Hume on Causation, Positively

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250920
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597060 | DOI:

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Hume on Causation, Positively

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Hume's best account of causation says that when we make causal judgements, we express our inclination to conduct a certain inference, and that we are caused to have this inclination by patterns in our past experience. The account becomes untenable, and even absurd, when Hume tries to supply an impression from which an idea of necessity might be copied, and fixes on our feeling (impression) of being compelled to have a certain expectation. Discussion of the view that Hume was a realist about causal necessity, and merely held that we cannot have any knowledge of it is also expressed.

Keywords: causation; Hume; idea; impression; necessity; realism

Chapter.  8746 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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