Is Hume a Causal Realist? A (Partial) Resolution of the 'Two Definitions of Cause Dispute' in Hume's Account of Causation

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Abstract
Modern Hume scholarship is still divided into two major camps when it comes to the issue of causation. There are those scholars who interpret Hume as a causal anti-realist, and there are those who interpret him as a causal realist. In my paper, I argue that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence – especially textual evidence – that should lead us to read Hume as being a causal anti-realist. That is to say, one who believes that cause and effect relations are felt and known in the mind of the perceiver alone; not in objects themselves. I then attempt to settle, at least partially, the ‘two definitions of cause dispute’ that was brought about by Hume’s giving us not one, but two non-equivalent and non-substitutable definitions of the cause and effect relation.
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First archival date: 2015-11-21
Latest version: 3 (2015-11-21)
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