Hume on Church Establishments, Secular Politics and History

Main Article Content

Aaron Szymkowiak

Abstract

In the third volume of the History of England, David Hume considers the political ramifications of the Protestant reformation with a “Digression concerning the ecclesiastical state.” He advocates the establishment of a state church, believing it will dampen religious “enthusiasm” in the polity. Unlike later secularization theorists, Hume assumes an intractable basis for religion in the human passions. Tensions in Hume’s “cooptation” strategy are evident from Adam Smith’s famous attack upon it in section five of The Wealth of Nations, and in Hume’s own treatment of seventeenth century independency in the fifth volume of the History. Smith argues that public competition among sects facilitates political moderation. In History V Hume stresses the positive role of enthusiasm in fostering civil liberty. This article traces Hume’s indecision to his “external” mode of moral and historical analysis, arguing that a secular policy on religion cannot proceed fruitfully without engaging the theological particulars of the religions at issue.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Szymkowiak, Aaron. 2018. “Hume on Church Establishments, Secular Politics and History”. Diametros 54 (54):95-117. https://doi.org/10.13153/diam.54.2017.1135.
Section
Special Issue "Enlightenment and Secularism"
Author Biography

Aaron Szymkowiak, Xavier University

Dr. Aaron Szymkowiak
Associate Professor
Philosophy Department
Xavier University
ML 4443
222 Hinkle Hall, Ohio
USA

E-mail: szymkowiak@xavier.edu

Share |

References

Bowles P. (1985), “The Origin of Property and the Development of Scottish Historical Science,” Journal of the History of Ideas 46: 197–210.
View in Google Scholar

Broadie A. (2001), The Scottish Enlightenment: The Historical Age of the Historical Nation, Birlinn, Edinburgh.
View in Google Scholar

Carrasco M.A. (2011), “Hutcheson, Smith, and Utilitarianism,” Review of Metaphysics 64 (3): 515–553.
View in Google Scholar

Chalmers T. (1827), On the Use and Abuse of Literary and Ecclesiastical Endowments, Collins and Co., Glasgow.
View in Google Scholar

Conti G. (2015), “Hume’s Low Road to Toleration,” History of Political Thought 36 (1): 165–191.
View in Google Scholar

Dees R.H. (2005), “The Paradoxical Principle and Salutary Practice: Hume on Toleration,” Hume Studies 31 (1): 145–164.
View in Google Scholar

Emerson R.L. (1997), “Hume and the Bellman, Zerobabel MacGilchrist,” Hume Studies 23 (1): 9–28.
View in Google Scholar

Forbes D. (1975), Hume’s Philosophical Politics, Cambridge University Press, New York.
View in Google Scholar

Garrett D. (2012), “What’s True about Hume’s ‘True Religion’?” Journal of Scottish Philosophy 10 (2): 199–220.
View in Google Scholar

Gaskin J.C.A. (1978), Hume’s Philosophy of Religion, Barnes & Noble, New York.
View in Google Scholar

Harris J.A. (2015), Hume: An Intellectual Biography, Cambridge University Press, New York.
View in Google Scholar

Herdt J. (1995), “Opposite Sentiments: Hume’s Fear of Faction and the Philosophy of Religion,” American Journal of Theology & Philosophy 16 (3): 245–259.
View in Google Scholar

Herdt J. (1997), Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, New York.
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (1983), The History of England: From the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688, Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [H]
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (1998), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, T.L. Beauchamp (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. [EPM]
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (1999), An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, T.L. Beauchamp (ed.), Oxford University Press, New York. [EHU]
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (2008), Principal Writings on Religion, Including Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion, J.C.A. Gaskin (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford. [DNR and NHR]
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (1987), Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, E.F. Miller (ed.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [EMPL]
View in Google Scholar

Hume D. (2000), A Treatise of Human Nature, D.F. and M.J. Norton (eds.), Oxford University Press, New York. [T]
View in Google Scholar

Kennedy G. (2013), “Adam Smith on Religion,” [in:] Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 464–484.
View in Google Scholar

Marusic J. S. (2012), “Refuting the Whole System? Hume’s Attack on Popular Religion in ‘The Natural History of Religion,’” Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249): 715–736.
View in Google Scholar

Plato (1991), The Republic, trans. A. Bloom, Basic Books.
View in Google Scholar

Pocock J.G.A. (2006), “Adam Smith and History,” [in:] The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 270–287.
View in Google Scholar

Sabl A. (2009), “The Last Artificial Virtue: Hume on Toleration and Its Lessons,” Political Theory 37 (4): 511–538.
View in Google Scholar

Sabl A. (2012), Hume’s Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
View in Google Scholar

Smith A. (1981), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, R.H. Campbell, A.S. Skinner, W.B. Todd (eds.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [WN]
View in Google Scholar

Smith A. (1982), The Theory of Moral Sentiments, D.D. Raphael, A.L. Macfie (eds.), Liberty Classics, Indianapolis. [TMS]
View in Google Scholar

Stewart M.A. (1997), “Hume’s ‘Bellmen’s Petition’: The Original Text,” Hume Studies 23 (1): 3–7.
View in Google Scholar

Trevor-Roper H.R., Robertson J. (2010), History and the Enlightenment, Yale University Press, New Haven.
View in Google Scholar

Waterman A.M.C. (1991), Revolution, Economics, and Religion: Christian Political Economy, 1798–1833, Cambridge University Press, New York.
View in Google Scholar

Whelan F.G. (2004), Hume and Machiavelli: Political Realism and Liberal Thought, Lexington Books, Lanham, MD.
View in Google Scholar

Willis A.C. (2015), “The Potential Use-Value of Hume’s ‘True Religion,’” Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (1): 1–15.
View in Google Scholar

Yandell K.E. (1990), Hume’s “Inexplicable Mystery”: His Views on Religion, Temple University Press, Philadelphia.
View in Google Scholar