November 11, 2008

A god(lessness)-intoxicated man?

I could wish your friend had not denominated me an infidel writer, on account of ten or twelve pages which seem to him to have that tendency: while I have wrote so many volumes on history, literature, politics, trade, morals, which, in that particular at least, are entirely inoffensive. Is a man to be called a drunkard, because he has been seen fuddled once in his lifetime?

-- Hume, in a letter (circa 1761); reprinted in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Peter Millican.

... We may notice that the force of the argument is the same inadequacy of reasoning from a limited effect to a more general cause, which Hume typically deployed against religious dogma. The irony must have amused him.