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philosophySHIZ - Leah Johnson Philosophy 110 Hume's Theory...

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Philosophy 110 Hume’s Theory of Causality In today’s society, when we walk into a room and see an electrical circuit leading to a light bulb that displays a bright light and warmth, we normally assume that this is an example of cause and effect, and that the circuit has done something to affect the light bulb. This is much like if we were to see one billiard ball hit another billiard ball, and assume that one was the cause of the other’s motion. We never have to think about these things because they are basic instincts and expectations we make on a daily basis. However, how do we know that what we assume and anticipate is correct? In this essay I will argue that it is not possible to draw solely from reason in order to legitimately explain the perceived causal relationship between the electrical circuit and the light bulb, and that we always rely on our own habitual nature and outward impressions to make these connections. Before delving into this argument, the basic aspects of the situation must be explained. If we see a light on, and see an electrical circuit connecting to the light bulb, we assume that there is a connection between the two objects. The light bulb is on because of the electrical current running through the circuit. Through this logic, we have created an equation of cause and effect in our minds, where the cause is the electrical current running through the circuit and the effect is the brightness and heat of the bulb. However, the electrical current and the light bulb are two distinct and very different things. If a human just entered the world without ever having seen a light bulb or an electrical circuit before, they would have no knowledge of either of them. They could not fathom making a connection between them. The only way our minds can connect two objects together is through repeated
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philosophySHIZ - Leah Johnson Philosophy 110 Hume's Theory...

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