Stephen West, on his Philosophize This! podcast, interviews Massimo Pigliucci on David Hume. This was a big win for me. Two of my favorite podcasters discussing one of my favorite historical philosophers! It provides some good insights into Hume’s skeptical and empirical philosophy.
One of the questions Stephen asks Massimo is what he thinks Hume’s take would have been on New Atheism. Massimo’s response points out the contrast between Hume‘s staunch adherence to his intellectual positions, and his affability and diplomacy. It also includes a brief discussion on the distinction between skeptics and atheists. As someone who’s preferred label is skeptic, I found this interesting.
(I’ve always preferred the skeptic label because it’s more general. I’m not just skeptical of religious claims, but of many philosophical, political, social, and speculative science ones. When I apply Hume’s advice to proportion my beliefs according to the evidence, a lot of stuff becomes questionable, including beliefs that many movement atheists hold with certitude.)
The interview finishes up with Massimo’s current fascination with stoicism. A lot of what he says in this discussion reminds me of the emotional intelligence material I read some years ago. It’s interesting how many concepts from modern psychology often converge with ancient philosophies like stoicism or secular Buddhism.
Anyway, if you’re interested in Hume and have 30 minutes to spare, I highly recommend this interview. The earlier episodes that give an overview of Hume’s philosophy are also worth checking out.