Philosophy 1 Lecture 17
• We fail to know the ultimate causes or powers that produce observed results
• The task at this point is to discover how it is that we use experience to establish causal
• Hume’s main thesis will be that “conclusions from that experience are not founded on
reasoning or any process of the understanding”
• Those who think the connection is based on reason and argument are then obliged to
produce the premise that links the two propositions.
• It seems there are only 2 kinds of reasoning that could supply the link:
1. Demonstrative reasoning concerns relations of ideas
2. Moral reasoning concerning matters of fact and existence.
• We have seen that there are no demonstrative argument for the link, as it is possible for
the first proposition to be true and the second to be false.
• One must suppose a cause and effect relation in order to reason that there is a causal
relation, which is circular reasoning.
• We expect causes which appear similar to have similar effects.
• The premise that nature is uniform is not known by demonstration, so it too, is based on
• Everyone admits that small children and even non-human animals learn from experience.
• The only explanation for this belief in uniformity is custom or habit:
1. When we are accustomed to experiencing the similarity we form the belief in the
existence of the effect when the cause is experienced
2. We form no such belief upon the first experience of the occurrence of an event
• There are 2 kinds of probability: