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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical thought at its best, 27 Mar 2007
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Room For A View - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On Suicide (Penguin Great Ideas) (Paperback)
In Of Suicide Hume attacks ecclesiastical authority, its dogma and prejudices, by aiming his criticism at the moral objectors to suicide who adhere to the sanctity-of-life argument. This position opposes suicide on the grounds that to take one's life is a transgression of an individual's duty to God. In response Hume argues that no part of the universe is free from divine providence so committing suicide does not transgress our duty to God. Hume uses philosophical argument to cut through the `pestilent distemper' of institutional religion. He offers the reader a reasonable theological perspective based on a benevolent God who is duly accountable for all of space and time, every action being `important in the eyes of that infinite being'. This view, an important factor throughout the essay, is a direct attack on theological doctrine, which considered human action to be outside of divine providence, as did Rousseau. Although I consider Hume's argument in the essay to be a good one, there remains the problem of evil. I suggest, however, that if we agree with Hume's deist stance, particularly that God created the best of all possible worlds with no further need for divine intervention, then evil is as much part of human actions as goodness. And as we cannot know the purpose of God's creation beyond `sympathy, harmony, and proportion', we can only conclude that evil, or for that matter a terrible earthquake, has some part to play in God's plan regardless of how cruel and contradictory this appears to be. In Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding (1748), referring to `all the actions of men', Hume states to `free the Deity from being the author of sin, has been found ... to exceed all the power of philosophy'.
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On Suicide (Penguin Great Ideas)
On Suicide (Penguin Great Ideas) by David Hume (Paperback - 25 Aug 2005)
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