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Title: The broken brake. Hume and the “proper office of religion”
Authors: Mazza, Emilio
Keywords: David HumePhilosophical Essays concerning Human UnderstandingDialogues concerning natural ReligionHistory of Great BritainReligionMorality
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Emilio Mazza, "The broken brake. Hume and the 'proper office of religion'" in: "Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3", Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2018, pp. 261-317
Journal: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 
In the Dialogues concerning natural Religion, Cleanthes delineates the “proper office” of religion: “to regulate the heart of men, humanize their conduct, infuse the spirit of temperance, order, and obedience”. This view is adopted by Hume in some texts of the years 1755-56 and recalls that of the narrator in the philosophical essay “Of the Practical Consequences of Natural Religion” (1748): those who destroy religious prejudices “free Men from one Restraint upon their Passions, and make the Infringiment of the Laws of Equity and Society, in one Respect, more easy and secure”. Does Hume really believe it? Many Hume scholars take him seriously; the Philosophical Essays, the Dialogues and the History, their relations, possible sources, and readings, tell us that we can’t. Religion is not a restraint on our passions nor an enforcement of morality. The “proper office” of religion, rather than Hume’s belief, seems to be one of his attempts to soften the offensive treatment of religious beliefs and their consequences.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
DOI: 10.13137/1825-5167/22597
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2018) XX/3

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