You are here

Section Twenty-nine: The Second Part, Continued

25 September, 2015 - 17:06

Let us now attempt a solution of Hume’s problematical conception, namely, the conception of Cause. Firstly, there is given me, apriori, by means of Logic, the form of a conditioned judgment generally, one cognition as antecedent and another as consequent. But it is possible that in the perception, a rule of the relation may be met with, which will say, that on [the occurrence of a] given phenomenon another always follows (though not conversely), and this would be a case in which to make use of the hypothetical judgment, and to say, for instance, if a body be illumined long enough by the sun, it will become warm. There is certainly no necessity of connection here, in other words, no conception of cause. But I continue: if the above proposition, which is a mere subjective connection of perception, is to be a propo- sition of experience, it must be regarded as necessary and universally valid; but such a proposition would run: Sun is through its light the cause of heat. The above empirical rule is now looked upon as law, and indeed, not alone as valid of phenomena, but valid of them in relation to a possible experience, which requires thoroughly, and therefore necessari- ly, valid rules. I perfectly understand, then, the conception of Cause, as a conception necessarily belonging to the mere form of experience, and its possibility as a synthetic union of perceptions, in a consciousness in general; but the possi- bility of a thing in general as a cause I do not understand, because the conception of cause does not refer at all to things, but only indicates the condition attaching to experience, namely, that this can be only an objectively valid knowledge of phenomena, and their sequence in time, in so far as the antecedent can be united to the consequent according to the rule of hypothetical judgments.

  1. What is Kant’s solution to Hume’s doubts about the concept of cause?
  2. In the terms we used to describe Hume’s own solution to this nexus of problems, is Kant’s solution a straightforward solution, a skeptical solution, or something else? Why?