Hume's Influence on Madison’s Policy of Religious Tolerance

Adéla Rádková


The article aims to show the similarities between Hume's and Madison's political philosophy concerning the policy of religious tolerance. Although Hume's critical attitude to religion is well known among contemporary Hume scholars, the implications of the critique for his political philosophy are not usually dealt with. However, Hume devoted a lot of attention to the issue of religiously fragmented society and the impact this situation had on the state security. Similarly, James Madison feared fragmented societies and dealt with this issue in a manner very similar to Hume's. Both Hume and Madison thought that human tendency to a partiality had a source in human nature. The solution was, therefore, not in overcoming this tendency but rather in using it to a good purpose. Both argued that toleration had practically proven to be the most effective policy and also had the best impact on society. In addition to these similarities, Madison used the same metaphors and expressions in the same context as Hume. Therefore, Hume's influence in the context of the interpretation of Madison's intellectual resources can no longer be ignored.


artificial virtues; Hume; Madison; religious tolerance

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Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097