Hume's and Anscombe's View on Causation Essays

Hume's and Anscombe's View on Causation Essays

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In this paper I discuss both Hume’s and Anscombe’s view on causation. I begin with Hume and his regularity theory; then I move onto Anscombe where I provide a rebuttal of Hume’s regularity theory, and later I explain how Hume would respond to Anscombe’s objection to Hume’s regularity theory.
Hume’s notion of causation is his regularity theory. Hume explains his regularity theory in two ways: (1) “we may define a cause to be an object, followed by another, and where all the objects similar to the first are followed by objects similar to the second” (2) “if the first object had not been, the second never had existed.”
Hume defines causation in terms of natural necessity and explains natural necessity as follows: of two events, if event A and always event B, then there is a “natural relation” or a “natural association” between the two; this is the kind of reasoning Hume uses to explain natural necessity between things. Here is another way to put it: if A causes B there is a “natural relation” between the two. In other words, the two events are similar.
Later Hume asserts that we cannot perceive causation because all we perceive is the “contiguity” and “succession” of events, but not of causation itself. For example, of two events, event A (person A pushing person B) and event B (person B’s falling back), Hume argues that all we are perceiving here are causes and effects; in other words, we here are perceiving the “contiguity” and “succession” of events, but not of causation itself. This is due to Hume’s idea that events are conjoined with one another. Hume argues that when event A occurs, event B happens simultaneously along with event A. For example, the event in which person A pushes person B, and the event where person B fal...


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...th philosophers have strong support for their claims, it seems to me that Anscombe’s argument for causation is the better one. It is evident that Hume’s argument holds flaws, or else he would have not introduced his counterfactual theory; and as a result I must resort to Anscombe. Unlike Hume, Anscombe does not make such strong claims (as to what causation is and how it functions) which allows room for her idea of causation to adapt to different circumstances. For example, Anscombe’s position on causation is unaffected if event A leads to event C, because all one has to say is that there was an interference. In addition, Anscombe’s position is more intuitive than Hume’s position on causation. For example, our common sense tells us that events are caused, not conjoined as Hume claims it to be. For these reasons I believe that Anscombe’s argument succeds that of Hume.

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