John Earman's Hume's Abject Failure The Argument Against Miracles PDF

By John Earman

ISBN-10: 0195127382

ISBN-13: 9780195127386

This very important research deals a brand new interpretation of Hume's recognized "Of Miracles," which notoriously argues opposed to the potential for miracles. through situating Hume's renowned argument within the context of the eighteenth-century debate on miracles, Earman exhibits Hume's argument to be principally unoriginal and mainly with no advantage the place it really is unique. but Earman constructively conceives how growth might be made at the concerns that Hume's essay so provocatively posed concerning the skill of eyewitness testimony to set up the credibility of significant and brilliant occasions.

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Such reflections should make us think twice before accepting reports of miracles and thrice when the alleged events are thought to have religious significance. Platitudes have their uses, and it doesn't hurt to repeat this one. But Hume's repetition of it does not serve to advance the eighteenth century discussion of miracles since all parties to the debate would have readily agreed to it— indeed, even the proponents of religious miracles enunciate versions of it. The platitude under discussion can be given various useful forms by means of the probability calculus.

Perhaps they were wrong. But to show that they were wrong takes more than solemnly uttered platitudes. What additional principles or facts did Hume need to move from the platitude that forms the first part of Hume's Maxim to the conclusion that it is impossible or even difficult to establish the credibility of a miracle? That the prior Pr(M/E&K) is zero would sufficient, but I have already rejected this move. That Pr(M/E&K) is nonzero but very small does not seem sufficient, as Price himself was quick to argue.

There were many responses—Sherlock (), Pearce (), Chandler (), Jackson (), and West (), to name only a few—which claimed to weigh up the evidence in all its rich detail and which found the balance to favor the reality of the resurrection. If Hume had really aspired to be a miracle debunker in the mode of Woolston and Annet, he should have entered the fray. No doubt prudence suggested that he not enter this particular fray. But there are also strong indications that Hume thought that he could remain above the fray.

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Hume's Abject Failure The Argument Against Miracles by John Earman


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