Agreeing With David Hume's Theory on Miracles Essay

Agreeing With David Hume's Theory on Miracles Essay

Length: 1107 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

I will argue that Hume's argument is plausible in explaining why it is highly improbable for a miracle to occur because no testimony given by a person can establish a miracle, as it would require an explanation that overrules the laws of nature, which is highly unlikely. I agree with Hume's argument, and believe that it is correct; however, there are some objections I have in regards to some of his points.

The central claim that Hume is trying to make is that no testimony given by a person can establish a miracle. Hume explains how a miracle may exist, “Unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous” (Enquiry X.1, p. 77). Hume believes that the only way a miracle may occur is if the falsehood of the testimony would be a greater miracle, which is not possible to occur. Human testimony has no real connection with any miraculous event. Experience is what provides the ability for humans to believe in something. Experience provides truth, remembrance, and dismisses false statements when they are presented. The only way a miracle can exist is if the testimony given by the person could actually establish a miracle, which to Hume is not probable.

Hume states that proof derives from past experience, and probability is the result of opposed experiences, “And as the evidence, derived from witnesses and human testimony, is founded on past experience, so it varies with the experience, and is regarded either as a proof or a probability, according as the conjunction between any particular kind of report” (Enquiry X.1, p. 73-74). To Hume, the probability of something occurring in contradiction to all uniform experiences must always be judged to be less than the probability that the senses are deceiving ...


... middle of paper ...


...een observed” (Enquiry X.1, p. 77). To Hume, the laws of nature are things based on uniform experience, things that have previously happened, and will always occur. Now a violation of nature is something that does not always happen, for example, a rock not falling to the ground after a person lets go of it. So a miracle is something that is not expected to happen, or has never happened before. Following these premises, Hume says that a dead man coming back to life is a miracle; because it has never been observed is sort of ridiculous. People do not just sit and observe dead people coming back to life, because they know it just will not happen. This is a flaw in Hume's argument that I believe damages his point.


Works Cited

Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. 2nd edition. Eric Steinberg, ed.
Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993 [1777].

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

David Hume and Justice Essay example

- David Hume is considered a reputable and influential philosopher whose empirical approach provided a basis for a number of moral principles. Although the complexity of Hume’s expressive nature and intellectual thought is somewhat mindboggling to most readers, the importance of the account of justice can be seen as significant and of relevance to many values and morals in even today’s society. Hume’s discussion of moral virtues in his book An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals addresses the importance of justice in terms that relate to its sole foundation and further exemplification of moral distinctions....   [tags: Empiricists, Empiricism]

Strong Essays
1257 words (3.6 pages)

David Hume ( 1711-1776 ) Essay

- DAVID HUME (1711-1776) is considered as one of the more notable philosophers that was a representative of the empiricism. Hume stated that it was critical that the concept of causality wasn’t denied and that this principle had an existing objective. He argued that cause and effect are factors that not are united by ties needed; if not that his union is arbitrary. By custom or by habits, nothing ensures that the logical or experience happens without a cause. For example the Sunrise necessarily follows an effect: supply of heat to the Earth....   [tags: Metaphysics, Ontology, Causality, David Hume]

Strong Essays
817 words (2.3 pages)

How We Gain Knowledge and What We Do with Knowledge: David Hume Essay

- David Hume was an imperialist philosopher who revolutionized scientific argument and methodology with his skepticism. His arguments about the way people though up to his day, and still today, are fundamental in explaining how we gain knowledge and what we do with this knowledge. Hume helped pave a road leading toward a higher state of consciousness for humanity with his theory concerning the perceptions of the mind. He divided the minds perception into two distinct group's impression and ideas. With these two classifications Hume rationalized the depths of human understanding....   [tags: David Hume, Knowledge, philosophy]

Strong Essays
1766 words (5 pages)

Free Will And The Theory Of Determinism Essay

- Humans have always question if we have free will or if we are unconsciously control by someone, and to understand or to answer the question, first we have to understand what is free will. According to the oxford dictionary, free will is the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion. However, most philosophers have decided that there might not be one single concept for the definition of free will. The question of free will has been around for ages and philosopher have taken sides....   [tags: Free will, Determinism, Causality, Psychology]

Strong Essays
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume

- David Hume wrote Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding in 1748, right in the middle of the Enlightenment and on the eve of the Industrial and Scientific Revolution. So it only makes sense that some of the ideas and comparisons used are slightly outdated, but science, if anything, helps his argument regarding causality. Hume is ultimately concerned with the origins of causality, how we are able to gain knowledge from causality, and if we can even call the knowledge derived from causality real knowledge....   [tags: David Hume, Enlightenment]

Strong Essays
1049 words (3 pages)

David Hume's Theory of Ethics Essay

- David Hume is considered to be one of the big three British empiricists, along with Hobbes and Locke, and lived near the end of the Enlightenment. The Catholic Church was losing its control over science, politics and philosophy and the Aristotelian world view was being swallowed up by a more mechanistic viewpoint. Galileo found the theory provided by Copernicus to be correct, that our earth was not the center of everything, but the celestial bodies including the earth circled the sun. Mathematicians abounded....   [tags: Empiricists, Empiricism]

Strong Essays
1677 words (4.8 pages)

The Bundle Theory by David Hume Essay

- The mystery of consciousness has puzzled humans for thousands of years. We feel pain, hunger, and countless other perceived emotions that we know to be true. We are all aware that we are conscious; however, nobody has discovered whether or not the human body is organized in a specific way that leads to consciousness. The fact is that the existence of consciousness, the very essence of knowledge, is undeniable, regardless of the lack of a concrete systematic organization of facts to explain it....   [tags: Empiricists, Empiricism]

Strong Essays
1369 words (3.9 pages)

On Emotion and Value in David Hume and Max Scheler Essay

- On Emotion and Value in David Hume and Max Scheler ABSTRACT: While some philosophers tend to exclude any significance of emotion for the moral life, others place them in the center of both the moral life and the theory of value judgment. This paper presents a confrontation of two classic positions of the second type, namely the position of Hume and Scheler. The ultimate goal of this confrontation is metatheoretical — particularly as it concerns the analysis of the relations between the idea of emotion and the idea of value in this kind of theory of value judgment....   [tags: David Hume Max Scheler Philosophy Essays]

Strong Essays
2866 words (8.2 pages)

David Hume - Naturalistic Metaethics, Politics, and Psychology Essay

- David Hume - Naturalistic Metaethics, Politics, and Psychology ABSTRACT: According to the views expressed in this paper, influences unrelated to the conclusions of Immanuel Kant and G. E. Moore respecting what they saw as the appropriate foundation for moral systems seems to have been at work in the reactions of both to the earlier criticisms of David Hume. Building on a "recent meeting" with Hume in a pub on Princes Street in Edinburgh, I develop the suggestion that both Kant and Moore were loyal to traditional notions of an intuited, non-prudential basis for ethical injunctions....   [tags: Philosophy David Hume]

Free Essays
3933 words (11.2 pages)

Essay about David Hume's Theory of Knowledge

- Knowledge is gained only through experience, and experiences only exist in the mind as individual units of thought. This theory of knowledge belonged to David Hume, a Scottish philosopher. Hume was born on April 26, 1711, as his family’s second son. His father died when he was an infant and left his mother to care for him, his older brother, and his sister. David Hume passed through ordinary classes with great success, and found an early love for literature. He lived on his family’s estate, Ninewells, near Edinburgh....   [tags: Empiricists, Empiricism]

Strong Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)