By Robert J. Fogelin
Due to the fact its ebook within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of serious and sometimes ill-tempered assaults. during this booklet, certainly one of 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 through supplying a story of how Hume's argument really 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 fitting criteria of comparing testimony awarded on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume relatively kind of argues that the factors for comparing such testimony needs to be super excessive. Hume then argues that, actually, no testimony on behalf of a non secular miracle has even come with regards to assembly the proper criteria for attractiveness. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have continuously misunderstood the constitution of this argument--and have saddled Hume with completely lousy arguments no longer present in the textual content. He responds first to a few early critics of Hume's argument after which to 2 contemporary critics, David Johnson and John Earman. Fogelin's aim, notwithstanding, isn't really to "bash the bashers," yet fairly to teach that Hume's therapy of miracles has a coherence, intensity, and tool that makes it nonetheless the simplest paintings at the topic.
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Additional resources for A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)
A (Hume) miracle is a violation of a presumptive law of nature. By Hume’s straight rule of induction, experience confers a probability of 1 on a presumptive law. Hence, the probability of a miracle is ﬂatly zero. Very simple. And very crude. , 23) 44 CHAPTER TWO Let me say at once that if Earman is correct in attributing this argument to Hume, then Hume’s case is hopeless. The hopelessness is generated by a consideration that I will attempt to explain informally. Suppose some body of evidence E bestows a probability of 1 on some hypothesis H.
31) We then get the ringing conclusion: Upon the whole, then, it appears, that no testimony for any kind of miracle has ever amounted to a probability, much less to a proof; and that, even supposing it amounted to a proof, it would be opposed by another proof; derived from the very nature of the fact, which it would endeavour to establish. It is experience only, which gives authority to human testimony; and it is the same experience, which assures us of the laws of nature. When, therefore, these two kinds of experience are contrary, we have nothing to do but subtract the one from the other, and embrace an opinion, either on one side or the other, with that assurance which arises from the remainder.
Setting aside his patronizing tone, Johnson does better in characterizing the role of part 2. The burden of the second part of Hume’s essay is that of showing, mostly on supposed historical and psychohistorical grounds, that the evidence in favor of such miracles as have actually been alleged to occur is extremely weak indeed. ) That is correct, but what is missing here is a recognition of the systematic connection between the two parts of Hume’s discussion. ). Johnson could, of course, point out that he is not the only one who has taken part 1 as a self-contained philosophical argument—many of Hume’s supporters share this view.
A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin