By Robert J. Fogelin
Considering that its book within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of critical and sometimes ill-tempered assaults. during this e-book, one in every of our best 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 via delivering a story of ways Hume's argument really unfolds. What Hume's critics (and even a few of his defenders) have didn't see is that Hume's basic argument is determined by solving the right criteria of comparing testimony provided on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume really quite argues that the criteria for comparing such testimony needs to be tremendous excessive. Hume then argues that, in truth, no testimony on behalf of a non secular miracle has even come just about assembly the precise criteria for recognition. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have continually 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 objective, in spite of the fact that, isn't 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 simplest paintings at the topic.
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Additional resources for A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)
If, in the end, Hume’s attack on the legitimacy of testimony in favor of religious miracles depends on the assessment of probabilities, why did he present the argument of part 1 at all? The question itself may embody a misunderstanding of the character of the argument of part 1, namely, that it is purely conceptual, hence a priori in character. That, I have argued, is a mistake. The reverse argument of part 1 is also a probabilistic argument intended to call into question the adequacy of testimony put forward in behalf of miraculous events.
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.
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. Not only the term “cause” but also such related terms as “proof,” hence also “law of nature” and “miracle,” are susceptible to the same kind of subjective/absolute ambiguity in Hume. In the context of “Of Miracles,” however, it is clear from the structure of the argument that Hume is appealing to subjective senses of “proof,” “laws of nature,” and T H E S T R U C T U R E O F H U M E ' S A R G U M E N T 27 “miracle”.
A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin