Hume – “A wise man …”

David HumeScottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) was a strong proponent of skepticism and empiricism. This quote, from An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, summarizes his argument that it is unreasonable to believe testimonies of alleged miraculous events, and he hints, accordingly, that we should reject religions that are founded on miracle testimonies. Though not secular, he did conclude that religous belief is grounded in human psychology,  not divine revelation nor rational argument.

Disdainful of both natural and revealed religious belief, he also eschewed rational argument, thinking reason to be a “slave of the passions”. A pioneer of concepts leading to cognitive science, Hume was cited as a major influence by Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Popper. More on David Hume