The "Indian Prince" in Miracle Arguments of Hume and His Predecessors and Early Critics

Philosophy and Rhetoric 31 (3):175 - 230 (1998)
Abstract
This essay examines miracle arguments employing Hume’s "Indian prince" (Locke’s "king of Siam," Butler’s "prince") in works from Locke to Richard Price, and explains the relation of those arguments to Hume’s "Of Miracles." Miracle advocates aimed to weaken the authority of uniform experience and strengthen testimony, but their arguments, more skeptical than Hume’s, undermined their case for miracles. Hume’s early critics objected that: by his theory, no novel facts, including miracles, can be inferred; he mistakenly collapsed testimony into reasoning from experience; and, miracles are no more contrary to our uniform experience than ice was to Hume’s "Indian prince."
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