In particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional religious belief. The cognitive application of freethought is known as freethinking, and practitioners of freethought are known as freethinkers, the term first came into use in the 17th century in order to indicate people who inquired into the basis of traditional religious beliefs. Freethinkers hold that knowledge should be grounded in facts, scientific inquiry, the skeptical application of science implies freedom from the intellectually limiting effects of confirmation bias, cognitive bias, conventional wisdom, popular culture, prejudice, or sectarianism. The essay became a cry for freethinkers when published in the 1870s. Clifford was himself an organizer of freethought gatherings, the force behind the Congress of Liberal Thinkers held in 1878. Regarding religion, freethinkers hold that there is insufficient evidence to support the existence of supernatural phenomena. According to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, to the freethinker and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.
And Freethinkers are convinced that religious claims have not withstood the tests of reason, not only is there nothing to be gained by believing an untruth, but there is everything to lose when we sacrifice the indispensable tool of reason on the altar of superstition. Most freethinkers consider religion to be not only untrue, but harmful, philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote the following in his 1944 essay The Value of Free Thought, What makes a freethinker is not his beliefs but the way in which he holds them. To be worthy of the name, he must be free of two things, the force of tradition, and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is free from either, but in the measure of a mans emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker. On the other hand, according to Bertrand Russell, atheists and/or agnostics are not necessarily freethinkers. As an example, he mentions Stalin, whom he compares to a pope, what I am concerned with is the doctrine of the modern Communistic Party, and of the Russian Government to which it owes allegiance.
In the 18th and 19th century, many regarded as freethinkers were deists. In the 18th century, deism was as much of a dirty word as atheism, deists today regard themselves as freethinkers, but are now arguably less prominent in the freethought movement than atheists. The pansy serves as the long-established and enduring symbol of freethought, the reasoning behind the pansy as the symbol of freethought lies both in the flowers name and in its appearance. The pansy derives its name from the French word pensée, which means thought and it allegedly received this name because the flower is perceived by some to bear resemblance to a human face, and in mid-to-late summer it nods forward as if deep in thought. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed, Do What Thou Wilt, when Rabelaiss hero Pantagruel journeys to the Oracle of The Dive Bottle, he learns the lesson of life in one simple word, Trinch
God Is Not Great
God Is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything is a 2007 book by Anglo-American author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, in which he makes a case against organized religion. It was published by Atlantic Books in the United Kingdom as God Is Not Great and he supports his position with a mixture of personal stories, documented historical anecdotes and critical analysis of religious texts. His commentary focuses mainly on the Abrahamic religions, although it touches on other religions, the book received mixed reviews, but sold well. Hitchens writes that, at the age of nine, he began to question the teachings of his Bible instructor and he discusses people who become atheists, describing some as people who have never believed, others are those who have separately discarded religious traditions. He asserts that atheists who disagree with each other will eventually side together on whatever the evidence most strongly supports and he concludes by saying that he would not want to eradicate religion if the faithful would leave him alone, but ultimately they are incapable of this.
Hitchens answers, Just to stay within the letter B, I have actually had that experience in Belfast, Bombay, Belgrade and Baghdad. I would feel threatened if I thought that the group of men approaching me in the dusk were coming from a religious observance. He gives detailed descriptions of the social and political situations within these cities. He has thus not found it a prudent rule to help as the prayer meeting breaks up. He discusses the 1989 fatwa issued on author and friend Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini because of the contents of Rushdies book The Satanic Verses and he criticises several public figures for laying the blame for the incident on Rushdie himself. Hitchens discusses the prohibition on eating pigs in Judaism, adopted by Islam and he says that this proscription is not just Biblical or dietary. Hitchens explains how some religions can be hostile to treating diseases and he writes that many Muslims saw the polio vaccine as a conspiracy, and thus allowed polio to spread.
