history paper 1 - Shamroe 1 Danielle Shamroe Professor...

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Shamroe 1 Danielle Shamroe Professor Kwass 17 February 2011 History 4355 Hidden Agenda : David Hume's Application for Miracles A number of people can recall the miraculous event of the birth of Jesus from a virginal mother; however, has anyone questioned whether the evidence is plausible? Perhaps there could be another side to the story, and David Hume might answer with another question: how reliable is the witness and is the time period in which the miracle took place significant? The scottish philosopher, historian, and essayist was known especially for his philosophical skepticism, and yet Hume strived to produce rational ideas to solve the validity of miraculous occurrences that may happen throughout time. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a miracle as, “an unusual and mysterious event that is thought to have been caused by a god, or any very surprising and unexpected event;” however, after studying Hume's definition, one can interpret a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature. The natural laws that Hume describe seems to be an “uniformly” observation by mankind, such as the laws of identity and gravity. Hume has been identified as an enemy to religion, so one can assume his view of the laws of nature as a skeptic who does not believe in a God, so he produced an argument based on the materialistic world. Hume further explains that, “it is not miracle that a man, seeming in good health, should die on a sudden. ..but it is a miracle, that a dead man should come to life” (Kramnick page 109). Hume states that this death is quite unusual, however it seemed to happen naturally, so based on his standards for miracles, the death would not justified as earning the appellation. However, if the dead man were to come back to life then it would go against the laws of nature, thus have the right to the name. Regardless, Hume asks his audience to question the testimonial evidence found to support miracles, because gaining validation for a testimony is just as critical, as questioning who gave
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Shamroe 2 the testimony. Hume argues that testimonies do not suffice as appropriate evidence, because one must consider which is more likely: for one to believe that the miracles did in fact happen, or someone was falsely saying it did. David Hume's skeptical ideas question the credibility of miracles by attacking the probability of testimonies and by critically analyzing the importance of evidence. The credibility of miracles is scrutinized when Hume evaluates the accountability of
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history paper 1 - Shamroe 1 Danielle Shamroe Professor...

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