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Summary A miracle is a visible divine intervention, i.e. an event that God brings about directly instead of an event to which a causal process would have led. Evidence for the occurrence of such an event is evidence for the existence of God. The ordinary notion of a miracle includes also miracles performed by a man with special abilities that he received from God, but philosophers often do not include these cases in their concept of a miracle. Texts in this category discuss whether can be and whether there are such events and what the correct criteria for believing in such evidence are.
Key works Swinburne 2003 is a defense of one particular miracle claim, it is the most detailed account of how we can know about a miracle. Most criticisms of arguments from miracles are in the Humean tradition; see the category ‘Hume's argument against miracles’.
Introductions Twelftree 2011; Larmer 1988
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  1. Matthew C. Bagger (1997). Hume and Miracles. Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (2):237 - 251.
    "Hume and Miracles" relates Hume’s essay "Of Miracles" to the Port-Royal ’Logic’ and John Locke. It argues that Hume did not, as is often supposed, intend to suggest that well-attested miracle reports defeat themselves by undermining the laws of nature they defy. Instead, Hume argues that the specifically ’religious’ nature of the testimony relating to miracle claims rules out their acceptance because of the frequency of fraud in religious matters. Hume’s views are too austere because one might wish to reject (...)
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  2. David Basinger (1990). Miracles as Evidence for Theism. Sophia 29 (1):56 - 59.
    In an ongoing dialogue, Robert Larmer and I have been discussing whether the undisputed occurrence of certain conceivable events would require all honest, thoughtful individuals to acknowledge that God has intervened in earthly affairs. I argue that there is no reason to believe that a nontheist who acknowledged certain healings to be strong evidence for theism but did not see such evidence as outweighing what she viewed as the stronger counterevidence, and thus remained a nontheist, could justifiably be accused of (...)
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  3. Tristan Casabianca (2013). The Shroud of Turin: A Historiographical Approach. Heythrop Journal 54 (3):414-423.
    Criteria of historical assessment are applied to the Turin Shroud to determine which hypothesis relating to the image formation process is the most likely. To implement this, a ‘Minimal Facts’ approach is followed that takes into account only physicochemical and historical data receiving the widest consensus among contemporary scientists. The result indicates that the probability of the Shroud of Turin being the real shroud of Jesus of Nazareth is very high; historians and natural theologians should therefore pay it increased attention.
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  4. William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.) (2009). The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell Pub.
    Each of the in-depth essays explores at length a particular theistic argument - from Contingency and Consciousness to Reason and Religious Experience - with the ...
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  5. Helen De Cruz & Johan De Smedt (forthcoming). A Natural History of Natural Theology. The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion. MIT Press.
    [from the publisher's website] Questions about the existence and attributes of God form the subject matter of natural theology, which seeks to gain knowledge of the divine by relying on reason and experience of the world. Arguments in natural theology rely largely on intuitions and inferences that seem natural to us, occurring spontaneously—at the sight of a beautiful landscape, perhaps, or in wonderment at the complexity of the cosmos—even to a nonphilosopher. In this book, Helen De Cruz and Johan De (...)
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  6. Hent de Vries (2001). Of Miracles and Special Effects. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 50 (1-3):41 - 56.
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  7. Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2008). Review Of: O. Gingerich: God’s Universe. [REVIEW] Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 11:232-234.
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  8. William Grey (1993). Hume, Miracles, and the Paranorrnal. Cogito 7 (2):100-105.
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  9. Daniel Howard-Snyder (2003). On Hume's Philosophical Case Against Miracles. In Christopher Bernard (ed.), God Matters: Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. Longman Publications.
    According to the Christian religion, Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again”. I take it that this rising again—the Resurrection of Jesus, as it’s sometimes called—is, according to the Christian religion, an historical event, just like his crucifixion, death, and burial. And I would have thought that to investigate whether the Resurrection occurred, we would need to do some historical research: we would need to assess the reliability of (...)
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  10. Robert Larmer (1999). Miracles As Evidence for God. In God and Argument. Univ Ottawa Pr.
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  11. K. T. Maslin (1995). David Hume, 'of Miracles'. Cogito 9 (1):83-89.
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  12. Timothy McGrew & Lydia McGrew (2009). The Argument From Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell Pub. 593--662.
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  13. Peter Millican, Hume, Miracles, and Probabilities: Meeting Earman's Challenge.
    The centrepiece of Earman’s provocatively titled book Hume’s Abject Failure: The Argument against Miracles (OUP, 2000) is a probabilistic interpretation of Hume’s famous ‘maxim’ concerning the credibility of miracle reports, followed by a trenchant critique of the maxim when thus interpreted. He argues that the first part of this maxim, once its obscurity is removed, is simply trivial, while the second part is nonsensical. His subsequent discussion culminates with a forthright challenge to any would-be defender of Hume to ‘point (...)
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  14. Douglas Odegard (1982). Miracles and Good Evidence. Religious Studies 18 (1):37-46.
