Hume Studies 19 (1):117--140 (1993)

Bennett W. Helm
Franklin and Marshall College
It is somewhat striking that two interrelated elements of Hume's account of causation have received so little attention in the secondary literature on the subject. The first is the distinction of causation into the natural and the philosophical relations: Although many have tried to give accounts of why Hume presents two definitions of causality, it is often not clear in these accounts that the one definition is of causality as a natural relation and the other is of causality as a philosophical relation, where to make the contrast between these two kinds of relations we need to give a naturalistic account of natural relations and a normative account of philosophical relations. (That Hume intends this to be the contrast will be defended in more detail below.) The second element is that, in many cases of our inferences from cause to effect, "we must follow our taste and sentiment" (A Treatise of Human Nature [T], 103), where the appeal to taste here, as in morality and aesthetics, is not to be understood as up to the individual. Rather, Hume makes it clear both in Book 3 of the Treatise and in "Of the Standard of Taste" that there are standards to which our individual judgments (in morality, aesthetics, or causality) must conform. My purpose in this paper is to attempt to provide an interpretation of Hume's account of causality that brings these two elements explicitly into the foreground. This interpretation is, to a greater extent than usual, a reconstruction of Hume's account of our causal inferences, drawing, as I have indicated above, from a range of texts not normally associated with Hume's discussion of causality. As such, this interpretation should be considered as exploratory in nature, perhaps focussing too single-mindedly on these two elements in an attempt to make out as strong a case as possible for their relevance in understanding Hume's account of causal inference.
Keywords History of Philosophy  Major Philosophers
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Reprint years 2011
ISBN(s) 0319-7336
DOI 10.1353/hms.2011.0387
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"Our Ideas in Experience: Hume's Examples in ' of Scepticism with Regard to the Senses'".Catherine Kemp - 2004 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (3):445 – 470.

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