He discusses the Catholic Churchs response to the spread of HIV in Africa, telling people that condoms are ineffective and he notes with examples that some in both the Catholic and the Muslim communities believe irrationally that HIV and HPV are punishment for sexual sin—particularly homosexuality. He describes religious leaders as faith healers, and opines that they are hostile to medicine because it undermines their position of power and he concludes the chapter writing of the religious wish for obliteration — for a death in the form of the day of the Apocalypse. Hitchens begins by saying that the faith that could stand up to any form of reason is long gone. He compares the knowledge of the world in Thomas Aquinass time to what we now know about the world. He discusses the design arguments, using such as the human body wearing out in old age as bad design. He writes that if evolution had taken a different course
Criticism of atheism
Criticism of atheism is criticism of the concepts, validity, or impact of atheism, including associated political and social implications. Various contemporary agnostics like Carl Sagan and theists such as Dinesh DSouza have criticised atheism for being an unscientific position, oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox holds that atheism is an inferior world view to that of theism, and attributes to C. S. In other words, it was belief in God that was the motor that drove modern science, the leading American geneticist Francis Collins cites Lewis as persuasive in convincing him that theism is the more rational world view than atheism. Other criticisms focus on perceived effects on morality and social cohesion, the Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, a deist, saw godlessness as weakening the sacred bonds of society, writing If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. The father of Classical Liberalism, John Locke, believed that the denial of Gods existence would undermine the social order, Pope Pius XI wrote that Communist atheism was aimed at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization.
In the 1990s, Pope John Paul II criticised a spreading practical atheism as clouding the religious and moral sense of the human heart, in his Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke railed against atheistical fanaticism. Critics of atheism often associate the actions of 20th-century state atheism with broader atheism in their critiques, various poets and lay theologians, among them G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, have criticized atheism. For example, Chesterton holds that He who does not believe in God will believe in anything, Atheism is the absence of belief that any gods exist, the position that there are no gods, or the rejection of belief in the existence of gods. Deism is a form of theism in which God created the universe and established rationally comprehensible moral and natural laws, deism is a natural religion where belief in God is based on application of reason and evidence observed in the designs and laws found in nature. Christian deism refers to a deist who believes in the moral teachings, the last 50 years has seen an increase in academic philosophical arguments critical of the positions of atheism arguing that they are philosophically unsound.
In 1976, atheist philosopher Antony Flew wrote The Presumption of Atheism, according to Flew, the norm for academic philosophy and public dialogue was, at that time, for atheists and theists to both share their respective burdens of proof for their positions. In 2007, Analytic Philosopher William Lane Craigs described the presumption of atheism as one of the most commonly proffered justifications of atheism. And in 2010, BBC journalist William Crawley explained that Flews presumption of atheism made the case, the presumption of atheism has been the subject of criticism by atheists agnostics, and theists since Flew advance his position more than 40 years ago. Because the atheists conceptualization of rational differs from the theist, Nielsen argues, Analytic Philosopher and modal logician Alvin Plantinga, a theist, rejected the presumption of atheism forwarding a two-part argument. First, he shows that there is no objection to belief in God unless the belief is shown to be false, second, he argues that belief in God could be rationally warranted if it is a properly basic or foundational belief through an innate human sense of the divine.
Alvin Plantingas argument puts theistic belief an equal footing with atheism even if Flews definition of atheism is accepted. McInerny argues that the extent of natural order is so pervasive as to be almost innate. McInernys position goes further than Plantingas arguing that theism is evidenced, William Lane Craig wrote that if Flews broader definition of atheism is seen as merely the absence of belief in God, atheism ceases to be a view and even infants count as atheists
Demographics of atheism
Accurate demographics of atheism are difficult to obtain since conceptions of atheism vary across different cultures. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, 2% of the worlds population self-identifies as atheist, according to sociologist Phil Zuckerman, broad estimates of those who have an absence of belief in a god range from 500 to 750 million people worldwide. Other estimates state that there are 200 million to 240 million self-identified atheists worldwide, with China, in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and East Asia, and particularly in China and the non-religious are the majority. The prevalence of atheism in Africa and South America typically falls below 10%, according to the Pew Research Centers 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the worlds population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated. Furthermore, the study noted that many of the unaffiliated. Historical records of atheist philosophy span several millennia, atheistic schools are found in early Indian thought and have existed from the times of the historical Vedic religion.
