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Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2$
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Jonathan Bennett

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198250920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198250924.001.0001

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Hume on Causation, Negatively

Hume on Causation, Negatively

(p.245) Chapter 35 Hume on Causation, Negatively
Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2

Jonathan Bennett

Oxford University Press

Hume argues that we have no idea of a necessitating tie between any pair of events, and no basis for conjecturing—as Locke did—that such a tie exists. In the course of discussing this, he says he will ‘beat about the neighbouring fields’ and discuss the question of what is going on when we infer effects from causes, and the question of why we think it necessary that every event has a cause. The former question is directly linked to his own positive views on causation; the latter is not. Hume argues that there is no real causal necessity from the premise (shared with Descartes) that no state of the world absolutely necessitates any subsequent state. His reasons for tying causal necessity to absolute necessity are explained and defended.

Keywords:   causation, Descartes, Hume, Locke, necessity

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