Hume on Miracles Essay

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Hume on Miracles

It is evident in David Hume's writing of "An Equity Concerning Human Understanding" that he does not believe that miracles take place. Hume is a man of logic, who believes in experience over knowledge. Of course it is hard for such a man to believe in extraordinary claims without being there to witness them. Especially when such events require a lot of faith.
In order for an event to be deemed a miracle, it must disobey the laws of nature. However, it is these same laws that disprove almost any miracle that has ever been reported. He writes that some events that people report as miracles truly are not. For example, it is not a miracle, that fire burns wood, or that a healthy man dies, because both of these are
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Then and only then would he be able to be sure that a person was not motivated by any other force when claiming that what they saw was actually a miracle. In so many words, Hume wrote, "that no testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony is of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish…" (pg. 674, col.1). He then goes on to say that at no time has there been "any miracle attested by a sufficient number of men of such unquestioned good sense, education, and learning, as to secure us against all delusion in themselves…" (pg. 674, col.2). His point being that no scholar would ever back such an obsurd story because of the risk of being ridiculed by his piers. He says that miracles are further disproved by the fact that most of them are reported by ignorant, barbarous people of past generations. Some of the things that these people have reported as marvelous are common among later generations, so their mysteriousness has been lost and they are no longer miracles. If you are wondering why stories like these do not originate today, Hume says they do, but we rule them out as lies. According to him, people have always had tendencies to stretch the truth and

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