By Robert J. Fogelin

For the reason that its book within the mid-eighteenth century, Hume's dialogue of miracles has been the objective of critical and infrequently ill-tempered assaults. during this booklet, one among 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 means of supplying a story of ways Hume's argument really unfolds. What Hume's critics (and even a few of his defenders) have did not see is that Hume's fundamental argument is determined by solving the precise criteria of comparing testimony provided on behalf of a miracle. Given the definition of a miracle, Hume particularly quite argues that the criteria for comparing such testimony needs to be tremendous excessive. Hume then argues that, in reality, no testimony on behalf of a spiritual miracle has even come as regards to assembly the best criteria for attractiveness. Fogelin illustrates that Hume's critics have always misunderstood the constitution of this argument--and have saddled Hume with completely lousy arguments no longer 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 target, even though, isn't really to "bash the bashers," yet really to teach that Hume's remedy of miracles has a coherence, intensity, and tool 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)

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Yet it is far more richly connected to physical nature—as measured by both predictive accuracy and explanatory richness—than all past understandings of the natural world. Its impact on philosophy in all areas is correspondingly more important than ever. The emerging scientific view of the world has serious weaknesses in its handling of aspects of reality that lie beyond the reach of the physical sciences, especially consciousness and value. It is important to guard against such limitations lest we fall prey to what Alfred North Whitehead termed the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, whereby (in this case) we foolishly treat as real or important only that which we can conveniently study with the natural sciences.

But it also reflects controversies among those who study religion comparable in magnitude to the turf wars of philosophers. The inherently multidisciplinary character of religious studies helps here, however. Religious studies scholars typically identify themselves professionally as sociologists or anthropologists, historians or philosophers, with a specialty in one or another aspect of religion—an historical era or a geographic region, for example. Most expect to work alongside people with quite different types of expertise, and they are accustomed to making use of insights from other disciplines that operate according to methods quite different than those of their chief specialization.

The historical disciplines are far and away the most empirically driven of the humanities, to the point that some prefer to designate these disciplines “historical sciences” so as to avoid taint from the humanities. Thus, the consolidation transformation appears to involve solidifying an identity for the academic study of religion around the model of the human sciences, with the historical sciences playing an indispensable role. This leaves the formerly crucial task of comparing religious ideas and practices in an odd position, because it has only a slender natural affiliation with the social sciences, and because it runs counter to the professional ideal of area expertise, which dominates the social sciences.

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