11. “Two Definitions of ‘Cause,’ Newton, and the Significance of the Humean distinction between Natural and Philosophical Relations,”

Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 5 (1):83-101 (2007)
Abstract
The main aim of this paper is to explore why it is so important for Hume to defi ne ‘cause’ as he does. This will shed light on the signifi cance of the natural/philosophical relation (hereafter NPR) distinction in the Treatise. Hume's use of the NPR distinction allows him to dismiss on general grounds conceptions of causation at odds with his own. In particular, it allows him to avoid having to engage in detailed re-interpretation of potentially confl icting theories formulated by natural philosophers. Moreover, it provides an instance of the normative nature of Hume's “science of man.” The paper argues that the NPR distinction - in conjunction with the so-called copy principle - is meant to undercut appeals to the authority of theories not founded on Hume's “principles.” In order to illustrate its claims about Hume, this essay explores some aspects of Newton's natural philosophy. Finally, this paper resolves a long-standing interpretive problem: how to reconcile Hume's two “defi nitions” of causation in the Treatise
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    References found in this work BETA
    Tom L. Beauchamp (1973). Hume's Two Theories of Causation. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 55 (3):281-300.
    Graciela de Pierris (2002). Causation as a Philosophical Relation in Hume. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):499-545.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Eric Schliesser (2011). Newton's Challenge to Philosophy: A Programmatic Essay. Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (1):101-128.
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