Talk:David Hume

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Former good article David Hume was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

The design argument[edit]

Part of this section sounds opinionated, the phrase “many are convinced Hume killed the argument for good” uses a weasel word and makes it POV, I think it’s enough to leave it as a classical criticism, I’m going to cut out the “and though the…argument for good.” Part.

Gender views[edit]

Hume had some pretty outrageous views on gender and women, I didn't find anything about that in the article. It might be a good idea to include, if nothing else then to show how one perhaps shouldn't accept Everything a 'great mind' says... (also I believe he does generalize and go against his own is-ought rules there, when saying that because women are made to feel shame, society ought to keep making women feel shameful)

That is from the section on chastity, isn't it? Hume didn't violate the is-ought rule there; he was describing an "is" and not an "ought". He was talking about why it is that all human societies levy such a stigma on flirtarious women. He said that men get very possessive about their property and don't like to think that a child may not be their own, so they expect women to be modest and reserved. I think that was a reasonable explanation. You may disagree, but I don't see how it's outrageous.
Exactly. Hume was using his moral psychology to explain observable social phenomena. It's called A Treatise of Human Nature for a reason.

induction not evolutionary[edit]

The claim at the end of the problem of induction section that

"This is the closest thing possible during his (pre-Darwinian) time to an evolutionary account of our inductive tendencies, and Hume here has lit on a central feature in any properly atheistic Science of Man, placing him firmly in the naturalist tradition of great thinkers."

seems to be POV espescially without a source It is also innaccurate as it seems to suggest some innate ideas about induction which contradicts hume's blank slate idea of the mind. We may well read evolution into his account and he probably would have too had he known of it but there's no indication that this occurred to him.

Read Early History[edit]

Just read the earliest history, from Caesar on. While Hume does a great deal of analysis, a lot of it is poorly written from a 21st century pov. A terrible bigot. Doesn't really stand the test of time, IMO. Student7 (talk) 01:56, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Suggest reading some of this history. There is nothing subtle about it. He is no Edward Gibbon. Don't understand all the philosophical airs bestowed on Hume. He is obviously well-read for his time, just simply a bigot and when there is no one around to blame for a king's failure (or even when there is), clerics are blamed. (like Gibbon) The phrase "clerics are not anti-clerical" did not make sense to me. That may be true, but Hume was not a cleric, nor a Presbyterian, nor any of the rest of the "antis" either. Student7 (talk) 21:58, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
An editor has politely asked me to erase the above.
I just happened to be reading "The History of England, Volume 1." Probably downloaded from Doubtless there are other sites. While it demonstrates scholarship (he had to read a lot of books), it doesn't seem to demonstrate common sense.
As an example, I am also reading a book by Plutarch summarizing the ideas of famous ancients about cosmology. The results are mostly laughable since they include manifest guesswork with legends about gods and no decent instruments for recording ephemeris. Plutarch's scholarship problem is he felt he had to include everybody. Herodotus had the same problem with his history.
Anyway, by Hume's time, scholars had more sense. Hume tries to reconcile ancient myths with each other, Bede, Anglo Saxon Chronicles, etc. The results are often nonsense. Okay, he was writing 25 years before Gibbon, so maybe scholarship improved a lot during that time.
This Wikipedia article appears awestruck at Hume's wisdom. I don't agree with Gibbon either but at least he made the attempt to get his facts straight. Hume doesn't have the references that Gibbon did for his subject but uses them anyway. The results are less than profound.
Today, Gibbon is widely read. I doubt than anyone would recommend, except for laughs, Hume's History any more than Plutarch's summary. Herodotus is at least fun to read!
My point on improving the article is questioning the material more seriously than it apparently has been. No reader of the History by Hume can come away "impressed" with his scholarship today. Maybe in 1760, but that is different.
Some of the footnotes are revealing.
I did not wish to become an article editor and was just recording my opinion of the work thus far. A presumably involved editor objected. Student7 (talk) 21:47, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
You introduced the words "ant-Catholic and anti-clerical" with the edit note "As historian of England: anti-Catholic. But then, so was everybody". I reverted the edit and questioned your justification, because not everyone was anti-Catholic (especially Catholics). I also added that clerics were not anticlerical to question why you said H was anti-clerical. (I assumed you thought everyone was, like everyone was anti-Catholic). I see now you have added "anti-Christian", with a citation from the Catholic church, but left out the anti-clerical. There should really be a citation to justify the otherepithets in that sentence - unless the Wertz reference is meant to do all that. I, and I see others, do find your style of writing here very odd for (as you have been called) "a seasoned editor." Myrvin (talk) 12:24, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I cannot see why these 4 paragraphs in quite a long article make you say that the entire article is "awestruck at Hume's wisdom". The historian section reads to me to be reasonably neutral, but it could probably do with a few more citations. It doesn't say people should read him as a historian, nor says the histories stands the test of time. Your response seems to be completely OTT. If there is good reason to criticise him as a historian, then that could be done with relevant references. The article as a whole seems much more concerned with his philosophy. Ah! But you say "Don't understand all the philosophical airs bestowed on Hume". Myrvin (talk) 12:47, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
Student7 I asked you to remove your personal opinions on Hume ("a terrible bigot", "doesn't really stand the test of time") as they have no place on this talk page (as clearly laid out in WP:NOTOPINION). Frankly I'm surprised you would fall into the old trap of judging historical figures based on 21st century POV's. It almost seems you have a personal agenda against Hume for some reason. He has always been a lightning rod for criticism but it's always a bit of a surprise to find it materializing again in 2013. Some first rate thinkers (e.g. Kant & Schopenhauer) referred to him as the best mind of his time. Again, please remove all personal opinion and leave your suggestions on article improvement. Thanks in advance. ~ Alcmaeonid (talk) 15:47, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
Who's judging? You've rm an existing citation listing his biases, which were rather lengthy. I admit that he is not worth considering further. I'm not going to argue that a bad scholar is a bad scholar. Let someone else try reading him and arrive at a different conclusion. Student7 (talk) 17:18, 9 July 2013 (UTC)
The only opinions that matters regarding his level of scholarship are the ones that can be found in reliable secondary sources. As such your opinion voiced here, or anyone else who have "tried reading him" is of no relevance to this article. Please refrain from using this page or any other talk pages on Wikipedia to voice your personal likes and dislikes as per WP:NOTFORUM. Thanks. --Saddhiyama (talk) 18:38, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Character flaw does not necessarily make an individual less brilliant and their contributions less significant. "A terrible bigot" or not does not lessen the impact Hume has had. Attacking his character accordingly seems more of an attempt to discredit him for personal reason, and is clearly biased. However, it does mirror his career as dictated on his page; marred by his tarnished reputation as an Atheist. Haters are going to hate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JCTramirez (talkcontribs) 05:24, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Invalid citation[edit]

In the section Religion, I found these two propositions attributed to the same citation, viz., Hume's Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion "Hume asserts that god exists beyond doubt" and "Hume asserts that the nature of god can neither be confirmed nor denied". In fact, the first statement seems to derive from the understanding of the personae Demea and Cleanthes at page 41 that no-one in his right mind would question the existence of God—a healthy and pragmatic position from a 17th-century viewpoint; and the second is the view of Demea that [the nature of God is] "altogether incomprehensible and unknown to us." Neither of the propositions has the status of an assertion by Hume. It is in the nature of a dialogue that contrary propositions are canvassed. Some following opinions lacked justification, necessitating deletion of them, too. Bjenks (talk) 09:34, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Religion Section[edit]

Why isn't there more talk about Hume's religious views? His contributions to religion have an important significance, especially to the debate on God. In the world today we believe that religion is based on cause and effect. God is the cause but David Hume assumed that the causation is actually unknowable & that we do not know if there is a God. He essentially says that you can't prove or disprove that there is a God and that this complex idea of God is created in our mind. I believe that David Hume's contributions are important for modern times because there are a lot more people today who would agree with his philosophy on religion. I, myself, find this guy to be very interesting and would love to learn more about his views.

It is also important to mention within the religion section his works from "Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion", which was one of his more important reflections. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree there could be more. Now's your chance. You've seen a gap in the article; you know about the sources; you should write the section. I suggest that the general works on religion go in the Thought part, somewhere before (or including) his miracles piece. The Religion section is meant to be about his personal religious views. Go for it! Myrvin (talk) 18:58, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I've even started it for you. Myrvin (talk) 19:10, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

From reading the last part of the religion section, it seems like David Hume had a real sense of humor. I would almost think his page could have a section dedicated to his character, as he seems like a really personable guy! — Preceding unsigned comment added by JasonTCole (talkcontribs) 20:30, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:David Hume/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Mics 777 (talk · contribs) 23:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Beginning review now. Mics 777 (talk) 23:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

GA review
(see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
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  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): Symbol support vote.svg
    b (focused): Symbol support vote.svg
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias: Symbol support vote.svg
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.: Symbol support vote.svg
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
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There are too many run on sentences in the article. THe punctuation in quotations needs to be fixed--the quotation mark goes after the period. There are several assertions that need to be backed up with references. Overall, it's a good article on a very tricky topic--Hume is no lightweight--, but it needs a few corrections.

Some of the paragraphs ought to be broken up into multiple paragraphs, in my opinion. It will appear more focused and be easier to read.

Mics 777 (talk) 00:55, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks very much for the review. I will get onto it ASAP. However, I have reverted your change of 'parcelled' to 'parceled' - UK English uses the double L. Myrvin (talk) 06:38, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
I have split several long paragraphs and done all the punctuation / quotes I can find. There are an awful lot of, what WP:MOSLQ calls, fragments, which I have left. I'm afraid I don't agree with your change to put capital letters in liberty and necessity. These words are not in a quotation but in WP's voice, so capitalizing nouns is not necessary. I shall look at the long sentences and uncited assertions - although I have done many of the latter. Myrvin (talk) 09:43, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
I think I've finished everything now. Please look at the article again. Myrvin (talk) 19:28, 7 August 2014 (UTC)


I removed this from Career:

In this work, Hume presented the political person as a creature of habit, with a disposition to submit quietly to established government unless confronted by uncertain circumstances. In his view, only religious difference could deflect people from their everyday lives to think about political matters.

I can't find the idea anywhere. Myrvin (talk) 17:59, 7 August 2014 (UTC)