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Kant Versus Hume Essay

985 words - 4 pages

Kant VS Hume
David Hume works from world to mind, Immanuel Kant from mind to world. Hume, how we experience the world is conditioned by the world. Kant, how we experience the world is conditioned by the mind.
Most contemporary philosophers believe that Hume refuted the views of the rationalists before him (Descartes, Hobbes Spinoza, and Leibniz), who all held that there is an element of genuine a priori reasoning in causal inference. According to Hume, however, causal relations are not logically necessary, and hence they cannot be known a priori. To say that even if A caused B, it is not logically impossible to suppose that, given A, B might not have occurred. (De Pierris)
So far as ...view middle of the document...

Secondly, constant conjunction occurs because the balls exist together spatially and constantly. But, there is no necessary reason why this happens.
Causation was an important topic for Kant. Kant famously confessed that “the recollection of David Hume was just the thing which many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber, and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a completely different direction” (Kant). What was it in Hume’s writings that affected Kant so powerfully? It was Hume’s treatment of cause and effect.
Kant responded to his predecessors by arguing against the Empiricists that the mind is not a blank slate that is written upon by the empirical world, and by rejecting the Rationalists’ notion that pure, a priori knowledge of a mind-independent world was possible. (Keuhn) Kant’s first step out of his dogmatic slumber was to realize that Hume was right. That is, concepts alone cannot give us any necessary connection between objects and so concepts alone cannot be the source of our concept of cause and effect. So the concept of cause and effect must come from somewhere else.
Kant tells us that he quickly realized it was not unique at all. For he soon found that the concept of the connection of cause and effect is by far not the only one through which the understanding thinks a priori the connection of things, but rather that metaphysics consists entirely of this. (Kant). In Kant's words, the question of "how...a thing can be a cause" is the question of "how, because something is, something else must be" It is clear that Kant also holds that causal power is an essential component of the concept of causation; for example, he refers to the "causality of a substance, which is called power" (Kant, Critique of Pure Reason).
Kant is addressing is as follows: we wish to establish the fact that B succeeds A and does...

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