Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Wright, John P.,






Though the relation between religion and morality is mentioned in almost every major work Hume wrote, he never dedicated a work to examining this relation. Moreover, his treatment of the subject, where it does appear, is unsystematic. Unfortunately, looking to the secondary literature for help in understanding Hume's thought on the relation between religion and morality is of little help, since past writers have largely neglected this area of Hume's thought. The purpose of this thesis, therefore, is to systematize Hume's thought on the relation between religion and morality. In my introduction I begin with a brief presentation of the historical context in which Hume's comments on this subject were made. This aids in understanding Hume by illustrating the types of views that he was responding to. I also examine the secondary literature that has been written on Hume and his views concerning religion and morality in order to show what has been written and what sort of work still needs to be done. The core of this thesis is dedicated to systematizing Hume's thought on religion and morality. I argue that all of Hume's main claims about religion and its relation to morality support at least one of three major conclusions: (1) that morality is secular, (2) that religion cannot be the foundation for morality and (3) that religion is pernicious to morality. A chapter is dedicated to each of these topics. Lastly, I address the issue of whether or not Hume believed in a true religion. The answer to this question is essential in evaluating just how injurious Hume's comments about religion are. I argue that Hume did not believe that there can be a true religion.Dept. of Philosophy. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1996 .M93. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0077. Adviser: John P. Wright. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1996.