Indeed, in the case of the human mind and will, we may never fully understand all aspects of the cause. This article examines the empirical foundations that lead Hume to his account of causation before detailing his definitions of causation and how he uses these key insights to generate the Problem of Induction. The epistemic interpretation of the distinction can be made more compelling by remembering what Hume is up to in the third Part of Book One of the Treatise. When a string vibrates and we hear a sound, we cannot know why we hear a sound, but merely that one customarily follows the other. This compilation presents a balanced collection of the important works on both sides of the causal realism debate. The interpretation is arrived at via a focus on Hume’s attention to human nature. Her critiques of the standard Humean views are helpful and clear. Hume denies clear and distinct content beyond constant conjunction, but it is not obvious that he denies all content beyond constant conjunction. If we have the idea of gold and the idea of a mountain, we can combine them to arrive at the idea of a golden mountain. At best you could say that we have no reason to believe that the laws of physics are different on the other side of the barrier between the observable and un-observable universe, but you could not prove it to me with absolute certainty. (E)  Causation so far as we know about it in the objects. Briefly, the typified version of the Problem as arguing for inductive skepticism can be described as follows: Recall that proper reasoning involves only relations of ideas and matters of fact. Again, the key differentia distinguishing the two categories of knowledge is that asserting the negation of a true relation of ideas is to assert a contradiction, but this is not the case with genuine matters of fact. It is therefore not entirely clear how Hume views the relationship between his account of necessity and the Problem. Although Immanuel Kant later seems to miss this point, arguing for a middle ground that he thinks Hume missed, the two categories must be exclusive and exhaustive. Walter Ott argues that, if this is right, then the lack of equivalence is not a problem, as philosophical and natural relations would not be expected to capture the same extension. But a more robust account of causation is not automatically ruled out simply because our notion is not distinct. We can either have a Cartesian clear and distinct idea, or we can have a supposition, that is, a vague, incomplete, or “relative” notion. A. Robinson, J. This certitude is all that remains. What is this necessity that is implied by causation? Though Hume gives a quick version of the Problem in the middle of his discussion of causation in the Treatise (T 1.3.6), it is laid out most clearly in Section IV of the Enquiry. Hence, if we limit causation to the content provided by the two definitions, we cannot use this weak necessity to justify the PUN and therefore cannot ground predictions. The family of interpretations that have Hume’s ultimate position as that of a causal skeptic therefore maintain that we have no knowledge of inductive causal claims, as they would necessarily lack proper justification. The three natural relations are resemblance, contiguity, and cause and effect. Louis Loeb calls this reconstruction of Hume targeting the justification of causal inference-based reasoning the “traditional interpretation” (Loeb 2008: 108), and Hume’s conclusion that causal inferences have “no just foundation” (T 1.3.6.10; SBN 91) lends support to this interpretation. A. Hume’s shorter works, such as the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, are not as thoroughly outlined. Instead, the Enquiry is only divided into Sections, only some of which have Parts. Both works start with Hume’s central empirical axiom known as the Copy Principle. There is no middle ground. (sic) Hume mentions many times in this section that we have no idea of how a cause can be connected to an effect. It simply separates what we can know from what is the case. If it is true that constant conjunction (with or without the added component of mental determination) represents the totality of the content we can assign to our concept of causation, then we lose any claim to robust metaphysical necessity. There are several interpretations that allow us to meaningfully maintain the distinction (and therefore the nonequivalence) between the two definitions unproblematically. However, since this interpretation, as Hume’s own historical position, remains in contention, the appellation will be avoided here. But invoking this common type of necessity is trivial or circular when it is this very efficacy that Hume is attempting to discover. The second step of the causal realist interpretation will be to then insist that we can at least suppose (in the technical sense) a genuine cause, even if the notion is opaque, that is, to insist that mere suppositions are fit for doxastic assent. He defines “cause” in the following two ways: (D1)      An object precedent and contiguous to another, and where all the objects resembling the former are placed in like relations of precedency and contiguity to those objects that resemble the latter. This work begins with Hume’s analysis of causation and then goes on to consider what we can know about causation as it exists in external objects. (sic), Hume mentions many times in this section that we have no idea of how a cause can be connected to an effect. Of these, Hume tells us that causation is the most prevalent. Of the philosophical relations, some, such as resemblance and contrariety, can give us certitude. This article argues that there are two main traditions of efficacy in the Early Modern period, that objects have natures or that they follow laws imposed by God. (Ott 2009: 239)  This way of dismissing the nonequivalence of the two definitions becomes more problematic, however, when we realize that Hume does not make the distinction between natural and philosophical relations in the Enquiry, yet provides approximately the same two definitions. Having approached Hume’s account of causality by this route, we are now in a position to see where Hume’s two definitions of causation given in the Treatise come from. In addition to its accounting for the necessity of causation mentioned above, recall that Hume makes frequent reference to both definitions as accurate or just, and at one point even refers to D2 as constituting the essence of causation. (Blackburn 2007: 101-102)  P.J.E. Natural relations have a connecting principle such that the imagination naturally leads us from one idea to another. Further, it smoothes over worries about consistency arising from the fact that Hume seemingly undercuts all rational belief in causation, but then merrily shrugs off the Problem and continues to invoke causal reasoning throughout his writings. An influential argument, the Problem’s skeptical conclusions have had a drastic impact on the field of epistemology. Even granting that Hume not only acknowledges this second distinction but genuinely believes that we can suppose a metaphysically robust notion of causal necessity, the realist still has this difficulty. This book is an extended development of Hume’s doxastic naturalism over his empiricism. Indeed, “even in the most familiar events, the energy of the cause is as unintelligible as in the most unusual, and that we only learn by experience the frequent Conjunction of objects, without being ever able to comprehend anything like Connextion between them.”. All we have, he says, is a sequence of events that customarily follow each other over repeated experiences. Robinson, J. What lets us reason from (A) to (B)? Apologetics, Philosophy, Theology, Culture. This tenuous grasp on causal efficacy helps give rise to the Problem of Induction–that we are not reasonably justified in making any inductive inference about the world. The attempted justification of causal inference would lead to the vicious regress explained above in lieu of finding a proper grounding. Costa, Michael J. Hume’s problem with causality is becoming clear. However, what the interpretations all have in common is that humans arrive at certain mediate beliefs via some method quite distinct from the faculty of reason. (Armstrong 1983: 53)  Other Hume scholars that defend a skeptical interpretation of causation include Martin Bell, (Rupert and Richman 2007: 129) and Michael Levine, who maintains that Hume’s causal skepticism ultimately undermines his own Enquiry argument against miracles. Hume gives several differentiae distinguishing the two, but the principal distinction is that the denial of a true relation of ideas implies a contradiction. Yet given these definitions, it seems clear that reasoning concerning causation always invokes matters of fact. Therefore, another interpretation of this “solution” is that Hume thinks we can be justified in making causal inferences. Kail resists this by pointing out that Hume’s overall attitude strongly suggests that he “assumes the existence of material objects,” and that Hume clearly employs the distinction and its terminology in at least one place: T 1.4.2.56; SBN 217-218. Beyond Hume’s own usage, there is a second worry lingering.

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