Arguments for Theism

Edited by Daniel Von Wachter (International Academy of Philosophy In The Principality of Liechtenstein)
About this topic
Summary Theism is generally taken to be the view that there is a person who is bodiless, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, perfectly good, perfectly free, and who is the creator and sustainer of the universe. There are of course  different ways to spell out these attributes, for example some spell out ‘eternal‘ as ‘being outside of time‘, others as ‘everlasting‘. However, those who present arguments for or against the ‘existence of God‘ use the term ‘God’ similarly enough to be discussing the same question. Philosophers rather say that there is no God than using ‘God’ in a very different sense, for example in the sense of something other than a person. Most or all arguments for or against theism, today as well as in the past, are not assumed to make belief in God somehow ‘apodictically‘ certain. However, some arguments are deductive, others inductive.
Key works The most thorough defense of the existence of God is Swinburne 2004, who gives probabilistic, inductive instead of deductive arguments and who rejects the ontological as well as the moral argument from the existence of values or duties. Plantinga 1974 defends the ontological argument, Adams 1979 the moral argument. Mackie 1982 is still a much quoted defense of atheism. Rowe 2010 presents an atheistic position.
Introductions Most anthologies with the title ‘philosophy of religion’ contain articles that give the various arguments, for example Craig 2002 or Davies 2000, and also Meister & Copan 2007, Taliaferro & Meister 2009, and Copan & Moser 2003. A simplified defense of theism with various arguments is Swinburne 1996, Le Poidevin 1996 is an introductory defense atheism.
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  1. The Third Age: Reflections on Our Hidden Material Core.Lenart Škof - forthcoming - Sophia:1-12.
    This paper deals with the concept of three eras, as brought to us firstly in the Babylonian Talmud, and later reshaped and reformulated by Christian theologians Joachim of Fiore, Amalric of Bène, and finally by Luce Irigaray. In the first part, we start with the idea of the three eras. This is followed by a critical approach to Sloterdijk’s You must change your life in which religion is substituted by the anthropotechnics. We argue that even in these secular times, the (...)
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  2. Zölibat als Risikofaktor für sexuellen Missbrauch?Godehard Brüntrup - 2019 - In Matthias Remenyi & Thomas Schärtl (eds.), Nicht ausweichen: Theologie angesichts der Missbrauchskrise. Regensburg, Deutschland: pp. 109 - 124.
  3. Panpsychismus und Handeln Gottes.Godehard Brüntrup - 2017 - In Georg/ Jaskolla Gasser (ed.), Handbuch für analytische Theologie. Münster, Deutschland: pp. 917-947.
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  4. Shame and Absence: Feminist and Theological Reflections.Lenart Škof - forthcoming - Sophia:1-3.
  5. The ineffability of God.Omar Fakhri - forthcoming - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-17.
    I defend an account of God’s ineffability that depends on the distinction between fundamental and non-fundamental truths. I argue that although there are fundamentally true propositions about God, no creature can have them as the object of a propositional attitude, and no sentence can perfectly carve out their structures. Why? Because these propositions have non-enumerable structures. In principle, no creature can fully grasp God’s intrinsic nature, nor can they develop a language that fully describes it. On this account, the ineffability (...)
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  6. Introduction to the symposium.Michael S. Jones - 2020 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 87 (3):201-202.
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  7. Tertullian on Divine Sovereignty and Free Will in Advance.David Clark - forthcoming - Philosophy and Theology.
    Christian thinkers in the patristic era were not reluctant to integrate classical philosophy with biblical theology as they addressed the seeming incompatibility of free will and determinism (fate). This paper compares and contrasts Tertullian and the Stoics as they explain three issues relating to freedom and fate: 1) The operation of the Logos, 2) Theological Anthropology, and 3) Teleology. While in agreement with the Stoics on several key points, Tertullian crucially departs from them as he argues it is not by (...)
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  8. Izydora Dqmbska (1904-1983). Materialy z sympozium, „Non est necesse vivere, necesse est philosophar" Kraków, 18-19 grudnia 1998 r. [Izydora Dąmbska (1904-1983). Materialien aus dem Symposion „Non est necesse vivere, necesse est philosophari" Kraków, 18-19 Dezember 1998]. [REVIEW]Józef Bremer - 2002 - Forum Philosophicum: International Journal for Philosophy 7:266-268.
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  9. Do Logic and Religion Mix?James Collin - 2017 - In Duncan Pritchard & Mark Harris (eds.), Philosophy, Science and Religion for Everyone. London, UK:
    Logic is the study of the validity of arguments, which is to say the study of when a conclusion follows or does not follow from a set of premises. Logic is an ancient discipline pioneered by Aristotle and developed by some of the greatest thinkers in the Middle Ages. However, in the nineteenth century logic underwent a remarkable transformation into a precise branch of mathematics that changed the nature of logic, and the study of religion, forever. Both religious adherents and (...)
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  10. Samuel Clarke.Richard Brian Davis - forthcoming - In Christian Apologists and Their Critics. Hoboken, NJ, USA:
    Clarke, Samuel (1675-1729) British theologian and philosopher. Widely regarded as the leading metaphysician in Britain after the death of John Locke (1632-1704) (Vailati 1998, p. xxxiv), Clarke’s most important apologetic contributions are contained in his Boyle Lectures (delivered in 1704 and 1705).
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  11. Signs and Wonders. [REVIEW]Todd Buras - 2012 - Books and Culture: A Christian Review 18:22-24.
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  12. Життєвий цикл соціально-економічних систем.Sergii Sardak - 2016 - Маркетинг І Менеджмент Інновацій 1:157-169.
    У статті розглянуто ознаки системи, особливості соціально-економічних систем та системного підходу. Враховано вплив аксіоматики, закономірностей та законів на розвиток систем. Досліджено циклічні закономірності у різнорівневих соціально-економічних системах. Визначено проблемно-дискусійні питання та спільні системні ознаки циклічності. Ідентифіковано структуру життєвого циклу соціально-економічної системи із визначенням загальних та конкретних складових елементів повторюваних змін за позасистемними та системними показниками.
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  13. The Application Features of Seasonal-Cyclic Patterns in International Financial Markets.Sergii Sardak & O. Benenson O. Dzhusov, S. Smerichevskyi, S. Sardak, O. Klimova - 2019 - Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal 23 (5):1-10.
    The paper deals with the topical issue of studying cyclic patterns in the economy and their practical application for the forecasts on the development of financial markets. The work aims to establish the features of the seasonal-cyclic patterns "The January barometer" and "The first five days of January" in the international financial markets in current conditions and to develop recommendations for the practical application of these patterns in the investment activities. The US stock market as an integral part of the (...)
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  14. Natural Theology & Classical Apologetics.Joshua Synon - manuscript
    An essay concerning the arguments from natural theology for the existence of a theistic God. This is the second edition of an essay that I felt compelled to write in 2006. The first edition was quite uncritical of the various arguments examined. However, after further study, I felt the need to revise the arguments and, ultimately, the conclusion. Although I may no longer agree with everything written in this essay it remains an important part of my spiritual journey. Some ideas (...)
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  15. Handbook of the First World Congress on Logic and Religion.Ricardo Sousa Silvestre & Jean-Yves Beziau (eds.) - 2015 - Campina Grande, PB, Brasil: EDUFCG.
  16. Cumulative Cases.Paul Draper - 2010 - In Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper & Philip L. Quinn (eds.), A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. Malden, MA, USA: pp. 414-424.
    Three types of cumulative cases for theism are examined: incremental cases (like Richard Swinburne's), distributive cases (like William Lane Craig's), and emergent cases (like Basil Mitchell's).
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  17. God or Blind Nature? Philosophers Debate the Evidence.Paul Draper (ed.) - 2008 - The Secular Web.
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  18. Craig's Case for God's Existence.Paul Draper - 2003 - In Stan W. Wallace (ed.), Does God Exist? The Antony Flew/William Lane Craig Debate. pp. 141-154.
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  19. God’s Self-Manifestation and Moser’s Moral Approach in Justifying Belief in God.Azam Sadat Hoseini Hoseinabad, Zahra Khazaei & Mohsen Javadi - 2018 - پژوهشنامه فلسفه دین 16 (1):41-64.
    The present paper depicts Moser’s view on the justification of the belief in God. By debunking the efficiency of mere theoretical reason in proving the existence of God, introducing God as the source of justification, and using a moral perspective, he proposes a kind of voluntary knowledge. He assumes the right path to acquire true knowledge of god to be a direct and purposeful evidence, which is found in accordance to divine attributes. For their own redemption, before the interference of (...)
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  20. The Case Against Theism: Why the Evidence Disproves God’s Existence.Jacobus Erasmus - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 80 (3):303-304.
    Volume 80, Issue 3, July 2019, Page 303-304.
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  21. Religions, Reasons and Gods: Essays in Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion.Anne M. Blackburn & Thomas D. Carroll - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    Traditional theistic proofs are often understood as evidence intended to compel belief in a divinity. John Clayton explores the surprisingly varied applications of such proofs in the work of philosophers and theologians from several periods and traditions, thinkers as varied as Ramanuja, al-Ghazali, Anselm, and Jefferson. He shows how the gradual disembedding of theistic proofs from their diverse and local religious contexts is concurrent with the development of natural theologies and atheism as social and intellectual options in early modern Europe (...)
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  22. The Apologetic Value of Human Holiness : Von Balthasar's Christocentric Philosophical Anthropology.V. S. Harrison - 2000 - Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.
    The Apologetic Value of Human Holiness begins by providing the first comprehensive account of the model of human holiness developed by the leading theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. In so doing, the book also provides the first detailed explication of his Christocentric philosophical anthropology. Part 2 argues that von Balthasar anticipates some key developments in late twentieth-century Anglo-American analytical philosophy, and that certain of these developments - in particular, the ‘internal realism’ of Hilary Putnam - provide powerful support for von (...)
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  23. The Big Questions: God, & God: All That Matters Both by Mark Vernon. [REVIEW]Ian Robinson - 2013 - Philosophy Now 99:48-49.
  24. The Non-Existence of God.Nicholas Everitt - 2003 - Routledge London.
    Is it possible to prove or disprove God's existence? Arguments for the existence of God have taken many different forms over the centuries: in The Non-Existence of God, Nicholas Everitt considers all of the arguments and examines the role that reason and knowledge play in the debate over God's existence. He draws on recent scientific disputes over neo-Darwinism, the implication of 'big bang' cosmology, and the temporal and spatial size of the universe; and discusses some of the most recent work (...)
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  25. Irreducible Complexity and Darwinian Gradualism: A Reply to Michael J. Behe.Paul Draper - 2002 - Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):3-21.
    In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael J. Behe argues that, because certain biochemical systems are both irreducibly complex and very complex, it is extremely unlikely that they evolved gradually by Darwinian mechanisms, and so extremely likely that they were intelligently designed. I begin this paper by explaining Behe’s argument and defending it against the very common but clearly mistaken charge that it is just a rehash of William Paley’s design argument. Then I critically discuss a number of more serious objections to (...)
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Arguments from Miracles
  1. The Christian Philosophy of Miracle: Ideas of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.Valentin Yakovlev - 2019 - TSU Publishing House.
    The author of the monograph is a Candidate of Culturology, Associate Professor of Tyumen State University. The monograph tests approaches to the understanding of the essence of Hobbes’s and Locke’s ideas about miracles that are more flexible than a formational-evolutionist approach. The monograph presents the main characteristics of these ideas as Christian philosophical ones, shows their general Christian direction and the historiographic perspective of studying these ideas primarily in line with Christian philosophy. The monograph is intended for experts in the (...)
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  2. Ultima ratio deorum.Alex V. Halapsis - 2016 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 10:100-106.
    Purpose of this article is to investigate the role that the "miraculous" – that is, everything that goes beyond “natural” – plays in the worldview of Western man. Methodology. I do not consider “miracles” as the facts of nature, but as the facts of culture, so in this article I am not talking about specific cases of violation of “laws of nature”, but about the place of “miraculous” in the view of the world of Western man and those transformations, that (...)
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  3. Miracles and the Perfection of Being: The Theological Roots of Scientific Concepts.Alex V. Halapsis - 2016 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 9:70-77.
    Purpose of the article is to study the Western worldview as a framework of beliefs in probable supernatural encroachment into the objective reality. Methodology underpins the idea that every cultural-historical community envisions the reality principles according to the beliefs inherent to it which accounts for the formation of the unique “universes of meanings”. The space of history acquires the Non-Euclidean properties that determine the specific cultural attitudes as well as part and parcel mythology of the corresponding communities. Novelty consists in (...)
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  4. El papel de los milagros en la filosofía de George Berkeley / The Role of Miracles in Berkeley's philosophy.Alberto Luis López - 2016 - In Laura Benítez Grobet, Leonel Toledo Marín & Alejandra Velázquez Zaragoza (eds.), Episodios filosóficos del platonismo: ecos y tensiones. Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico: pp. 333-354.
    La creencia de Berkeley en los milagros ha sido poco estudiada por los especialistas debido, quizá, a su connotación teológica; sin embargo, una vez que se estudia la cuestión resulta que tal creencia no es, como se podría pensar, sólo resultado de la fe, por el contrario, una lectura atenta muestra que la creencia en los milagros es compatible con la filosofia inmaterialista y, de hecho, es coherente con ella. Aunado a esto, la creencia en los milagros permite mostrar que (...)
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  5. Is It Reasonable to Believe That Miracles Occur?Alberto Oya - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):39-50.
    Traditionally, miracles have been defined as supernaturally caused events which are outside the scope of scientific explicability. In this paper I will criticize the argument that, when we lack a scientific explanation for an event but it has an adequate explanation in theistic terms, then the most reasonable conclusion is to claim that the event is a miracle. I will defend that this argument would not work unless we had prior independent evidence for God’s existence. Furthermore, I will argue that (...)
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  6. Zur Epistemologie des Wunders: Swinburne versus Hume.Jörg Disse - 2019 - In Ulrich L. Lehner & Ronald K. Tacelli (eds.), Wort und Wahrheit. Fragen der Erkenntnistheorie. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. pp. 171-191.
    Der Aufsatz befasst sich mit der Frage der Möglichkeit von Wundern in Auseinandersetzung mit dem Wunderverständnis von Richard Swinburne und David Hume./The article deals with the question of the possibility of miracles opposing the theory of miracles of Richard Swinburne and David Hume.
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  7. Swinburne on the Resurrection: Negative Versus Christian Ramified Natural Theology.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2013 - Philosophia Christi 15 (2):253-263.
    We consider the impact of negative natural theology on the prospects of Christian ramified natural theology with reference to Richard Swinburne’s argument for the Incarnation and Resurrection. We argue that Swinburne’s pivotal claim—that God would not allow deceptive evidence to exist for the Incarnation and Resurrection—is refuted by key evidence from negative natural theology. We argue, further, that Swinburne’s argument omits dominating items of evidence of negative natural theology which seem to critically weaken the probability of the Incarnation and Resurrection. (...)
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  8. Negative Natural Theology and the Sinlessness, Incarnation, and Resurrection of Jesus.Robert Greg Cavin & Carlos A. Colombetti - 2014 - Philosophia Christi 16 (2):409-418.
    We respond to Swinburne’s reply to our critique of his argument for the Resurrection by defending the relevance of our counterexamples to his claim that God does not permit grand deception. We reaffirm and clarify our charge that Swinburne ignores two crucial items of Negative Natural Theology (NNT)—that God has an exceptionally weak tendency to raise the dead and that even people with exemplary public records sometimes sin. We show, accordingly, that our total evidence makes it highly probable that Jesus (...)
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  9. Miracles, Evidence, Evil, and God: A Twenty-Year Debate*: Dialogue.Christine Overall - 2006 - 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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  10. The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.) - 2009 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  11. The Shroud of Turin, the Resurrection of Jesus and the Realm of Science: One View of the Cathedral.Tristan Casabianca - 2014 - Workshop on Advances in the Turin Shroud Investigation.
    In a topic as controversial as the shroud of Turin, it is always surprising to notice that there still exists a large area of consensus among scholars holding opposite opinions on the topic. According to the consensus view, neither science nor history can ever prove that the Turin Shroud shows signs of the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. However, the reasons given for such an important claim are not convincing, especially in regard of recent developments in historiography and analytic philosophy.
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  12. The Shroud of Turin: A Historiographical Approach.Tristan Casabianca - 2013 - 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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  13. On Hume's Philosophical Case Against Miracles.Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2003 - 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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  14. Butler and Hume on Religion: A Comparative Analysis.Anders Jeffner - 1966 - Diakonistyrelsens.
    TOPICS DISCUSSED INCLUDE THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN, THE THEOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE OF THE NEW NATURAL SCIENCES, ARGUMENTS FROM MIRACLES, THE MEANING OF STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD, THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE IDEA OF GOD AND VARIOUS APOLOGETIC ARGUMENTS, AND ETHICAL AND META-ETHICAL THEORIES. (BP, EDITED).
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  15. Miracles As Evidence for God.Robert Larmer - 1999 - In God and Argument. Univ Ottawa Pr.
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  16. Proofs of Miracles and Miracles as Proofs.Richard L. Purtill - 1976 - 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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  17. Miracles as Evidence for Theism.David Basinger - 1990 - 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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  18. Review of The Resurrection of God Incarnate. [REVIEW]N. N. - 2005 - Faith and Philosophy 22 (2):235-238.
    Whether or not Jesus rose bodily from the dead remains perhaps the most critical and contentious issue in Christianity. Until now, argument has centered upon the veracity of explicit New Testament accounts of the events following Jesus� crucifixion, often ending in deadlock. In Richard Swinburne�s new approach, though, ascertaining the probable truth of the resurrection requires a much broader approach to the nature of God and to the life and teaching of Jesus.
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  19. Miracles and Good Evidence.Douglas Odegard - 1982 - 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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  20. Review Of: O. Gingerich: God’s Universe. [REVIEW]Yiftach J. H. Fehige - 2008 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 11:232-234.
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  21. Miracles as Evidence Against the Existence of God.Christine Overall - 1985 - 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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  22. Miracles and God's Existence.J. C. Thornton - 1984 - 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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  23. The Argument From Miracles: A Cumulative Case for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.Timothy McGrew & Lydia McGrew - 2009 - In William Lane Craig & J. P. Moreland (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Blackwell. pp. 593--662.
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  24. Hume and Miracles.Matthew C. Bagger - 1997 - 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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  25. Of Miracles and Special Effects.Hent de Vries - 2001 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 50 (1-3):41 - 56.
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