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Humes Posteriori Argument against Miracles is not Valid - Coursework Example

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"Hume’s Posteriori Argument against Miracles is not Valid" paper argues that although the first of Hume’s three ‘a posteriori argument succeeds in showing that there may be no miracle proofs, it doesn’t show that there is not a sufficient probability for establishing our test case…
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Humes Posteriori Argument against Miracles is not Valid
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Download file to see previous pages In this essay “On Miracles,” Hume argues against the miraculous (Mossner 64). His argument is divided into two parts, his a priori (before the experience) argument of part I, and his a posteriori (after the experience) argument of part II. The ‘a priori argument’ argues that miracles are incredible events that cannot be believed because I) The testimonial evidence will never provide enough verification conclusively, that one has occurred (this is his main point), and 2) by a miracle's definition and principle (of violating natural law), it cannot be believed (a sub-point) (Spencer 99). The ‘a posteriori argument’ states that even if miracles were a possibility according to evidence, they, in fact, have never occurred (Johnson & Anthony, 72). Hume’s ‘a posteriori argument’ has some merit from a general perspective, they are problematic from the perspective of an individual miracle test-case, i.e., the alleged resurrection of Jesus.

In his first argument from a posteriori considerations, Hume sets out the qualitative requirements of proof and a successful probability for a miracle along with the quantitative requirements of a miracle proof, and he argues for the (implied) thesis that the quantitative requirements of proof have not been satisfied (Hume, Enquiry, 116-117).

For Hume, the following qualitative conditions are required for a good individual miracle-testimony: the witness must be highly educated, socially outstanding, patently honest, have lots to lose by lying, and be situated in such circumstances that, if lying, the exposure would readily result. But also, according to Hume, a "full assurance" i.e., a proof-based on the satisfaction of these qualitative conditions is not forthcoming, since there has not been "a sufficient number" of conjoinings of qualitatively good individual miracle-testimonies with the miraculous objects of those testimonies (Hume, Enquiry, 56,58). Thus, in defense of the thesis that the testimony for a miracle does not amount to a proof, he points out that there have not been enough witnesses who have these qualifications. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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