The manifest connection: Causation, meaning, and David Hume

Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (3):339-360 (2002)
P. Kyle Stanford - The Manifest Connection: Causation, Meaning, and David Hume - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:3 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.3 339-360 The Manifest Connection: Causation, Meaning, and David Hume P. Kyle Stanford 1. Introduction exciting recent hume scholarship has challenged the traditional view that Hume's theory of meaning leads him to deny the very intelligibility or coherence of supposing that there are objective causal powers or intrinsic necessary connections between causally related entities. Influential recent interpretations have variously held that Hume himself accepted the existence of such powers and connections, that he was genuinely agnostic about them, or that he denied their existence while nonetheless holding it to be a perfectly coherent possibility, indeed one that we routinely think actual. In this paper I will argue against all three of these lines of interpretation and in favor of what I consider a neglected alternative: that Hume rejects the existence of objective necessary connections or causal powers as literally incoherent or meaningless, but on subtle and sophisticated semantic grounds, rather than simplistic ones. I find support for this semantic reading and against the alternatives not only in passages whose significance to the debate is widely appreciated, but also in Hume's discussions "Of Liberty and Necessity" and "Of the Immateriality of the Soul." The..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2002.0061
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Asher Jiang (2015). Hume on the Meaning of ‘Power’. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 13 (3):229-248.

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