By Robert J. Fogelin
On account that 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 e-book, 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 by way of supplying a story of ways Hume's argument truly unfolds. What Hume's critics (and even a few of his defenders) have didn't see is that Hume's basic argument relies on solving the suitable criteria of comparing testimony awarded on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume really kind of argues that the criteria 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 just about assembly the best criteria for recognition. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have always 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, even if, isn't to "bash the bashers," yet quite to teach that Hume's remedy of miracles has a coherence, intensity, and gear 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)
For I own, that otherwise, there may possibly be miracles, or violations of the usual course of nature, of such a kind as to admit of proof from human testimony; though, perhaps, it will be impossible to ﬁnd any such in all the records of history. Thus, suppose, all authors, in all languages, agree, that, from the ﬁrst of JANUARY 1600, there was a total darkness over the whole earth for eight days: Suppose that the tradition of this extraordinary event is still strong and lively among the people: That all travellers, who return from foreign countries, bring us accounts of the same tradition, without the least variation or contradiction: It is evident, that our present philosophers, instead of doubting the fact, ought to receive it as certain, and ought to search for the causes whence it might be derived.
Of the probability of chances 12. Of the probability of causes 13. Of unphilosophical probability These sections raise serious problems of interpretation, for Hume sometimes seems to slide back and forth between two activities: offering something like an analysis of probability judgments, and giving a causal account of how such judgments are formed. Hume seems to slide back and forth between a descriptive and a normative standpoint.
Nor is it plausible that [this] is what Hume thought, even if it is not what he explicitly says. For one thing, this reading would make it hard to understand the function of the famous Maxim which Hume enunciates at the close of Part 1. . For another thing, Part 2 would be puzzling since there Hume allows that especially good testimony can establish the credibility of some secular miracles. Thus, I will assume . . that in Part 1 Hume did not mean to foreclose the issue of whether testimony could establish the credibility of a miracle, although I acknowledge that the text is ambiguous enough to allow [this] reading.
A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin