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Miracles – Philosophical Perspectives

7. Further Philosophical Problems

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In this final module we look at further philosophical problems, focusing in particular on (i) the conception of a law of nature as a statement that is always true, and the objection to this definition concerning accidental truths (ii) the conception of a law of nature as a force or power of nature, and the objection to this definition based on causal inference (iii) the conception of laws of nature as observable patterns in the universe, and the implications of this view for miracles (iv) the relationship between notions of the miraculous, free will, and determinism (v) interpreting alternative religious views on miracles using Wittgenstein’s fideism.


In this course Dr Arif Ahmed (University of Cambridge) explores philosophical perspectives on miracles, with special reference to David Hume. In the first module we look at different ideas about the nature of a miracle, and introduce Hume’s argument. After that, in the second module we examine Hume’s famous argument against witness testimony as evidence for miracles. In the third module, we evaluate some objections to Hume’s argument and explore Hume’s case for the likelihood of miracle stories. In the fourth module we examine the impact of divergent religions and multiple witnesses on Hume’s account of testimony. In the fifth module, we look at responses to the independent witness argument; before turning to Maurice Wiles’ take on miracles and deism in the sixth lecture. In the seventh and final lecture, we investigate further philosophical problems concerning our understanding of what constitutes a law of nature, as well as the miracles in relation to free will and fideism.


Dr Arif Ahmed is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He writes mainly on decision theory, but also has an interest in religion and has debated the subject against William Lane Craig, Tariq Ramadan, Rowan Williams and others. Some of his recent publications include (as editor) Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: A Critical Guide (2010), Evidence, Decision and Causality (2014) and (as editor) Classical Philosophical Arguments: Newcomb's Problem (2018).

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Ahmed, A. (2022, April 21). Miracles – Philosophical Perspectives - Further Philosophical Problems [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Ahmed, Arif. "Miracles – Philosophical Perspectives – Further Philosophical Problems." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Apr 2022,

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