Hume on Laws and Miracles

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4) (2018)
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Abstract

Hume famously argues that the laws of nature provide us with decisive reason to believe that any testimony of a miracle is false. In this paper, I argue that the laws of nature, as such, give us no reason at all to believe that the testimony of a miracle is false. I first argue that Hume’s proof is unsuccessful if we assume the Humean view of laws, and then I argue that Hume’s proof is unsuccessful even if we assume the governing view of laws. I conclude that regardless of which kind of view we adopt, the fact that a miracle is a violation of the laws of nature does not give us any reason to believe it did not happen.

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Nathan Rockwood
Brigham Young University

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