Hume Against Miracles

Mind Map by joe_lamy, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by joe_lamy almost 7 years ago


Philosophy (Miracle) Mind Map on Hume Against Miracles, created by joe_lamy on 04/14/2013.

Resource summary

Hume Against Miracles
1 'A wise man proportions his belief according to the evidence'
1.1 Hume, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding
2 Empiricist and Sceptic
2.1 Our knowledge of the world comes from obvservations based on our senses
2.1.1 Argued however that we cannot reason accurately beyond what we see and hear We are forced to make assumptions
3 Theoretical Case Against Miracles
3.1 Appears to suggest that miracles are impossible
3.1.1 Laws of Nature that we experience are uniform and constant We assume that these laws will not change and have always been constant Notes that we establish cause and effect relationships based on our experience of the world Ideas on induction Makes predictions about what will happen in similar cases in future Each experience we have of normal events seems to make miracles less likely
3.2 Faced with this, Hume suggests that the only evidence available to us is the testimonies and accounts of others
3.2.1 We ought only to believe a miracle story if it would be more incredible that all witnesses were mistaken of the event Does not believe in chance or in supernatural intervention Appeals for us to go with the evidence and consider which state of affairs is more probable A miracle or a more ordinary explanation
4 Practical Argument Against Miracles
4.1 Gave four practical arguments against miracles; regardless of whether they can be theoretically possible
4.1.1 1. Miracles do not generally have many sane/educated witnesses
4.1.2 2. Psychological; natural interest in the unusual; exploited by religious people
4.1.3 3. 'Ignorant and Barbarous nations that miracles are recorded in
4.1.4 4. Almost all religions have miracle stories; they can't all be right
5 Responses to Hume
5.1 Appeal to the laws of nature is inconsistent with his own writings
5.1.1 He suggests our idea of scientific laws may be psychological habit based on what we repeatedly see
5.1.2 Observed that there was no good reason to expect the sun to rise in the morning, yet it does
5.1.3 Practical argument can be seen as sweeping generalisations Unclear how many witnesses are sufficient Fails to define 'ignorant and barbarous nations' However, some miracles are claimed in modern western societies
5.2 Swinburne
5.2.1 Noted that testimonies may not be the only evidence available
5.2.2 Physical traces of events would count as empirical evidence
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