Authors
Abstract
In the debate over testimony to miracles, a common Humean move is to emphasize the prior improbability of miracles as the most important epistemic factor. Robert Fogelin uses the example of Henry, who tells multiple tall tales about meeting celebrities, to argue that low prior probabilities alone can render testimony unbelievable, with obvious implications for testimony to miracles. A detailed Bayesian analysis of Henry’s stories shows instead that the fact that Henry tells multiple stories about events that occurred independently if they occurred at all is crucial to his loss of credibility. The epistemic structure is similar to that of a case of multiple lottery wins by the same person. Each of Henry’s stories can confirm only one event, but all the stories confirm the hypothesis that Henry is a liar. This structure does not apply to testimony to just one event, however antecedently improbable. Such examples therefore do nothing to undermine a standard Bayesian analysis involving both priors and likelihoods in evaluating testimony to an improbable event.
Keywords miracles  Bayes  testimony
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 61,008
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 2004 - Oxford University Press UK.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why Vagueness is a Mystery.Peter van Inwagen - 2002 - Acta Analytica 17 (1):11 - 17.
Why Vagueness is a Mystery.Peter Inwagen - 2002 - Acta Analytica 17 (2):11-17.
The Supernatural and the Miraculous.Steve Clarke - 2007 - Sophia 46 (3):277 - 285.
The Nature of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
Testimony: Evidence and Responsibility.Matthew Carl Weiner - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
Testimony, Knowledge, and Epistemic Goals.Steven L. Reynolds - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 110 (2):139 - 161.
Aesthetic Testimony: What Can We Learn From Others About Beauty and Art?Aaron Meskin - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):65–91.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-10-27

Total views
54 ( #192,585 of 2,439,465 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #167,802 of 2,439,465 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes