This chapter examines Hume’s theory of empirical reason, and the difference between its rational and its irrational exercise (reasoning reasonably and unreasonably). The theory has five structural levels: (1) reasoning from one matter of fact or real existence to another takes the form of an inference from an impression to an idea; (2) necessary connections between cause and effect; (3) past experience and our remembrance of the constant junction of distinct, successive, contiguous objects; (4) our belief in the uniformity of nature; and (5) customary association. The role of customary association in regulating empirical rationality, first species probable reasoning, and contrariety are discussed.
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