By Robert J. Fogelin
Due to the fact that its booklet within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of serious and infrequently ill-tempered assaults. during this e-book, one among our prime historians of philosophy deals a scientific reaction to those attacks.
Arguing that those criticisms have--from the very start--rested on misreadings, Robert Fogelin starts off by way of offering 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 fundamental argument relies on solving the suitable criteria of comparing testimony offered on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume relatively kind of argues that the criteria for comparing such testimony has to be tremendous excessive. Hume then argues that, in actual fact, no testimony on behalf of a non secular miracle has even come with reference to assembly the precise criteria for recognition. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have constantly 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 target, even though, isn't to "bash the bashers," yet relatively to teach that Hume's therapy of miracles has a coherence, intensity, and tool that makes it nonetheless the easiest paintings at the topic.
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Extra resources for A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)
As we have seen, Hume ends part 1 with a conditional conclusion that leaves open the possibility that further evidence may shift the balance in favor of one supposed proof over the other. In part 2 Hume then argues that the uniformly tainted quality of the testimony brought forward in behalf of religious miracles decisively shifts the balance to favor the evidence that the miracle did not occur. With respect to a report of a nonreligious miracle (for example, eight days of worldwide darkness), Hume acknowledges that the balance could shift in the reverse direction.
In the present context Hume cannot be treating a law of nature as an invariant regularity in nature, for if he did so, the occurrence of a miracle (including the miracle of eight days of darkness) could be ruled out on deﬁnitional grounds alone, and, given this, all of Hume’s talk about testimony would be idle. 14, and again in Enquiry VII, Hume offers two different deﬁnitions of the term “cause,” the ﬁrst in terms of constant conjunction of resembling events, and the second in terms of association and inference in the mind.
And the parts of “Of Miracles” that set Hume apart do not stand up to scrutiny. Worse still, the essay reveals the weakness and the poverty of Hume’s own account of induction and probabilistic reasoning. And to cap it all off, the essay represents the kind of overreaching that gives philosophy a bad name. (Earman 2000, 3) Here is his summary conclusion: While the essay will endure as an important historical artifact and as a signpost to interesting philosophical issues, those philosophers who try to mine it for nuggets of wisdom are bound to be disappointed—it is a confection of rhetoric and schein Geld.
A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin