Hume's uses of dialogue

Clark, Sam (2013) Hume's uses of dialogue. Hume Studies, 39 (1). pp. 61-76. ISSN 0319-7336

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What does David Hume do with the dialogue form in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion? I pursue this question in the context of a partial taxonomy of uses for dialogue in philosophy in general, and distinguish uses out of playfulness; for self-concealment; to tame opponents; for self-effacement; for causal operation; for self-discovery; and for dramatising a political ideal. I argue for Hume’s use of the last two, and investigate the expressions of selfhood and politics which these uses reveal in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: the self is multiple; sociable pleasure in company is more important than winning arguments or gaining knowledge. These performative readings of Dialogues reveal Hume as aiming to transform our individual and collective self-understanding and action, and propose a more political engagement with his thought generally.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Hume Studies
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Date of acceptance: 19/09/2013
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10 Jun 2014 15:21
Last Modified:
15 Jan 2023 01:58