He announces, “To begin regularly, we must consider the idea of causation, and see from what origin it is deriv’d.” (T 188.8.131.52; SBN 74, his emphasis ) Hume therefore seems to be doing epistemology rather than metaphysics. Yet given these definitions, it seems clear that reasoning concerning causation always invokes matters of fact. How are our limbs moved by our will? This is a contemporary analysis of the Problem of induction that ultimately rejects causal skepticism. Newton helped us demonstrate that objects with mass, when in motion, must expend that energy when striking another object. Hume would have us forever stuck in the Beverly Hillbillies show, never realizing how the doorbell works. Livingston, Donald W. “Hume on Ultimate Causation.”. Cause and effect is one of the three philosophical relations that afford us less than certain knowledge, the other two being identity and situation. Further, it smoothes over worries about consistency arising from the fact that Hume seemingly undercuts all rational belief in causation, but then merrily shrugs off the Problem and continues to invoke causal reasoning throughout his writings. The more interesting question therefore becomes how we do this. The second step of the causal realist interpretation will be to then insist that we can at least suppose (in the technical sense) a genuine cause, even if the notion is opaque, that is, to insist that mere suppositions are fit for doxastic assent. In both the Treatise and the Enquiry, we find Hume’s Fork, his bifurcation of all possible objects of knowledge into relations of ideas and matters of fact. Indeed, “even in the most familiar events, the energy of the cause is as unintelligible as in the most unusual, and that we only learn by experience the frequent Conjunction of objects, without being ever able to comprehend anything like Connextion between them.”. It is therefore an oddity that, in the Enquiry, Hume waits until Section VII to explicate an account of necessity already utilized in the Problem of Section IV. Simply because Hume says that this is what we can know of causation, it does not follow that Hume therefore believes that this is all that causation amounts to. But once we do, then we are confident about how billiard balls and violin strings cause things because we know how they work. There are several interpretations that allow us to meaningfully maintain the distinction (and therefore the nonequivalence) between the two definitions unproblematically. Of these, Hume tells us that causation is the most prevalent. Mounce, and Fred Wilson, for instance), because it seems to be an incomplete account of Hume’s discussion of necessary connection presented above. The challenge seems to amount to this: Even if the previous distinction is correct, and Hume is talking about what we can know but not necessarily what is, the causal realist holds that substantive causal connections exist beyond constant conjunction. Loosely, it states that all constituents of our thoughts come from experience. In fact, the title of Section 1.3.2 is “Of probability; and of the idea of cause and effect”. Moreover, the astronomer is in the same weak position with regards to events in the future. Some scholars have argued for ways of squaring the two definitions (Don Garrett, for instance, argues that the two are equivalent if they are both read objectively or both read subjectively), while others have given reason to think that seeking to fit or eliminate definitions may be a misguided project. But if the denial of a causal statement is still conceivable, then its truth must be a matter of fact, and must therefore be in some way dependent upon experience. We have thus merely pushed the question back one more step and must now ask with Hume, “What is the foundation of all conclusions from experience?” (EHU 4.14; SBN 32, emphasis his). (Ott 2009: 198). The family of interpretations that have Hume’s ultimate position as that of a causal skeptic therefore maintain that we have no knowledge of inductive causal claims, as they would necessarily lack proper justification. It simply separates what we can know from what is the case. Since we never directly experience power, all causal claims certainly appear susceptible to the Problem of Induction. In the Treatise, Hume identifies two ways that the mind associates ideas, via natural relations and via philosophical relations. The mind feels no sentiment or inward impression from this succession of objects: Consequently, there is not, in any single, particular instance of cause and effect, any thing which can suggest the idea of power or necessary connexion. This is the work that started the New Hume debate. Although this employment of the distinction may proffer a potential reply to the causal reductionist, there is still a difficulty lurking. We know why the second ball moves because we know the laws of physics involved in objects in motion. We may therefore now say that, on Hume’s account, to invoke causality is to invoke a constant conjunction of relata whose conjunction carries with it a necessary connection. The matter of fact is: we cannot confirm any facts except those we have already observed. We can never claim knowledge of category (B) D. M. Armstrong reads Hume this way, seeing Hume’s reductivist account of necessity and its implications for laws of nature as ultimately leading him to skepticism. We cannot claim direct experience of predictions or of general laws, but knowledge of them must still be classified as matters of fact, since both they and their negations remain conceivable.