3 The intellectual background
Hume often assumes familiarity with views that were popular at the time of writing. To have done otherwise would have been tedious for the original readership. Many of these views are no longer so widespread, so in this section I want to describe three features of the eighteenth-century intellectual backdrop against which all the readings were written. The three features are: empiricism (a view about knowledge), deism (a view about religious belief), and the main arguments for the existence of God.