Analysis of Diaglogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume

1439 words 6 pages
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Professor Nelson
Philosophical Perspectives
12 October 2012
Writing Assignment #1 Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume is a philosophical piece concerning the existence of God. Arguments for and against the existence of God are portrayed in dialogue through three characters; Demea, Cleanthes, and Philo. All three agree that God exists, but they drastically differ in their opinions of God’s attributes or characteristics, and if man can understand God. The characters debate such topics as the design and whether there is more suffering or good in the world. It is a very common view among philosophers that Philo most represents Hume’s own views. Philo doesn’t go as far as denying the existence of God but
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Philo states that instead of pain, humans experienced different levels of pleasure. Things that are good for us would cause pleasure and actions that are bad for us cause a lessening of that pleasure. This way, when the pleasure went away we would realize we were doing something wrong, and we would therefore stop this action. This relates to the old questions in a sense that, an all good all powerful God would not want to create pain and would be able to create a world without pain.
The second source of misery is the general laws. Essentially, Philo believes that in necessary situations, it would make sense for God to suspend laws of physics or any other general law. For example, if a bullet was heading right toward a small child, God could make the bullet vanish into thin air. Since God does not do this, Philo stirs up the notion that God is either not able to or he is not all good.
The third source of misery in the world is the limited abilities of every species. God only gave species what they need to survive but not what they need to thrive, or even be constantly comfortable. God gave certain humans different attributes than others, which allow some to succeed much more easily than others. The point is that good God would not be unjust and unfair and specifically create some human superior to others.
Lastly, the fourth source of