David Hume's Skepticism - Expression of the Late Baroque

Marius Dumitrescu


The early Baroque, characterized by the skeptical spirit of the 16th century, reaches its peak in the following century with Descartes' hyperbolic doubt.

The purpose of this paper is to analyze two of Hume's works, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding in order to place the philosopher in the tradition of Baroque thought.

First of all, we will show that David Hume pushed skepticism far beyond its ancient or Cartesian limits, attacking even our way of formulating sentences, which is a subjective one, the result of some psychological factors that cannot be the basis of science. Secondly, we will demonstrate that Hume's skepticism belongs to the late Baroque and is, by its radical character, a form of metaphysical denial of any universal certainties.

In conclusion, Hume's skeptical spirit, manifested in relation to the authority constructed by the post-Westphalian ideology, overcame the past, which was at the time denied, and represents, from a philosophical point of view, the origin of the revolutionary spirit of the second half of the 18th century.


David Hume's skepticism; expression of the Late Baroque; skeptical spirit

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