Western atheism has its roots in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, but did not emerge as a distinct world-view until the late Enlightenment, discrepancies exist among sources as to how atheist and religious demographics are changing. According to the 2012 Gallup International Survey, the number of atheists is on the rise across the world, the demographics of atheism are substantially difficult to quantify. Words like, God or atheism seldom translate well across cultures or languages, as such, it can be hard to draw boundaries between atheism, non-religious beliefs, and non-theistic religious and spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, atheists may not report themselves as such, to prevent suffering from social stigma, because some governments have strongly promoted atheism and others have strongly condemned it, atheism may be either over-reported or under-reported for different countries. There is a deal of room for debate as to the accuracy of any method of estimation. Additionally, many of these surveys only gauge the number of people, not the number of actual atheists.
For example, research indicates that the fastest growing religious status may be no religion in the United States, but this includes all kinds of atheists, non-religious people make up 9. 66%, while one fifth of them are atheists. Statistics on atheism are difficult to represent accurately for a variety of reasons. Atheism is a compatible with other forms of identity including religions. Globally, some consider themselves Agnostic, Hindu, Taoist. Some, like Secular Jews and Shintoists, may indulge in some religious activities as a way of connecting with their culture, given limited poll options, some may use other terms to describe their identity. Some politically motivated organizations that report or gather population statistics may, intentionally or unintentionally, Survey designs may bias results due to the nature of elements such as the wording of questions and the available response options
The God Delusion
He is sympathetic to Robert Pirsigs statement in Lila that when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion, with many examples, he explains that one does not need religion to be moral and that the roots of religion and of morality can be explained in non-religious terms. In early December 2006, it reached number four in the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Best Seller list after nine weeks on the list, more than three million copies were sold. The book has attracted commentary, with many books written in response. Dawkins has argued against creationist explanations of life in his previous works on evolution, the theme of The Blind Watchmaker, published in 1986, is that evolution can explain the apparent design in nature. In The God Delusion he focuses directly on a range of arguments used for. Dawkins had long wanted to write a book openly criticising religion, by the year 2006, his publisher had warmed to the idea.
Dawkins attributes this change of mind to four years of Bush and this led to a 50% growth in that category over the three years to that date. Dawkins dedicates the book to Douglas Adams and quotes the novelist, the first few chapters make a case that there is almost certainly no God, while the rest discuss religion and morality. Dawkins writes that The God Delusion contains four consciousness-raising messages, Atheists can be happy, moral, Natural selection and similar scientific theories are superior to a God hypothesis—the illusion of intelligent design—in explaining the living world and the cosmos. Children should not be labelled by their parents religion, terms like Catholic child or Muslim child should make people cringe. Atheists should be proud, not apologetic, because atheism is evidence of a healthy, chapter one, A deeply religious non-believer, seeks to clarify the difference between what Dawkins terms Einsteinian religion and supernatural religion. Dawkins instead takes issue with the present in religions like Christianity, Islam.
