8 replies
  1. Joseph K.
    Joseph K. says:

    I was interested in your comment on Hume on causality. Hume’s idea would be that we have nothing in our experience corresponding to the idea of causal necessity; rather, when we look for examples of causality in our experience, all we can find is the constant conjunction in experience of objects or events of a particular type. The reason why this mistake has been so widespread, he adds, is because of an inherent propensity of the human mind to feel that two constantly conjoined object or event types must be connected by necessity even though no such necessity can actually be perceived. In sum we know nothing of causes and effects and all the talk by common people and philosophers of cause and effect is strictly speaking an error.

    This doesn’t mean that we should replace talk of cause and effect with a cumbersome jargon of regularities or constant conjunctions. We can continue to talk of causes as long as we keep the preceding skeptical argument in the back of our mind.

    Reply
    • Colin McGinn
      Colin McGinn says:

      I don’t think I would agree with that: we can talk of cause and effect well enough but we have no “adequate idea” of causal necessity (though it is perfectly real). See my “The Secret Cement” in Philosophical Provocations.

      Reply
      • Joseph K.
        Joseph K. says:

        But if causation carries with it the idea of necessary connection, and there is according to Hume no impression from which the idea of necessary connection derives other than the habit of expecting the same regularity to recur after seeing sufficiently many examples of it, then what, on this reading of Hume, grounds Hume’s belief that causal necessity in the metaphysical sense exists?

        Reply
        • Colin McGinn
          Colin McGinn says:

          It has no foundation in reason or experience though entrenched in human nature: that is Hume’s whole philosophy. I suggest a careful reading of Hume’s Enquiry and Galen Strawson’s The Secret Connexion.

          Reply
  2. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    Talk of cause and effect always reminds me of the old billiard ball model, tedious as it is. I started playing pool at the age of five in my Dad’s bar. Over the years I became pretty expert at it, routinely beating all the old guys. Triple bank shots were nothing to me. I simply lined up my ball, took a few observational seconds, and hammered the cue forward. Yet I never pulled the trigger on a ball, even within those few seconds, until I “felt” the geometry was right. There’s a lot more micro-variables involved in triple bank pool-playing than there is in any other “sport”. I get to brag once in awhile.

    Reply
  3. jgkess@cfl.rr.com
    jgkess@cfl.rr.com says:

    I’ll take “moments” of glory rather than none. Check out Andrew Van Wagner’s interview of Norbert Hornstein. “How little we know”. If I knew how to post a link I would.

    Reply

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