An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding was written by Scottish naturalist philosopher David Hume and published in 1748. The work is a significant reworking of the early parts of Hume’s 1737 Treatise on Human Nature, which had received a reception that Hume found underwhelming. In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Hume builds upon the empirical philosophy of John Locke and George Berkeley, and attacks the metaphysical rationalism of René Descartes and others. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is decidedly a book about epistemology and not about metaphysics. That is, Hume is concerned about what and how we know, and not at all about what is actually the case.

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779)

In the posthumously-published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume, a well-known atheist, explores whether religious belief can be rational. Because Hume is an empiricist (one who thinks that all knowledge comes through experience) he thinks that a belief is rational only if it is sufficiently supported by experiential evidence. Thus, the question boils down to whether there enough evidence in the world to allow us to infer an infinitely good, wise, powerful, perfect God.