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TREATMENT OF MIRACLES DAVID HUME AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING Miracles are upheld by subjective sense perceptions of past experiences They are described from the standpoint of an individuals own reality and perhaps influenced by religious beliefs In the strict sense a miracle could be described as a violation of nature caused by a supernatural power In the loose sense it could be described as any wonderful and surprising event that makes us feel glad and grateful Hume is most interested in the strict sense definition of a miracle as he interprets or defines a miracle as a violation of the laws of nature an event perceived abnormal to mankind Hume elucidates this point when he states Nothing is esteemed a miracle if it has ever happened in the common course of nature It is no miracle that a man seemingly in good health should die on a sudden Hume states that this death is quite unusual however it seemed to happen naturally He could only define it as a true miracle if this dead man were to come back to life This would be a miraculous event because such an experience has yet to be proven possible Hume critiques and discredits the belief in a miracle primarily for the reason that it acts adjacent to the laws of nature Hume defines the laws of nature to be what has been uniformly observed by mankind such as the laws of identity and gravity He holds that society is quick to label an event as a miracle and that often events as mis-catogorized as such He illustrates four ideas to support his argument in defining a true miracle Humes four considerations in defense of his skepticism are as follows Lack of credible witnesses human gullibility miracle reports coming mainly from ancient and barbarous nations and stories of miracles supporting varied and inconsistent religions Humes preliminary reason in refuting a miracle is based on the notion
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