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The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion$
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William J. Wainwright

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195138092

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195138090.001.0001

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Miracles

Miracles

Chapter:
(p.304) 12 MIRACLES
Source:
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion
Author(s):

George I. Mavrodes (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195138090.003.0013

This chapter discusses the miraculous largely in the context of Western philosophy of religion and therefore largely in the context of a concern with Christianity. The main elements of the discussion are: (1) A definition of the miraculous, basically a modified version of David Hume’s notion of a divinely caused violation of a law of nature; (2) a brief discussion of the main functions which religious thought (mainly Christian) seems to assign to miracles. I divide these roles into two categories. One involves some epistemic effect, such as providing someone with a basis or justification for belief. The other involves some other, non-epistemic, effect, such as providing physical healing,spiritual salvation, etc. (3) A further discussion of epistemic concerns, mostly about the role of miracles as evidence for some belief, and the converse role of evidenceas justifying a belief in miracles; (4) a further discussion of testimonial evidence in particular, and of how such evidence properly bears on judgments of probability.

Keywords:   epistemic effect (of miracles), evidence, Hume, law of nature, non-epistemic effect (of miracles), miracle, probability, testimonial evidence, violation of a law of nature

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