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Episteme

Abstract

In the Enquiry, Hume’s discussion of causality figures heavily in his critique of the rationalists. But what exactly do his two “definitions” of causality mean? The author addresses competing questions that arise from Hume’s ambiguity, but one thing is paramount here: both definitions imply a subject’s experience of causality. Following this, the author ponders the uniqueness of cumulative experience and personal belief, later connecting these to Simon Blackburn’s account of the organization of ideas that lead us to think in causal terms. In conclusion, since Hume’s empiricism is metaphysically subjective, Blackburn’s anti-realist interpretation is to be preferred over either positivist or skeptical realist understandings of Hume.

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