David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 35 (4):359-374 (1984)
According to Hume, no knowledge attainable by human beings would ever justify rational belief in recurrent physical properties and causal effects. He arrived at this conclusion because he denied the possibility of knowing--but not the reality of--either the 'inner natures' or the 'secret powers' of objects which would enable one to intuit or to demonstrate a 'necessary connection' between the internal structures of objects and their observable properties, or between the causal powers of entities and their effects. The purpose of this article is to show that while Hume's scepticism was justifiable in his day given the generally accepted limitations then of scientific inquiry and explanations, it no longer is reasonable in light of later scientific discoveries and theories. To a degree to which no eighteenth-century philosopher or scientist could anticipate, experimental inquiry has disclosed the inherent natures of objects and the underlying causes of phenomena that attest to the interconnectedness of physical reality and thus justify, at least to some extent, our instinctive beliefs in the uniformity of nature and predictability of events
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