The proposed existence of this interventionist God, which Dawkins calls the God Hypothesis and he maintains that the existence or non-existence of God is a scientific fact about the universe, which is discoverable in principle if not in practice. Dawkins summarises the main philosophical arguments on Gods existence, singling out the argument from design for longer consideration, Dawkins concludes that evolution by natural selection can explain apparent design in nature. A hypothesis, with supporting theories, that explains how, from simple origins and principles, something more complex can emerge. At the end of chapter 4, Dawkins sums up his argument and states, The temptation is a false one, the whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is obviously no solution to something even more improbable
The System of Nature
The System of Nature or, the Laws of the Moral and Physical World is a work of philosophy by Paul Henri Thiry, Baron dHolbach. It was originally published under the name of Jean-Baptiste de Mirabaud, most notoriously, the work explicitly denies the existence of God, arguing that belief in a higher being is the product of fear, lack of understanding, and anthropomorphism. It makes a distinction between mythology as a more or less benign way of bringing law ordered thought on society and their powers to the masses. Theology which, when it separates from mythology raises the power of nature above nature itself and its principles are summed up in a more popular form in dHolbachs Bon Sens, ou idées naturelles opposees aux idées surnaturelles. The book was considered radical in its day and the list of people writing refutations of the work was long. The prominent Catholic theologian Nicolas-Sylvestre Bergier wrote a refutation titled Examen du matérialisme, too, seized his pen to refute the philosophy of the Système in the article Dieu in his Dictionnaire philosophique, while Frederick the Great drew up an answer to it.
DHolbachs friend Denis Diderot had enthusiastically endorsed the book, P. B, shelley became an ardent atheist after reading The System of Nature, and proceeded to translate the book. According to Will Durant, the System of Nature contains the most comprehensive description of materialism and atheism in the history of philosophy. In his student days, Goethe had recoiled with revulsion at the contents in the book, in his old age he harbored similar views, We belong to the laws of nature, even when we rebel against them. According to Voltaire, the book was popular among the populace, including scholars, the ignorant. The System of Nature--English translation The System of Nature, Volume 1 at Project Gutenberg The System of Nature, Volume 2 at Project Gutenberg
New Atheism, called evangelical atheism or is a movement promoted by some atheists of the twenty-first century. The phrase New Atheism was coined by Gary Wolf in a 2006 article in Wired magazine, darwins supporter Thomas Huxley was openly skeptical, as the biographer Janet Browne describes, Huxley was rampaging on miracles and the existence of the soul. In his hands, agnosticism became as doctrinaire as anything else--a religion of skepticism, Huxley used it as a creed that would place him on a higher moral plane than even bishops and archbishops. All the evidence would nevertheless suggest that Huxley was sincere in his rejection of the charge of atheism against himself. To inquire rigorously into the domain, he asserted, was a more elevated undertaking than slavishly to believe or disbelieve. A deep sense of religion is compatible with the absence of theology. Pope Huxley, the Spectator dubbed him, Harris was motivated by the events of September 11,2001, which he laid directly at the feet of Islam, while directly criticizing Christianity and Judaism.
Two years Harris followed up with Letter to a Christian Nation, in 2006, following his television documentary The Root of All Evil. Richard Dawkins published The God Delusion, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 51 weeks, on September 30,2007 four prominent atheists met at Hitchens residence for a private two-hour unmoderated discussion. The event was videotaped and titled The Four Horsemen, the four have been described disparagingly as evangelical atheists. Harris is a co-founder of the Reason Project, Richard Dawkins is the author of The God Delusion, which was preceded by a Channel 4 television documentary titled The Root of all Evil. He is the founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and he wrote, I dont object to the horseman label, by the way. Im less keen on new atheist, it isnt clear to me how we differ from old atheists, christopher Hitchens was the author of God Is Not Great and was named among the Top 100 Public Intellectuals by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine.
In addition, Hitchens served on the board of the Secular Coalition for America. In 2010 Hitchens published his memoir Hitch-22, shortly after its publication, Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which led to his death in December 2011. Before his death, Hitchens published a collection of essays and articles in his book Arguably, the Four Horsemen video, convened by Dawkins Foundation, can be viewed free online at his web site, Part 1, Part 2. Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu, fleeing in 1992 to the Netherlands in order to escape an arranged marriage. She became involved in Dutch politics, rejected faith, and became vocal in opposing Islamic ideology, especially concerning women, as exemplified by her books Infidel and The Caged Virgin
Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, assume that humans are inherently evil or innately good. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity, along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy. Many secular humanists derive their moral codes from a philosophy of utilitarianism, ethical naturalism, or evolutionary ethics, the Happy Human is the official symbol of the IHEU as well as being regarded as a universally recognised symbol for those who call themselves Humanists. Secular humanist organizations are found in all parts of the world and those who call themselves humanists are estimated to number between four and five million people worldwide. The meaning of the phrase secular humanism has evolved over time, the phrase has been used since at least the 1930s, and in 1943, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, was reported as warning that the Christian tradition.
Was in danger of being undermined by a Secular Humanism which hoped to retain Christian values without Christian faith, the release in 1980 of A Secular Humanist Declaration by the newly formed Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism gave secular humanism an organisational identity within the United States. However, many adherents of the approach reject the use of the secular as obfuscating and confusing. All too often secular humanism is reduced to a sterile outlook consisting of more than secularism slightly broadened by academic ethics. This kind of hyphenated humanism easily becomes more about the adjective than its referent, adherents of this view, including the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the American Humanist Association, consider that the unmodified but capitalised word Humanism should be used. The endorsement by the IHEU of the capitalization of the word Humanism, the American Humanist Association began to adopt this view in 1973, and the IHEU formally endorsed the position in 1989.
In 2002 the IHEU General Assembly unanimously adopted the Amsterdam Declaration and this declaration makes exclusive use of capitalized Humanist and Humanism, which is consistent with IHEUs general practice and recommendations for promoting a unified Humanist identity. To further promote Humanist identity, these words are free of any adjectives, such usage is not universal among IHEU member organizations, though most of them do observe these conventions. Historical use of the humanism, is related to the writings of pre-Socratic philosophers. These writings were lost to European societies until Renaissance scholars rediscovered them through Muslim sources, in 1851 George Holyoake coined the term secularism to describe a form of opinion which concerns itself only with questions, the issues of which can be tested by the experience of this life. The modern secular movement coalesced around Holyoake, Charles Bradlaugh and their intellectual circle, the first secular society, the Leicester Secular Society, dates from 1851.
Similar regional societies came together to form the National Secular Society in 1866, holyoakes secularism was strongly influenced by Auguste Comte, the founder of positivism and of modern sociology. Comte believed human history would progress in a law of three stages from a phase, to the metaphysical, toward a fully rational positivist society
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist, in an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists, the etymological root for the word atheism originated before the 5th century BCE from the ancient Greek ἄθεος, meaning without god. The term denoted a social category created by orthodox religionists into which those who did not share their religious beliefs were placed, the actual term atheism emerged first in the 16th century. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope, the first individuals to identify themselves using the word atheist lived in the 18th century during the Age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution, noted for its unprecedented atheism, witnessed the first major movement in history to advocate for the supremacy of human reason.
Arguments for atheism range from the philosophical to social and historical approaches, although some atheists have adopted secular philosophies, there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere. Since conceptions of atheism vary, accurate estimations of current numbers of atheists are difficult, an older survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 2004 recorded atheists as comprising 8% of the worlds population. Other older estimates have indicated that atheists comprise 2% of the worlds population, according to these polls and East Asia are the regions with the highest rates of atheism. In 2015, 61% of people in China reported that they were atheists, the figures for a 2010 Eurobarometer survey in the European Union reported that 20% of the EU population claimed not to believe in any sort of spirit, God or life force. Atheism has been regarded as compatible with agnosticism, and has been contrasted with it, a variety of categories have been used to distinguish the different forms of atheism.
Some of the ambiguity and controversy involved in defining atheism arises from difficulty in reaching a consensus for the definitions of words like deity, the plurality of wildly different conceptions of God and deities leads to differing ideas regarding atheisms applicability. The ancient Romans accused Christians of being atheists for not worshiping the pagan deities, this view fell into disfavor as theism came to be understood as encompassing belief in any divinity. Definitions of atheism vary in the degree of consideration a person must put to the idea of gods to be considered an atheist, Atheism has sometimes been defined to include the simple absence of belief that any deities exist. This broad definition would include newborns and other people who have not been exposed to theistic ideas, as far back as 1772, Baron dHolbach said that All children are born Atheists, they have no idea of God. Similarly, George H. Smith suggested that, The man who is unacquainted with theism is an atheist because he does not believe in a god.
This category would include the child with the conceptual capacity to grasp the issues involved. The fact that this child does not believe in god qualifies him as an atheist, ernest Nagel contradicts Smiths definition of atheism as merely absence of theism, acknowledging only explicit atheism as true atheism
Argument from inconsistent revelations
The argument from inconsistent revelations, known as the avoiding the wrong hell problem, is an argument against the existence of God. It asserts that it is unlikely that God exists because many theologians and faithful adherents have produced conflicting and it is argued that it is difficult to accept the existence of any one God without personal revelation. Most arguments for the existence of God are not specific to any one religion, were a personal revelation to be granted to a nonbeliever, the same problem of confusion would develop in each new person the believer shares the revelation with. Christians believe that Jesus is the Christian Messiah, Savior of the World, Muslims believe that the Quran was divinely authored, while Jews and Christians do not. There are many examples of such contrasting views, opposing fundamental beliefs exist even within each major religion, for example, has many subsets, which differ greatly on issues of doctrine. Additionally, faith-confirming events such as visions and miracles are reported within all faiths with regularity, the problem does not arise in some theological models.
In Deism, it is believed there is a God. In some forms of Pantheism and in Pandeism, the appearance of many inconsistent divine revelations or miracles might simply result unintentionally from the nature of the Universe itself. The roots of the mutual exclusivity may be seen in the Torah, the argument appears, among other places, in Voltaires Candide and Philosophical Dictionary. It is manifested in Denis Diderots statement that, whatever proofs are offered for the existence of God in Christianity or any other religion, argumentum ad populum Voltaire Denis Diderot
Criticism of religion
Criticism of religion is criticism of the ideas, the truth, or the practice of religion, including its political and social implications. Historical records of criticism of religion goes back to at least 5th century BCE, in ancient Greece, in ancient Rome, an early known example is Lucretius De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BCE. Criticism of religion is complicated by the fact that there exist multiple definitions, every exclusive religion on Earth that promotes exclusive truth claims necessarily denigrates the truth claims of other religions. Religion is derived from the Latin religiō, during this time period, contact with numerous foreign and indigenous cultures with non-European languages, that did not have equivalent concepts or words for religion, became more common. In the Quran, the Arabic word din is often translated as religion in modern translations and it was in the 19th century that the terms Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism first emerged. Max Müller characterized many other cultures around the world, including Egypt, what is called ancient religion today, they would have only called law.
Many languages have words that can be translated as religion, but they may use them in a different way. For example, the Sanskrit word dharma, sometimes translated as religion, throughout classical South Asia, the study of law consisted of concepts such as penance through piety and ceremonial as well as practical traditions. Medieval Japan at first had a union between imperial law and universal or Buddha law, but these became independent sources of power. There is no equivalent of religion in Hebrew, and Judaism does not distinguish clearly between religious, racial, or ethnic identities. One of its central concepts is halakha, meaning the walk or path sometimes translated as law, which guides religious practice and belief and many aspects of daily life. Lucretius, like Epicurus, felt that religion was born of fear and ignorance, and he was not against religion in and of itself, but against traditional religion which he saw as superstition for teaching that gods interfered with the world. Niccolò Machiavelli, at the beginning of the 16th century said, We Italians are irreligious, because the church and her representatives have set us the worst example.
To Machiavelli, religion was merely a tool, useful for a ruler wishing to manipulate public opinion, in the 18th century Voltaire was a deist and was strongly critical of religious intolerance. Voltaire claimed the reason for these killings was that Christians wanted to plunder the wealth of those killed. Voltaire was critical of Muslim intolerance, in the 18th century David Hume criticised teleological arguments for religion. Hume claimed that explanations for the order in the universe were reasonable. Demonstrating the unsoundness of the basis for religion was an important aim of Humes writings