A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in - download pdf or read online

By Robert J. Fogelin

ISBN-10: 1400825776

ISBN-13: 9781400825776

Due to the fact that its booklet within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of critical and infrequently ill-tempered assaults. during this booklet, one in all our best historians of philosophy bargains a scientific reaction to those attacks.

Arguing that those criticisms have--from the very start--rested on misreadings, Robert Fogelin starts off by means of delivering a story of ways Hume's argument truly unfolds. What Hume's critics (and even a few of his defenders) have did not see is that Hume's basic argument will depend on solving the precise criteria of comparing testimony provided on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume relatively quite argues that the criteria for comparing such testimony has to be super excessive. Hume then argues that, in fact, no testimony on behalf of a spiritual miracle has even come as regards to assembly the suitable criteria for reputation. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have always misunderstood the constitution of this argument--and have saddled Hume with completely lousy arguments now not present in the textual content. He responds first to a couple early critics of Hume's argument after which to 2 fresh critics, David Johnson and John Earman. Fogelin's aim, besides the fact that, isn't really to "bash the bashers," yet relatively to teach that Hume's therapy of miracles has a coherence, intensity, and gear that makes it nonetheless the easiest paintings at the topic.

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Additional resources for A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)

Example text

There is, however, this difference. Cardinal De Retz’s moral certainty, though robust, remains defeasible. It would take a great deal to budge De Retz from his skepticism, but it still remains possible that he could be budged. ” The matter has to be settled at a level deeper than this. The most obvious place to look for Hume’s own views on probability is in the three successive chapters in part 3 of book 1 of the Treatise of Human Nature entitled 11. Of the probability of chances 12. Of the probability of causes 13.

But I will waive this point. Given this definition, Johnson issues a challenge to the defender of Hume. We seek, then, Hume’s (or a Humean) argument for at least the weaker than usual version of Hume’s conclusion (of the first part of his essay) mentioned in the preceding chapter, which we now state in the following way: (H) Where m is a possible event, allegedly actual and allegedly witnessed, and where L is (for us, now) an apparent law, which any actual occurrence of m would have violated, and where (thus) L is (for us, now) exceedingly well established, 40 CHAPTER TWO relative to a body of inductive evidence, as being a law of nature, then, at the very least, the testimony of one human witness (not identical to any of us) who claims to have observed m’s occurrence can never rightly convince us that m has occurred—the testimony of one such supposed witness to m’s occurrence will always be “outweighed” by the inductive evidence which so strongly supports L.

Hume’s example of eight days of darkness is intended to show that, given the right sort of testimony, the balance can shift, and principles with strong backing from past experience can be dominated by reliable evidence presenting counterinstances to them. Here a new question arises. If Hume acknowledges that, under certain circumstances at least, the occurrence of a miracle could be established by testimony, how can he defend himself against the charge of mere prejudice in treating testimony in behalf of religious miracles with special disfavor?

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A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin


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