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Knowledge, Belief, and GodNew Insights in Religious Epistemology$
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Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Dani Rabinowitz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798705

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798705.001.0001

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Hume, Defeat, and Miracle Reports

Hume, Defeat, and Miracle Reports

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 Hume, Defeat, and Miracle Reports
Source:
Knowledge, Belief, and God
Author(s):

Charity Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198798705.003.0002

No one believes every miracle report they hear. At least, no one I know. For religious and non-religious alike, it is common to disbelieve testimony to the miraculous; it is also common to dismiss such testimony outright. This chapter investigates the rationality of failing to believe miracle reports. Hume famously argued that it is irrational to believe that a miracle has occurred on the basis of testimony alone. While certain aspects of Hume’s argument have received extensive discussion, other features of his argument have been largely overlooked. After offering a reconstruction of Hume’s argument, I will argue that epistemic defeat plays a central role in the argument and explore the aptness of as well as some limitations to Hume’s reasoning.

Keywords:   epistemology, formal epistemology, social epistemology, religious belief, epistemology of religion, arguments for theism

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