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Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles

Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles Dorothy P. Coleman has recently offered an interpretation and defence of a central strand of Hume's critique of belief in miracles. Coleman is responding to a line of argument against Hume which can be identified as early as Butler's Analogy of Religion, and which has lately reappeared in the work of Robert Hambourger and others. In this paper I assess Coleman's contribution. Hambourger ascribes to Hume the following Principle of Relative Likelihood (PRL): Suppose that someone, or, perhaps, a group of people testify to the truth of a proposition P that, considered by itself, is improbable. Then to evaluate the testimony, one must weight the probability that P is true against the probability that the informants are lying or mistaken. If it is more likely that P is true than that the informants are lying or mistaken, then, on balance, the testimony renders P more likely than not, and it may be reasonable for one to believe that P. However, if it is as likely, or even more likely, that the informants are lying or mistaken than it is that P is true, then, on balance, the testimony does not render P more http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles

Hume Studies , Volume 16 (1) – Jan 26, 1990

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Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
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1947-9921
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Abstract

Hume, Probability, Lotteries and Miracles Dorothy P. Coleman has recently offered an interpretation and defence of a central strand of Hume's critique of belief in miracles. Coleman is responding to a line of argument against Hume which can be identified as early as Butler's Analogy of Religion, and which has lately reappeared in the work of Robert Hambourger and others. In this paper I assess Coleman's contribution. Hambourger ascribes to Hume the following Principle of Relative Likelihood (PRL): Suppose that someone, or, perhaps, a group of people testify to the truth of a proposition P that, considered by itself, is improbable. Then to evaluate the testimony, one must weight the probability that P is true against the probability that the informants are lying or mistaken. If it is more likely that P is true than that the informants are lying or mistaken, then, on balance, the testimony renders P more likely than not, and it may be reasonable for one to believe that P. However, if it is as likely, or even more likely, that the informants are lying or mistaken than it is that P is true, then, on balance, the testimony does not render P more

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Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1990

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