Hume On Miricles
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A miracle is defined as an event or action that apparently contradicts scientific laws and is therefore thought to be due to supernatural causes or God. A miracle is based on an individuals own belief and their faith. It is based on interior events, such as things that we are taught and what religion we follow, and exterior events such as what we see firsthand. Hume doesnt disapprove miracles; even if miracles do exist we should not think they do.
Hume assumes an evidential attitude. He believes that the evidence of our senses is stronger that the evidence of testimony; meaning the things that we can see for ourselves with our own eyes defeats the evidence that hear from and outside source. We should never believe the testimony of others. He also believes that stronger evidence should be favored over weaker evidence. When the evidence of testimony conflicts with the evidence of the senses we should favor evidence of senses because it is the stronger evidence. Furthermore, he claims that the collective force of uniform past observations is greater than that of a single observation; meaning that if we experience something constantly in the past if we see the opposite happen one time we should not believe it. For example if we throw a penny in the air it will always fall down. We have seen this in past experiences. However if one time we throw a penny up in the air and it floats then we must not believe that it is true because we can be hallucinating and past experiences overpower this one experience. To prove that miracles do not exist, Hume says that past experiences that people have says that miracles do not exist. When was the last time someone actually saw a miracle? Most likely never. Therefore a new unique sense of experience should not be thought of as a miracle.
Humes circumstantial evidence against the occurrence of miracles talks about the civilizations which give testimony. Hume asks: Were there a sufficient amount of witnesses? Were the witnesses educated? Were the witnesses of good integrity? Many miracles that occur do not happen in the presence of a lot of people. It happens to either one person or to a small group. This means that there werent enough eyewitnesses to tell us what happened or that there are no eyewitnesses to tell us because most miracles happened in the past and they are not alive to tell us. The people who did see the miracle, how can we trust them? They could be con artist