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== Vortragender/ Speaker ==
 
== Vortragender/ Speaker ==
 
Axel Gelfert works at the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore. He has widely published on History of Philosophy, Epistemology of Testimony, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science and Logic. You can read more of him on his  
 
Axel Gelfert works at the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore. He has widely published on History of Philosophy, Epistemology of Testimony, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science and Logic. You can read more of him on his  
#WEITERLEITUNG [[http://nus.academia.edu/AxelGelfert]]
+
#page [[http://nus.academia.edu/AxelGelfert]]
on Academia.edu.
+
 
  
 
{{languages|en={{PAGENAME}} }}
 
{{languages|en={{PAGENAME}} }}

Version vom 6. Juni 2013, 15:36 Uhr

Axel Gelfert

Hume, the "Indian prince", and the line between miracolous testimony and probable belief

Datum: Mi., 26. Juni, 17 Uhr c.t.
Ort: IKGA Seminarraum 1
Apostelgasse 23, 1030 Wien
Organisation: Elisa Freschi

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Thema/ Topic

"Hume, the 'Indian prince', and the line between miraculous testimony and probable belief"

The aim of the talk is a thorough reconsideration of David Hume's views on the word of others as a source of knowledge. Much of the discussion of Hume’s views on testimony has traditionally revolved around his essay ‘Of Miracles’ (Section 10 of the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding), in which he argues for categorical rejection as the only rational response to alleged miracles. Yet, the specific shortcomings of miraculous testimony are hardly representative of the large class of ordinary beliefs we justifiedly acquire on the basis of everyday testimony -- and which may nonetheless include information about distant lands and ancient times. The fact that Hume acknowledges the special status of miraculous testimony is evident from his argumentative strategy: instead of calling into question the credibility, sincerity, or competence of the witnesses involved in the various historical cases of (alleged) ‘miracles’, Hume grants that the testifiers in question exhibit ‘gravity’, ‘solidity’, ‘probity’, ‘candour’, ‘veracity’, ‘unquestioned integrity’, and other fine epistemic characteristics. Yet he demands that we ought to reject miraculous testimony, even when we receive it from reputable witnesses. By contrast, ordinary testimony is showered with praise by Hume. In a famous phrase that has perhaps not been taken seriously enough by contemporary interpreters, Hume writes that ‘there is no species of reasoning more common, more useful, and even necessary to human life, than that which is derived from the testimony of men’. And yet a number of questions remain: How are we to manage instances of testimony that we encounter in everyday life? And how can we draw a line between 'miraculous' and (merely) 'marvellous' testimony? Was the 'Indian prince' (in Hume's -- inherited and embellished -- anecdote) right to reject the Dutch ambassador's testimony that, in the cold weather of Holland, water becomes so solid that an elephant could walk on it?

Vortragender/ Speaker

Axel Gelfert works at the Philosophy Department of the National University of Singapore. He has widely published on History of Philosophy, Epistemology of Testimony, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science and Logic. You can read more of him on his

  1. page [[1]]


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