Intro Notes for Tues Feb 7 Discussion 10amSLT

Topic: Hume, Copy Principle, and Causation

All quotations in these notes are from <; unless otherwise stated. Causation
1.the action of causing or producing.
2.the relation of cause to effect; causality.
3.anything that produces an effect; cause.

Causation is “the belief that events occur in predictable ways and that one event leads to another. If the relationship between the variables is non-spurious (there is not a third variable causing the effect), the temporal order is in line (cause before effect), and the study is longitudinal, it may be deduced that it is a causal relationship.” (Wikipedia,

“Deep understanding of causality sometimes requires understanding of very large patterns and their abstract relationships and interactions, not just the understanding of microscopic objects interacting in microscopic time intervals.” -<i>I Am A Strange Loop</i>, Douglas Hofstadter, pg. 41

“… Hume shows that experience does not tell us much. Of two events, A and B, we say that A causes B when the two always occur together, that is, are constantly conjoined. Whenever we find A, we also find B, and we have a certainty that this conjunction will continue to happen. Once we realize that “A must bring about B” is tantamount merely to “Due to their constant conjunction, we are psychologically certain that B will follow A”, then we are left with a very weak notion of necessity.”

“[Causation] alone allows us to go beyond what is immediately present to the senses and, along with perception and memory, is responsible for all our knowledge of the world.”

“Hume’s Copy Principle … states that all our ideas are products of impressions.”

Hume separates all “possible objects of knowledge into <i>relations of ideas</i> and <i>matters of fact</i>. Hume gives several differentiae distinguishing the two, but the principal distinction is that the denial of a true relation of ideas implies a contradiction. Relations of ideas can also be known independently of experience. Matters of fact, however, can be denied coherently, and they cannot be known independently of experience.”

Hume’s theories have been prevalent throughout societies history. Do you believe that no act or thought can be independent? Is it true that every thought has been thought before and that every act is reliant on the past? To admit that would essentially be admitting that none of us are truly individual, would it not? What about creativity and creation?Wouldn’t believing that everything is not unique imply that no patents are valid, that no copyright exists, and that no ownership applies?

I open the floor.

Come join the discussion at our Second Life cafe:


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