Scepticism and belief in the supernatural

Heythrop Journal 21 (2):137–152 (1980)
Abstract
THE OBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE IS TO SHOW THAT SCEPTICISM IS NOT ALWAYS USED TO CHALLENGE BELIEFS: IT IS SOMETIMES USED TO "FOSTER" CERTAIN BELIEFS. GLANVILL’S SCEPTICISM REGARDING OUR KNOWLEDGE OF NATURAL CAUSES IS BASED ON THE WEAKNESS AND LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING. BUT THIS ALLOWS HIM TO ARGUE FOR THE EQUAL POSSIBILITY OF BOTH NATURAL AND NON-NATURAL CAUSES, AND THUS OPENS THE DOOR TO BELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL. HUME, HOWEVER, WHOSE SCEPTICISM IS ALSO BASED ON THE LIMITATIONS OF THE UNDERSTANDING, REJECTS ANY EXPLANATION WHICH IS OVER AND ABOVE OUR UNDERSTANDING, THAT IS, EXPLANATIONS IN TERMS OF NON-NATURAL CAUSES
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