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Thu, 11 May


Room 10A, Inst. of Religious Studies, UJ

Lecture by Gianenrico Paganini (Università del Piemonte Orientale)

Hume on Hypotheses and Enlightenment Epistemology of Religion

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Lecture by Gianenrico Paganini (Università del Piemonte Orientale)
Lecture by Gianenrico Paganini (Università del Piemonte Orientale)

Time & Location

11 May 2023, 17:00 – 19:00 CEST

Room 10A, Inst. of Religious Studies, UJ, Grodzka 52/54, 31-044 Kraków, Poland

About the Event


The experimental theist Cleanthes and the skeptical Philo in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Epicurus in the oration of the First Enquiry, deal all with the same problem and endorse the same epistemology. Both the method and the argument come from Newton’s Principia: the former derives from the famous regulae philosophandi and the argument from the Scholium generale appended to the third book of the Principia. Not only the theologians of the Boyle lectures, but Newton himself, in the Scholium generale, had established a close connection between the use of induction, the rejection of hypotheses, the argument from of design or final causes, and the conception of a "living, intelligent, powerful being”, that governs the world as a Lord. It is notable that Newton did not hesitate to include God among the objects of “natural philosophy”. The Dialogues represent a challenge to this “experimental theism” inspired by Newton, but also they aim at rehabilitating the function of hypotheses, against Newton’s famous veto, albeit in a new form that is compatible with the scepticism endorsed by the protagonist of the work, Philo. This new reading of the Dialogues centred on Philo’s “hypotheticism” also sheds more light on the meaning and scope of the work.

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