David Hume represents one of the philosophers of the early modern period. He advocated for standardized empirical knowledge and insinuated knowledge and ideas were primary products of human experiences. In particular, he emphasized on the importance of human experiences in the comprehension of cause and effect.
He explicates that experience may lead to the problem of induction in which people may tend to make inductions merely based on conjoined events (Kessler 67).
For instance, if X causes Y and that the two events occur together it means that the existence of X will imply that Y is also present. Psychologically, Kessler say that people tend to assume that Y will certainly follow X (45). Hume therefore sees this as unjustified way of making conclusions. This paper seeks to explore the theoretical framework that Hume advances regarding cause and effect.
Hume builds his arguments based on the premise of copy principle. It implies that all thought processes are products of experience. He sees perceptions as made up of impressions and ideas. The former emanates from the senses while the latter are products of intelligence (Hume 45).
Since human beings can have ideas of things they may have never witnessed, they generate from the impressions. Cause and effect is a natural way that ideas relate with the mind according to Hume. Specifically, he attributes the philosophical concept of causation as pivotal in allowing people to understand the world beyond what is present to the senses and acquire knowledge subsequently (Kessler 68).
Cause and effect theory is important in the mental processes that involve the philosophical aspect of reasoning. Causation is interlinked to the problem of induction outlined above that human beings tend to associate conjoined events and experience the fallacy of reductionism (Kessler 69).
Hence, the theory of cause and effect highlights that the tendency to associate events is the foundation of causation. The theory also articulates that that not all judgements concerning occurrence of events are essentially correct. The rationale is that human beings have the ability to imagine things without necessarily implying a contradiction.
For instance, Kessler cites that such assertions as “it will rain in the evening” are not essentially wrong neither do they contradict each other (70). This is because the associations of events’ occurrence between matters of fact draw immense influence from experience. As such, people who may have experienced rain in the evening may tend to make such assertions based on their perceptual senses and experience.
Over and above, he underscores the importance of understanding that cause comes first in terms of time and is next to the effect (Hume 34). Besides, experience does little in establishing the essential cause due to human ability to imagine. Imagination leads people to making inductions about the cause and in this case, the cause may not always lead to usual effect (Kessler 69).
However, our mind may suffer from making these inductions given that experience has shown that the two events occur conjointly. As such, human mind always associate the two events in that, the existence of one-event leads us to thinking of the other (Kessler 79).
The unique aspect of this theory is its many explanations. Logical positivism have it that Hume’s analyses are typical of causal propositions. The occurrence of events of type X implies that events of type Y should ensue automatically. They interpret the theory of causation in such a way that they perceive power and necessity as non-objects.
They say that the two concepts are qualities of perceptions experienced by the soul. Second, the school of thought of skeptical realists holds that causation is not necessarily constituted by a series of predictable and regular events alone. Third, quasi realists highlight the importance of causal necessity in causation.
Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007. Print.
Kessler, Gary. Voices of Wisdom, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Publishers, 2009. Print.