I’ve been reading Hume’s Enquiry and am struck by how much I didn’t understand it before–and how little it is still understood. Several commentators have noted that Hume does not deny the existence of necessary connection, merely noting that our only knowledge of causation arises from experience of constant conjunction; but it is striking how much he assumes that causation resides in the single instance and that power is objectively real. His point about causation applies only to the epistemology of causation not its metaphysics. He thinks that necessary connection is real but that we can’t detect it in the individual events: he believes in objective causal necessity but he thinks that our human understanding is too limited to grasp it directly–so we fall back on constant conjunction. The cement exists in objects but we can’t sense it or form an adequate idea of it.
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