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Hume on Causality II

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David Hume (1711-1776) was the Scottish philosopher, historian, economist and writer. According to Hume, the logical connection does not exist between the cause and effect, the causal relationship is found only in the experience. To the experience everything can be the cause of all, but experience shows three circumstances, consistently connecting with the cause of the result: the contiguity in time and space, the primacy of time and consistency of communication. Faith in a consistent order of nature, the causal process cannot be proved, but it is possible thanks to the rational thinking.

The problem of causality is the center in the philosophy of Hume. Destruction of theoretical foundation for the intuitive belief of people in the objective existence of a cause-effect relationship is the most important justification of the skeptical philosophy of Hume as a whole. The agnostic attitude to causes does not only accompany skepticism in the ontology. As the example Hume reveals that it can coexist with the belief in existence of the external world, which is the assignment of materialism and the belief in existence of supernatural and incomprehensible reasons, that is, to rehabilitation of abstract religion. On the other hand, the religious idealism is very unreliable ally of the causality – beliefs in the existence of objective reasons. Descartes distinguished that conviction was the basis for making him prove the existence of God. The philosophy of Berkeley is the belief in a supreme cause of spirituality and, on the contrary, it was a prerequisite for direct denial of the causal relationships in the empirical world. As for Hume, it is his agnosticism pushed to the idealism on the question of causation. In this matter Hume tried to undermine the philosophical materialism in theory, in spite of his admission of faith in the outside world in practice. It would seem that theoretical recognition of its objectivity can be found in the system agnostic views of Hume.

Hume included causal relation to the classification of association to the human mind, along with associations by similarity and contiguity in time and space. Thereby, the nature of study of the causation was determined. Hume identified the causal relationship, species in particular.

Contradiction arises in the arguments of Hume. He believed that mechanism of the concept of cause and effect is based on the association by contiguity (or, at least, thanks to it, it takes strength). So, it is strange that association acts as parallel classification of associations by contiguity and with the original form of association. This incongruity is not removed by the fact that the concept of causality really plays an active role in the formation of associative links. The causal association is not independent and the sense of analogy in a number of other types of associations. It is a feeling that exists in other types of associations, because every new case of the association by similarity or contiguity is comparable to the previous one, speeds, especially in the knowledge of this analogy, the emergence of such associations in the future.

Be that as it may, the cause-effect relations, as a matter of theoretical analysis, are referred to the number of the products of mental activity, and it is not something objective upcoming the subject. And it is important in the initial position of Hume. In the field of mental phenomena, psychologists have been isolated in the understanding of causality as impact of motives on the direction of the will, and will – on the decisions and actions of people. David Hume indirectly criticized these recent concepts when he rejected the concept of cause as a ‘power’ and when denied any ‘a priori’ inference from the concept of reason. 

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