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Hume's Use of His Characters in, Dialogues Concerning Natura

            David Hume never strayed from his strict empiricist views throughout his philosophy. This led him to the conclusion that all books on metaphysics and religion should be, "Commit to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion" (Morgan 15). His extreme conclusions left a very pessimistic view for the amount of knowledge humans can know. In his work, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he examines human being's capability in knowing the true nature of God. Rather than straightforwardly state his beliefs, he disguises them in dialog form. Hume's projects his beliefs on the speech of all three main characters; Cleanthes, Philo and Demea. He does not put his own position in to the view of one character alone, creating an interesting array of complementing and contradicting ideas. Hume's purpose is to refute the Argument from Design more completely, and to this end he skillfully balances his words among the protagonists. Through his characters he is able to portray his strict philosophical condemnations of reason, faith and the nature of a Christian God and also add insights without worrying about his own philosophical standards being questioned. .
             Hume was an empiricist and claimed that everything we know is rooted in sense experience. Hume did not agree with Descartes rationalist theories because of his extreme focus on sense experience. He sided with the empirical Newton's Method as a means to find the rules that govern man through the use of physical science. Hume believed matters of fact judgments can only be proved through the use of a posteriori arguments. In his book, the character Cleanthes directly conveys Hume's position on this subject. Cleanthes refutes Demea's claim of a first cause by saying, "There is an evident absurdity in pretending to demonstrate a matter of fact, or to prove it by any arguments a priori. Nothing is demonstrable unless the contrary implies a contradiction.

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