Acknowledgements Abbreviations of Primary Texts Introduction Chapter 1: The `Proper Office of Religion' from Cicero to Hume Chapter 2: Genuine Theism Chapter 3: Moderate Hope Chapter 4: Practical Morality Chapter 5: The Religious Significance of Hume's True Religion Bibliography
Andre C. Willis is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University.
"As Willis impressively demonstrates, Hume was neither an atheist nor an opponent of all conceptions of religion. In detailing this unfurrowed truth throughout the work, Willis proves an insightful and potent guide through the mind of David Hume." --Jonathan Baddley, Reading Religion "[Willis] succeeds in his attempt to establish Hume as a constructive voice in dialogues about religion and in calling into question the belief that Hume was a thoroughgoing atheist." --J. H. Spence, Choice "With great acuity and originality, Willis does address the question of how Hume's thinking on religion might be made serviceable to our post-secular twenty-first-century culture in general, and a philosophically-informed study of religion in particular. In fact, this line of thought is well articulated in the first page of Willis's book and becomes again prominent in his insightful and challenging last chapter, 'A Humean true religion.' Willis' study is a must read for anyone who wants to know whether Hume might be a good philosophical guide to help such an Enlightened sense of piety to flourish." --Willem Lemmens, Journal of Scottish Philosophy "Hume's occasional praise of 'true religion' is often viewed as an ironic gesture of respect toward an empty set. In his new book, Andre Willis argues instead that such comments point to the possibility of an adaptive form of religious life that fosters moderation of the passions, ethical formation, and affective solidarity. Building constructively on Hume's broadly Ciceronian predilections, Willis defends a Humean notion of 'true religion' as a productive way forward for anti-foundationalist and post-metaphysical retrievals of 'religion.' Under Willis's deft and sympathetic treatment, Hume emerges as an important resource for those convinced that religiousness in some form is here to stay and hopeful that it can do so as a kind of natural piety. A refreshing and important contribution." --Jennifer Herdt, Yale Divinity School "Hume's repeated references to 'true religion' have rarely been taken seriously by philosophers, for whom he has been the paradigmatic religious skeptic. Of late, though, the thought that this may be an important mistake has been gaining traction. Andre Willis's book is the first sustained and comprehensive attempt to capitalize on this revolutionary idea. By exploring texts beyond the normal narrow compass of the Dialogues and the essay 'Of Miracles, ' Willis opens up the possibility of a far richer philosophical understanding of Hume on religion than the one that has been dominant for a century or more." --Gordon Graham, editor of Journal of Scottish Philosophy "Andre Willis's book is an original treatment and superb analysis of Hume's conception of 'true religion.' Willis's meticulous scholarship ranges across the magisterial corpus of the most profound and powerful philosopher in the English language. His synthetic perspective situates Hume's conception of 'true religion' within the context of Hume's quest for a science of human nature. His use of major figures such as Locke, Hutchinson, Descartes, Hobbes, Tindal, Toland, Grotius, and Lord Herbert to situate Hume's mitigated skepticism, attenuated naturalism, and classical humanism is quite persuasive. Willis's argument is highly nuanced, critically fair, and textually grounded. The writing is crystal clear, balanced, humble, assured, and honest. It is the kind of book that would make Hume smile from the grave, as if to say, 'Someone has got the gist of what I was about! And there is no greater satisfaction than this!'" --Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary