One of the common reactions of the British to the American Declaration of Independence was astonishment at the claim of self-evidence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident” is certainly a bold way to begin. It is also a beginning that could hardly go unchallenged.
One of the more interesting arguments against the self-evidence claim can be found in the sermons of George Campbell. Campbell first came to the general public eye with A Dissertation in Miracles, which was widely seen as completely refuting Hume’s arguments for skepticism about miracles, at least until people stopped reading it. His major life’s work was the translation of the Gospels from the Greek, but the work that gave him the most lasting fame was The Philosophy of Rhetoric, which is still one of the classics of the field. And in December of 1776 he preached a sermon on the text: Meddle not with them that are given to change.
Read the rest of this post at "First Thoughts".