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Hume on prophecy



Hume claims that his argument against miracles applies ‘without any variation’ to prophecies. While Hume's argument against miracles has been thoroughly examined in the philosophical literature, his claim that this argument works against prophecies has been left relatively unexplored. In this article I examine Hume's conception of ‘prophecy’ and I argue that it is flawed. I also argue, however, that Hume's argument against miracles does indeed apply to prophecies, but only if we amend Hume's conception of ‘prophecy’. I articulate and defend such an amendment.



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Beauchamp, Tom (1999) ‘Introduction’ to Hume, David, An Enquiry Human Understanding (New York: Oxford University Press).
Davison, Scott (2010) ‘Prophecy’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Summer 2010, Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), <>.
Harrison, Peter (1999) ‘Early modern apologetics, and Hume's argument against miracles’, Journal of History of Ideas, 60, 241256.
Hume, David (1999) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Beauchamp, Tom L. (ed.) (New York: Oxford University Press).
Spinoza, Baruch (1862) Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, Willis, Robert (tr.) (London: Trubner & Co.).
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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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