By Robert J. Fogelin
Considering the fact that its ebook within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of serious and infrequently ill-tempered assaults. during this ebook, certainly one of our prime 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 delivering a story of how 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 will depend on solving the right criteria of comparing testimony offered 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 tremendous excessive. Hume then argues that, in truth, no testimony on behalf of a spiritual miracle has even come with reference to assembly the suitable criteria for attractiveness. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have constantly 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 few early critics of Hume's argument after which to 2 contemporary critics, David Johnson and John Earman. Fogelin's objective, despite the fact that, isn't really to "bash the bashers," yet quite 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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Extra resources for A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy)
Gross misreadings of this kind almost always carry with them a wholly unfounded criticism, namely, that Hume’s argument is circular—perhaps transparently or risibly so. It is, however, possible to develop criticisms of Hume’s arguments that do not depend on such gross misreadings. A more subtle strategy involves arguing that Hume’s treatment of miracles rests on presuppositions or commitments that are themselves unacceptable. This maneuver can include a dismissal of the shallow criticisms of Hume that have been produced by the gross misreaders.
We are involved in assessing the credentials of testimony in behalf of a type of event that runs deeply counter to common experience. 38 CHAPTER TWO No assumption is made to the effect that the supposed witnesses did not have the experience they reported having, so no question is begged. I have said this already, but it seems worth repeating in response to an egregious (and more than a little haughty) offender. To backtrack. ” Here the word “apparently” may sound cautious, perhaps even generous.
It is not simply that Hume’s essay does not achieve its goals, but that his goals are ambiguous and confused. Most of Hume’s considerations are unoriginal, warmed over versions of arguments that are TWO RECENT CRITICS 41 found in the writings of predecessors and contemporaries. 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.
A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton Monographs in Philosophy) by Robert J. Fogelin