in the Introduction.
- The Introduction contains an interpretation of the Dialogues which I first began developing in a number of published papers, and in my Scepticism and Belief in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Kluwer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 1986). The current study of the Dialogues differs from this earlier work in a number of significant ways. Whereas the earlier book confined itself to a detailed analysis of Parts 1 through 8 and 12 (Cleanthes' Argument from Design and Philo's criticisms of this argument), this Introduction provides an analysis of all twelve parts of the Dialogues. Furthermore, whereas Scepticism and Belief attempted to relate the Dialogues to Hume's treatment of natural belief in the Treatise of Human Nature and to his discussion of 'scepticism' in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, the current study omits entirely the treatment of natural belief, and deals only briefly with the material in the first Enquiry on scepticism. I continue to believe in the importance of the ‘natural belief’ doctrine in the Treatise and of Hume's analysis of sceptism in the first Enquiry to a full understanding of Parts 1 through 8 and 12 of the Dialogues. However, since I have previously recorded my thoughts on these matters, I can only recommend that the reader consult my Scepticism and Belief for a more detailed account than I am able to offer here of Hume's treatment of Cleanthes' Argument from Design. Kluwer has been highly supportive of my work on Hume: I would like to thank the publishers tor their encouragement in regard to this edition of the Dialogues.
- In addition to the text of the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and an Introduction, this volume contains a number of articles which should assist the reader in understanding the debate in the Dialogues. These papers were originally presented as a symposium at the Edinburgh Hume Conference, 25-30 August 1986, and subsequently appeared in Hume Studies, 13, 1987. An extensive bibliography is also included.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)