Item description for Hume, Holism, and Miracles: Women, Catholicism, and the Culture of Suffering in France, 1840-1970 by David Johnson...
David Johnson seeks to overthrow one of the widely accepted tenets of Anglo-American philosophy that of the success of the Humean case against the rational credibility of reports of miracles. In a manner unattempted in any other single work, he meticulously examines all the main variants of Humean reasoning on the topic of miracles: Hume's own argument and its reconstructions by John Stuart Mill, J. L. Mackie, Antony Flew, Jordan Howard Sobel, and others.Hume's view, set forth in his essay "Of Miracles," has been widely thought to be correct. Johnson reviews Hume's thesis with clarity and elegance and considers the arguments of some of the most prominent defenders of Hume's case against miracles. According to Johnson, the Humean argument on this topic is entirely without merit, its purported cogency being simply a philosophical myth."
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Studio: Cornell University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.36" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.54" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Oct 7, 1999
Publisher Cornell University Press
ISBN 080143663X ISBN13 9780801436635
Availability 53 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 24, 2017 10:15.
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More About David Johnson
Johnson is currently manager at LANWrights, Inc
David Johnson currently resides in Austin, in the state of Texas. David Johnson was born in 1970.
David Johnson has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Hume, Holism, and Miracles (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion)?
Hume's Miracle of Rhetoric Jan 12, 2003
Johnson's bottom line is that insofar as Hume's argument against miracles is persuasive, it's a triumph of rhetoric over reason. What's surprising, in Johnson's view, is just how wide the triumph has been. Nonetheless, Johnson argues convincingly, when Hume and his followers argue that no testimony could ever establish a miracle, they invariably end up begging one question or another. For example, Flew argues that in interpreting the "detritus of the past" -- including reports of miracles -- the "critical historian" must always give priority to the stock of natural laws we take ourselves to have established. The upshot is supposed to be that in any contest between science and history, history is bound to lose. But as Johhson points out, the experimental reports underlying our beliefs about the laws of nature are themselves part of this "detritus of the past." That means our belief in laws of nature depends on our belief that certain historical events have actually occurred -- a belief based on testimony.
Johnson himself accepts that various biblical miracles actually occurred, but one need not be a believer to take his point. And his point is that if we are allowed to take all our knowledge into account (that's the bit about holism), it would be very strange if a purely philosophical argument could show that NO testimony could possibly make it reasonable to believe in a miracle.
When you think about it, this is a rather modest conclusion. It's similar to the conclusion that John Earman arrives at in _Hume's Abject Failure_, though Earman's issues and arguments are more technical. Indeed, one is inclined to apply Hume's own slogan and say that a those who accept the Humean view ought to be conscious of a continuing miracle in their own persons, persuading them to accept something contrary to philosophical good sense, if not to custom and experience.