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Hume's uses of dialogue

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Hume Studies
Issue number1
Volume39
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)61-76
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

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.

Bibliographic note

Date of acceptance: 19/09/2013