more from David Hume

Single Idea 4772

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation]

Full Idea

Only when two species of objects are constantly conjoined can we infer one from the other; were an entirely singular effect presented, which could not be comprehended under a species, I do not see that we could form any conjecture concerning its cause.

Gist of Idea

If a singular effect is studied, its cause can only be inferred from the types of events involved


David Hume (Enquiry Conc Human Understanding [1748], XI.115)

Book Reference

Hume,David: 'Enquiries Conc. Human Understanding, Morals', ed/tr. Selby-Bigge/Nidditch [OUP 1975], p.148

A Reaction

A key issue in causation. Note that Hume is willing to discuss causation in a freakishly unique happening, but only if he can spot a 'type' in the each of the events. I don't like it, but the man has a good point…