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Hume’s Epistemology in the TreatiseA Veritistic Interpretation$
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Frederick F. Schmitt

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199683116

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199683116.001.0001

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Causal Inference (1.3.2, 4, and 6)

Causal Inference (1.3.2, 4, and 6)

(p.133) 5 Causal Inference (1.3.2, 4, and 6)
Hume’s Epistemology in the Treatise

Frederick F. Schmitt

Oxford University Press

Hume is customarily taken to argue for scepticism about causal inference in Book 1, Part 3, Section 6 of the Treatise. And he does raise something like the problem of induction in the Conclusion of Book 1. But as David Owen has argued, his concern in Section 6 of Part 3 is the very different one of providing the negative component of his argument for his associationist psychology of causal inference. This pivotal argument explicitly assumes that causal inference is justifying. So Hume cannot adopt scepticism about causal inference without losing his basis for associationism. It is argued that the reliability interpretation can contribute to an explanation of certain aspects of Hume’s argument.

Keywords:   associationism, causal inference, problem of induction, psychology, reliability, scepticism

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