causation and hume

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Published on 26 Oct 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL232H1
Professor
Knowledge and Reality Lecture
October 26, 2011
Hume’s version of the problem of causation
All mental content is derived from sense experience
Ex. Snow and you think why hasn’t the first snow come; hume
says you can have that thought and in having that thought you
are deploying some ideas, meaning empiricism means that you
got the concept of snow from being a child playing in the snow-
traces to sense experience
The problem of causation
We have an idea of causation but there is no direct link between
our idea of causation and any impression
We have to look around for impressions from which the idea of
causation could possibly be derived
Ex. Billiard balls
The idea of a necessary connection causes a problem: Hume
says we don’t experience a necessary connection in the world
Ex. Switching off your lights and the lighthouse coming on: you
have (A->B every time but it is not causation). The lights do not
come on because you switch the light in your living room
Hume’s solution
Just seeing A->B once wont make you think its causation but
seeing it many times will show causation
Expectation of B is the ‘passing’
Realism vs. Antirealism
Hume’s view of causation is a form of antirealism
Realism: things of this kind [objects or relations] are there
independently of what we think they are
Antirealism: view that things in this kind are not there in the
world independently of our taking them to be
Moral antirealism: no facts about the matter on what is right and
wrong
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Document Summary

Hume"s version of the problem of causation: all mental content is derived from sense experience, ex. Billiard balls: the idea of a necessary connection causes a problem: hume says we don"t experience a necessary connection in the world, ex. Switching off your lights and the lighthouse coming on: you have (a->b every time but it is not causation). The lights do not come on because you switch the light in your living room. Just seeing a->b once wont make you think its causation but seeing it many times will show causation: expectation of b is the passing".

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