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Essay on Cause and Effect According to Hume

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Hume starts to have skeptical doubts about the operations of understanding. He says there are two types of human understanding (only one of them concerns his inquiry into what we know to be true or certain). Hume says that all of the faculties of human reasoning are divided into two kinds; relations of ideas and matters of fact. Relations of Ideas are knowledge that is found of the sciences or mathematics. They are required without experience and can be proved without experience, for example, the Pythagorean Theorem. Or that three times five equals to fifteen. Negations of relations of ideas imply a contradiction for example three times five equals twenty. However, Hume is not concerned with relations of ideas because relations of Ideas cannot be anything but true. Matters of Fact (Ironically we call them facts, when they are, in fact not) I contrast with relations of ideas, can always in our minds be refuted and contradicted. For example, the sun will not rise tomorrow is no more of a contradiction than saying the son will rise tomorrow. Matters of fact rely on experience. All reasoning dealing with matters of fact are made out of the relation of cause and effect on sense impression.
The knowledge of that cause and effect is not a priori, it comes from the senses. If we see some new object, we will be able to know any of it cause and effects. When we came into contact with this new object we are not able to know automatically what caused it or what it might cause. This is true for billiard balls. We think that we can predict simply from witnessing one billiard ball hitting another would happen after, but we cannot infer this a priori, without experience. The only reason we think could or would know what happens is because we ha...


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... we get when experiencing said constant conjunction. This “feeling” confirms our belief that this thing exist or is caused by what we believe it is caused by. For example God, people believe in god because of a feeling the get when presented with a benevolence. In Christianity this is called the “holy spirit”. This habit of making connections between events and their assumed causes have helped us survive. When we see someone get punched in the face and then the same action is presented before us, we don’t just stay there and get punched in the face, we make the assumption that we’re about to get punched and try to duck out of the way. There is no impression subjectively or objectively (sensory) that links with necessary causation. Though there is nothing to our idea of causation other than constant conjunction and by no means will we be able to predict the future.



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