Chapter

Causation and Laws of Nature

Storrs McCall

in A Model of the Universe

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236221
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679209 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198236221.003.0003

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

Causation and Laws of Nature

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This chapter focuses on the notion of cause in scientific philosophy and discusses David Hume's doctrine of ideas. Instead of finding the original of the idea of efficacy, power, or necessary connection in the world, Hume found it not in an impression of sensation but in an impression of reflection. The idea of necessary connection derives from the easy transition that the mind makes from the idea of the cause to that of the effect, after it has experienced the constant conjunction of the corresponding impressions. If the world is looked upon as a single four-dimensional course of events, or for that matter as a three-dimensional state of affairs with only one successor-state, then Hume's conclusion seems justified.

Keywords: cause and effect; laws of nature; ideas; David Hume; sensation; reflection; impression

Chapter.  15805 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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