- Series: Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion
- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Cornell University Press; First Edition edition (October 5, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780801436635
- ISBN-13: 978-0801436635
- ASIN: 080143663X
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,139,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hume, Holism, and Miracles (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion) First Edition Edition
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"Johnson writes concisely and argues incisively. These qualities, though creating difficulties for undergraduates, will be attractive to philosophers reading this inventive and very worthwhile... contribution to the miracles debate."(Australasian Journal of Philosophy)
"A book of quality, brevity, and, in many places, charm, Hume, Holism and Miracles is a major contribution both to the philosophy of religion and to Hume scholarship."(Robert Audi, University of Nebraska)
"Johnson defends Hume's own treatment from some of the usual barbs, and presents as clear a statement of Hume's reasoning as I have seen anywhere."(William Harper, University of Alabama Philosophy in Review)
"The discussion of terms constitutes one of the most valuable features of the book. Undergraduates embarking on a study of Hume will benefit immensely from the definitions themselves and from the discussion of issues implicit in the definitions of these terms. Graduates will benefit from examining closely reasoned arguments.... While the volume will not change the minds of confirmed Humeans, it does constitute a needed counterweight in Humean studies."(Choice)
"This short book.... consists of an incisive and illuminating critical study of Hume's celebrated chapter, "Of Miracles," and of the elaborations and defenses of that line of argument by several later philosophers.... There is much to be learned here about testimony and miracles, about the doing of philosophy, and in some cases about the history of philosophy."(George I. Mavrodes, University of Michigan Philosophia Christi)
About the Author
David Johnson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yeshiva University.
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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.
Hume claims that, given what we know about the world, people don't come back from the dead. Hearsay evidence of a claim to the contrary is weaker evidence than the collective and universal experience of mankind, that people don't come back from the dead. It seems awfully risky to put people to death if they're just going to get right back up after a couple days and come after you. "Dead men tell no tales" is not an old maxim without good reason. The debate over capital punishment would seem somehow less urgent if we could have resurrections at will. Yet Johnson somehow sees Hume's argument as "circular". Hmmmmm. Really? Now how is that again, Mr Johnson? Circular? The universal and collective experience of mankind is that dead is dead. Hearsay to the contrary is meaningless in the face of such. Dracula and zombie undead are fictional, and they are entertaining fictions, but fictions they remain.