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Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect Essay


According to Hume, it is impossible to possess information about effect and cause. On the contrary, human beings can only possess knowledge regarding opinions. According to the Treatise of Human Nature, Hume asserts that each belief that is subject to justification should be either a matter of fact or relation of ideas. Relation of ideas involves a statement related to reason or mathematics.

Matter of fact can be ascertained through the experiences that human beings go through. According to Hume, all knowledge is as a result of the primary units related to sensory experiences.

Hume asserts that the basic impressions result to simple ideas. Therefore, complicated ideas are as a result of positioning simple ideas (Smith 82). Justifying that a belief is basically knowledge entails defining the impressions that form the foundation of the idea. A majority of the metaphysical ideas do not warrant justification using the strategies proposed by Hume. This implies that there is a close connection between matter of fact and relation of ideas.

According to Hume, human beings hold three beliefs that are unjustifiable. The first unjustifiable belief is concerned with causation ideas from where the global causation principle is derived. In this regard, there are several causes that lead to an event. Making predictions is possible as a result of the global causation principle.

It is imperative to assume an induction principle so as to be able to make a prediction (Smith 65). This involves the belief that the previous nature laws will prevail in the future. There is also an argument that there is an external material or physical world whose existence is independent of human being’s concepts and impressions.

Similar to Berkeley, Hume denies the intelligence associated with substance notions. However, Hume never develops a metaphysical arrangement. On the contrary, his stand is wholly skeptical. Hume asserts that reasoning has a solid foundation on causation.

Therefore, there is a principal concern to link distinct ideas so as to develop a single belief. It is impossible for causation to be as a result of matter of fact or relation of ideas. This is attributed to the fact that human beings elaborate events and experiences using the previous occurrences. In addition, they can use the experiences that other people went through.

It is impossible to recognize specific effects and causes through the use of reason. On the contrary, experience is the only key thing. For instance, after seeing the sun rising from the East, human beings may assume that it will always rise from the East. However, in case a person has never seen the sun rising, it is impossible to know what to expect. Hence, it worth emphasizing that effect and cause are dependent on previous experiences (Smith 45).

It is impossible for the effect and cause idea to be equivalent to relation of ideas. This is attributed to the fact that reasoning alone is inadequate the reveal the effects and causes associated with a particular occurrence. It is impossible for the causation idea to be a matter of fact since it cannot be revealed through the use of perception.

Therefore, the effect and causation idea has to originate from previous experiences. In addition, it is imperative that two experiences are linked so as to have a solid connection. There exists no demonstrative reasoning that can assist in justifying future predictions.

Works Cited

Smith, Norman. The Philosophy of David Hume. London: Macmillian, 1941. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, August 20). Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/cause-and-effect-2/

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"Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect." IvyPanda, 20 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/cause-and-effect-2/.

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IvyPanda. "Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cause-and-effect-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cause-and-effect-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Philosophy: David Hume Views on Cause and Effect'. 20 August.

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