TITLE

TWO DEFINITIONS OF 'CAUSE,' NEWTON, AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HUMEAN DISTINCTION BETWEEN NATURAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL RELATIONS

AUTHOR(S)
Schliesser, Eric
PUB. DATE
March 2007
SOURCE
Journal of Scottish Philosophy;Spring 2007, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p83
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The main aim of this paper is to explore why it is so important for Hume to define 'cause' as he does. This will shed light on the significance of the natural/philosophical relation (hereafter NPR) distinction in the Treatise. Hume's use of the NPR distinction allows him to dismiss on general grounds conceptions of causation at odds with his own. In particular, it allows him to avoid having to engage in detailed re-interpretation of potentially conflicting theories formulated by natural philosophers. Moreover, it provides an instance of the normative nature of Hume's "science of man." The paper argues that the NPR distinction -- in conjunction with the so-called copy principle -- is meant to undercut appeals to the authority of theories not founded on Hume's "principles." In order to illustrate its claims about Hume, this essay explores some aspects of Newton's natural philosophy. Finally, this paper resolves a long-standing interpretive problem: how to reconcile Hume's two "definitions" of causation in the Treatise.
ACCESSION #
25047179

 

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