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What Hume Actually Said About Miracles

What Hume Actually Said About Miracles What Hume Actually Said About Miracles Two things are commonly said about Hume's treatment of miracles in the first part of Section X of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: I.Hume did not put forward an a priori argument intended to show that miracles are not possible. II.Hume did put forward an a priori argument intended to show that testimony, however strong, could never make it reasonable to believe that a miracle had occurred. In a recent article in this journal, Dorothy Coleman calls this the "traditional interpretation," and, since this characterization strikes me as correct, I shall call it that too. Antony Flew stands virtually alone in challenging the traditional interpretation, arguing, in particular, that Hume did not even attempt to provide an a priori argument showing that testimony can never establish the existence of a miracle. On FIeW1S reading, Hume's argument was intended to do no more than place a "check" on arguments put forward to establish the existence of miracles on the basis of testimony. Along with others, however, Flew accepts the first part ofthe traditional interpretation, namely, that whatever Hume was up to, he was certainly not trying to produce a proof showing that miracles http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

What Hume Actually Said About 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

What Hume Actually Said About Miracles Two things are commonly said about Hume's treatment of miracles in the first part of Section X of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: I.Hume did not put forward an a priori argument intended to show that miracles are not possible. II.Hume did put forward an a priori argument intended to show that testimony, however strong, could never make it reasonable to believe that a miracle had occurred. In a recent article in this journal, Dorothy Coleman calls this the "traditional interpretation," and, since this characterization strikes me as correct, I shall call it that too. Antony Flew stands virtually alone in challenging the traditional interpretation, arguing, in particular, that Hume did not even attempt to provide an a priori argument showing that testimony can never establish the existence of a miracle. On FIeW1S reading, Hume's argument was intended to do no more than place a "check" on arguments put forward to establish the existence of miracles on the basis of testimony. Along with others, however, Flew accepts the first part ofthe traditional interpretation, namely, that whatever Hume was up to, he was certainly not trying to produce a proof showing that miracles

Journal

Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1990

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