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Miracles part b

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Introduction

Discuss the philosophical problems related to purported evidence for miracles (28) b) There are many philosophical problems relating to purported evidence for miracles and there are also many criticisms put forward by philosophers. The main criticiser of miracles is Hume. Hume put forward many criticisms which appear to discredit apparent miracles. However there are also criticisms which suggest that Hume's problems with the evidence for miracles aren't sufficient to reject the existence of miracles. One of the most important criticisms of miracles put forward was from Hume. He said that "there is not to be found in all history, any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men, of such unquestioned good sense, education and learning, as to secure us against all delusion." He argues that no single man is reliable and trustworthy enough to be believed, and that no miracle has been witnessed by enough people to be believed or proven to be true. This is important because if his argument to be believed, then miracles don't exist and have never occurred. However Hume didn't actually specify how many men constituted a sufficient number, or how good sense, education and learning was to be measured and judged. ...read more.

Middle

He used the Principle of Credulity which says that we should trust people and not be sceptical of what they say. He said that "if it seems to a person that X is present, then X probably is present." He also said that it should be up to the sceptic to prove the miracle didn't happen, not the other way round. He said that it is "reasonable to believe that the experiences of others are probably as they report them" which is supported by the Principle of Testimony, that states that people are unlikely to lie. This is important because it uses the opposite assumption of human nature to Hume. Hume assumes that people are untrustworthy and lie, whereas Swinburne argues that people don't always lie. A less important but still substantial criticism is Hume's comments on human nature and excitement. He said that it's in human nature to love excitement, and so people could be easily persuaded that they've experienced a miracle and talk about it more because it's exciting. He also states that miracles witnessed and recorded thousands of years ago are unreliable because the witnesses were "primitive and uneducated." ...read more.

Conclusion

Although philosophers such as Swinburne say that we must trust people, there have been numerous false claims of miracles occurring and so we must not be gullible and require some form of evidence. It is today widely accepted that the laws of nature are changeable or extendable and so events don't "violate" them which makes Hume's definition quite inadequate. However Hume's definition is regarded as the classical understanding of miracles, and has been accepted over time and so must be given some credit even if it isn't completely believable. Throughout history, miracles have been the subject of much debate due to the lack of evidential support backing them up. Hume's argument regarding testimonies is important and accurate when referring to miracles witnessed by one person with out any kind of other evidence. However it's not possible to determine if every single witness of a miracle is lying and many events thought to have been miracles have since been proved using today's science and more advances in science could further disprove thing events thought to have been miracles have since been proved using today's science and more advances in science could further disprove things we would assume to be miracles today. ...read more.

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