    EVEN IF ’MIRACLE’ MEANS A VIOLATION OF A LAW OF NATURE, A CASE CAN BE MADE FOR THINKING THAT MIRACLES ARE POSSIBLE, DETECTABLE, AND COMPATIBLE WITH SCIENCE. THE CASE WORKS BY DEFINING A LAW-VIOLATION AS AN EVENT OF A KIND THAT IS EPISTEMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS THERE IS GOOD EVIDENCE OF A GOD’S PRODUCING AN INSTANCE. HUMAN AND NON-HUMAN OBJECTIONS ARE CONSIDERED AND ANSWERED.
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  15. Christine Overall (2006). Miracles, Evidence, Evil, and God: A Twenty-Year Debate. Dialogue 45 (2):355-366.
    This paper is the latest in a debate with Robert Larmer as to whether the occurrence of a miracle would provide evidence for the existence of God or against the existence of God. Whereas Larmer’s view is categorical (miracles occur and are evidence for the existence of God), mine is hypothetical (if the events typically described as miracles were to occur -- although I do not believe they do -- they would be evidence against the existence of God). The reason (...)
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  16. Christine Overall (1985). Miracles as Evidence Against the Existence of God. Southern Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):347-353.
    AN ASSUMPTION IN DEBATES ABOUT THE PHILOSOPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MIRACLES IS THAT IF A MIRACLE (A VIOLATION OF NATURAL LAW OR A PERMANENTLY INEXPLICABLE EVENT) WERE TO OCCUR, IT WOULD BE EVIDENCE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN GOD. THE PAPER EXPLORES RESERVATIONS BY SEVERAL PHILOSOPHERS ABOUT THIS CONNECTION BETWEEN GOD AND MIRACLES, AND PRESENTS ARGUMENTS TO SHOW THAT IF A MIRACLE WERE TO OCCUR THERE WOULD BE GOOD REASON TO DENY THAT GOD EXISTS.
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  17. Terence Penelhum (2004). Review of Robert J. Fogelin, A Defense of Hume on Miracles, Princeton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (1).
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  18. Richard L. Purtill (1976). Proofs of Miracles and Miracles as Proofs. Christian Scholar’s Review 6.
    AS AGAINST HUME’S VIEW THAT "A MIRACLE CAN NEVER BE PROVED SO AS TO BE THE FOUNDATION OF A SYSTEM OF RELIGION" I ARGUE THAT THE POSSIBILITY OF MIRACLES CAN BE DEFENDED ON PHILOSOPHICAL GROUNDS, THAT THERE IS HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE OCCURRENCE OF CERTAIN MIRACLES AND THAT SUCH MIRACLES CAN IN FACT GIVE GROUNDS FOR THE PREFERENCE OF ONE SYSTEM OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF OVER ANOTHER.
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  19. Victor Reppert (1989). Miracles and the Case for Theism. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 25 (1):35 - 51.
    THIS PAPER IS A DISCUSSION OF MACKIE’S HUMEAN ARGUMENT THAT MIRACLES CANNOT PLAY A ROLE IN A CASE FOR THEISM. I ARGUE THAT MACKIE IS MISTAKEN IN CONTENDING THAT MIRACLES CANNOT FORM PART OF A CASE FOR THEISM. IF THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT CERTAIN EVENTS DEVIATE FROM THE ORDINARY COURSE OF NATURE, AND IF AFFIRMING THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WOULD RENDER THAT EVIDENCE MORE COMPREHENSIBLE THAN OTHERWISE, THEN IT MUST BE ADMITTED THAT EVIDENCE THAT THESE EVENTS HAVE OCCURRED IS EVIDENCE (...)
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  20. Jordan Howard Sobel (2004). Logic and Theism: Arguments for and Against Beliefs in God. Cambridge University Press.
    This is a wide-ranging book about arguments for and against belief in God.
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  21. James E. Taylor (2007). Hume on Miracles: Interpretation and Criticism. Philosophy Compass 2 (4):611–624.
    Philosophers continue to debate about David Hume’s case against the rationality of belief in miracles. This article clarifies semantic, epistemological, and metaphysical questions addressed in the controversy. It also explains the main premises of Hume’s argument and discusses criticisms of them. The article concludes that one’s evaluation of Hume’s argument will depend on one’s views about (a) the definitions of ’miracle’ and ’natural law’; (b) the type of reasoning one ought to employ to determine the probability that a particular miracle (...)
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  22. J. C. Thornton (1984). Miracles and God's Existence. Philosophy 59 (228):219 - 229.
    THE AUTHOR ARGUES THAT THE HUMEAN "A PRIORI" ATTACK ON MIRACLES IS INTENDED TO SHOW THE INCOHERENCE OF THE NOTION OF A WELL-ATTESTED MIRACULOUS EVENT (NOT THE INCOHERENCE OF THE CONCEPT OF A MIRACLE). THOUGH THIS TYPE OF ATTACK CAN BE PRESENTED IN A POWERFUL FORM, IT SUFFERS FROM AN UNDULY NARROW ASSUMPTION CONCERNING THE NATURE OF EVIDENCE AND EXPLANATION, FOR IT "IS" POSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH IT WOULD BE REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT A MIRACLE HAS OCCURRED. HOWEVER, (...)
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