Miracles and the uniformity of nature

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Abstract

This chapter looks critically at the prevailing modern understanding of miracle, adapted from David Hume, where a miracle is a transgression by the Deity of a law of nature. I suggest that this stock understanding informs the widespread secular naturalism of our day, where the metaphysical concept of laws of nature becomes, in effect, the benchmark of reality. I question the utility of this view for establishing a meaningful view of nature and of the natural sciences, and look again at David Hume’s philosophy of induction. This leads me to highlight the ‘uniformity of nature’ as a more flexible concept by which to unify the sciences and to define miracle. I use the example of contemporary earth science to discuss how uniformity has informed scientific practice and scientific unity, and I suggest some ways in which the concept of miracle is both transformed and is transformative in this view.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMiracles
Subtitle of host publicationAn Exercise in Comparative Philosophy of Religion
EditorsKaren R. Zwier, David L. Weddle, Timothy D. Knepper
PublisherSpringer
Chapter14
Pages247-263
Number of pages17
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9783031148651
ISBN (Print)9783031148644
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameComparative Philosophy of Religion
PublisherSpringer
Volume3
ISSN (Print)2522-0020
ISSN (Electronic)2522-0039

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