Locke and Hume on Competing Miracles

Religious Studies:1-15 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Christian apologists argue that the testimony of the miracles of Jesus provide evidence for Christianity. Hume tries to undermine this argument by pointing out that miracles are said to occur in other religious traditions and so miracles do not give us reason to believe in Christianity over the alternatives. Thus, competing miracles act as an undercutting defeater for the argument from miracles for Christianity. Yet, before Hume, Locke responds to this kind of objection, and in this paper I explain and defend his response. In short, Locke argues that God will ensure that there is more evidence for Christianity (if true) and this greater evidence is an undercutting defeater for Hume’s competing miracles defeater (i.e., it is a defeater-defeater). If so, then, as Locke argues, competing miracles do not weaken the evidence from miracles for Christianity.

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Nathan Rockwood
Brigham Young University

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References found in this work

Contemporary Theories of Knowledge.John Pollock - 1986 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (1):131-140.
Lockean Essentialism and the Possibility of Miracles.Nathan Rockwood - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2):293-310.
Locke’s Miracle Mistake.Robert Larmer - 2022 - Sophia 61 (4):727-736.

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