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Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy$
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Walter Ott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570430

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570430.001.0001

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(p.230) 26 Relations
Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy

Walter Ott (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Hume's texts present a puzzle: he clearly thinks relations are not the invention of the mind, and yet he claims that all perceptions are separable and independent of one another. This chapter uses conceptual foundationalism to make sense of Hume's view. But it also highlights Hume's departure from that view: rather than holding that the mind can be justified in making these transitions from one perception to another, Hume regards such transitions as the result of a blind faculty, which carries no justificatory weight. By distinguishing two kinds of relations — philosophical and natural — this chapter shows how Hume's view is both consonant with pre‐theoretical intuitions and consistent. It moves on to apply this reading to Hume's own puzzling discussions of necessity.

Keywords:   necessity, philosophical relations, natural relations, Malebranche, Hume

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