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Twenty Questions about Hume's “Of Miracles”*

  • Peter Millican (a1)

Hume's essay on the credibility of miracle reports has always been controversial, with much debate over how it should be interpreted, let alone assessed. My aim here is to summarise what I take to be the most plausible views on these issues, both interpretative and philosophical, with references to facilitate deeper investigation if desired. The paper is divided into small sections, each headed by a question that provides a focus. Broadly speaking, §§1–3 and §20 are on Hume's general philosophical framework within which the essay is situated, §§4–11 and §19 are on Part 1, §12–18 are on Part 2, and the final three sections §§18–20 sum up my assessment of his arguments.

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John Earman (2000), Hume's Abject Failure: The Argument Against Miracles, Oxford University Press.

Christopher C. French and Krissy Wilson (2007), “Cognitive Factors Underlying Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences”, In Sergio Della Sala (ed.), Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain: Separating Fact from Fiction, Oxford University Press, pp. 322.

J. C. A. Gaskin (1988), Hume's Philosophy of Religion, Macmillan, second edition.

Thomas Gilovich , Dale Griffin , and Daniel Kahneman , eds (2002), Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment, Cambridge University Press.

Joseph Houston (1994), Reported Miracles: A Critique of Hume, Cambridge University Press.

Colin Howson (2000), Hume's Problem: Induction and the Justification of Belief, Clarendon Press.

David Hume (1751), An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. Tom L. Beauchamp, Oxford University Press, 1998 (references indicated by “M” and given to section and paragraph number).

John Locke (1690), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. P. H. Nidditch , Clarendon Press, 1975 (“Essay”, references given to book, chapter and section number).

Barry Stroud (1977), Hume, Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Richard Swinburne (1996), Is There a God?, Oxford University Press.

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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements
  • ISSN: 1358-2461
  • EISSN: 1755-3555
  • URL: /core/journals/royal-institute-of-philosophy-supplements
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