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David Hume's no-miracles argument begets a valid No-Miracles Argument

Howson, Colin (2015) David Hume's no-miracles argument begets a valid No-Miracles Argument. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, 54. pp. 41-45. ISSN 0039-3681

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2015.08.011


Hume's essay ‘Of Miracles’ has been a focus of controversy ever since its publication. The challenge to Christian orthodoxy was only too evident, but the balance-of-probabilities criterion advanced by Hume for determining when testimony justifies belief in miracles has also been a subject of contention among philosophers. The temptation for those familiar with Bayesian methodology to show that Hume's criterion determines a corresponding balance-of-posterior probabilities in favour of miracles is understandable, but I will argue that their attempts fail. However, I show that his criterion generates a valid form of the so-called No-Miracles Argument appealed to by modern realist philosophers, whose own presentation of it, despite their possession of the probabilistic machinery Hume himself lacked, is invalid.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2015 11:49
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:06

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