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Philosophical Interpretations$
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Robert J. Fogelin

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195071627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019507162X.001.0001

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Kant and Hume on Simultaneity of Causes and Effects

Kant and Hume on Simultaneity of Causes and Effects

(p.102) 7 Kant and Hume on Simultaneity of Causes and Effects
Philosophical Interpretations

Robert J. Fogelin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In the Treatise of Human Nature Hume argued – actually quite badly – that a cause must be prior to its effect. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant cites what seems to be a clear example of a cause being simultaneous with its effect: a ball impressing a hollow on a cushion. This raises a problem for Hume's account of causality, for, if we grant, agreeing with Kant, that causes are sometimes simultaneous with their effect, how, on Hume's “regularity” account of causality, can we distinguish causes from effects. The solution suggested here is that the direction of causality is not fixed by physical facts but, in part at least, by what we are doing or how we view things. Whether this is right or not, it seems to be a solution that conforms to a Humean account of causality.

Keywords:   causation, causes, effects, Hume, Kant, regularity, simultaneity

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