Skip to comments.Against Divorce: David Hume Defends Traditional Marriage
Posted on 05/04/2011 4:32:13 PM PDT by AustralianConservative
While often hostile to the Calvinist Christianity in which he was reared, David Humes essay Of Polygamy and Divorces offers a vigorous and well-argued defense of marriage arrangements as they existed in England and many other parts of Europe from the early Middle Ages through most of the 18th century. His arguments have great relevance for us today as we struggle to cope with unprecedented rates of divorce and unprecedented ease of both entering into and exiting marriages and other intimate procreative relationships. His arguments against polygamy are also important as that practice seems to be undergoing something of a resurgence in parts of the southwest, with renewed interest in the popular culture.
Hume begins the substantive part of his inquiry with a brief description of the great variety of marriage practices and customs that have existed throughout the world, noting that as circumstances vary and the laws propose different advantages, we find that, in different times and places, they impose different conditions on the marriage contract. Custom and law in different times and places have permitted polygamous marriages (one man with several wives); confined one man to one woman (sometimes allowing for divorce and remarriage and other times not); permitted one man to have two wives but no more than two; assigned multiple men to one wife; permitted group marriages between numerous men and numerous women; and even, as in the case of Tonkin (Vietnam), permitted foreign sailors when the ships come into harbor to engage in temporary marriages with local women that lasted only for a season.
Much of his essay is devoted to showing the many harms and disadvantages of two of the most common types of marriage arrangements outside the Christian West: polygamy in which men have multiple wives, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at thepublicdiscourse.com ...
Thanks for posting. This was the first I’ve ever read of a sensible Hume musing. He lost me trying to disprove cause & effect.
Thanks for posting this. Nieli’s essay is excellent! I did not know Hume had written on the subject of marriage & divorce.
“Left libertarians” are very good at hiding some of his essays. But not good enough (lol).
I'm sure the same dynamic would occur within marriages if divorce was once again made illegal, or very hard to obtain.
Im against expressive divorces. They should be harder to obtain. The irony is that divorced people are often more at risk of the alleged threats they claim to be escaping. I take your point about coworkers too.