Hume, Holism, and Miracles
Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion
Published by: Cornell University Press
128 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 18.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780801436635
- Published: October 1999
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.
"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
"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