9 - The question about cause and effect is can we trust our reason in making inferences from conditions that do exist to something which does not

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Unformatted text preview: The question about cause and effect is, can we trust our reason in making inferences from conditions that do exist to something which does not exist? One possibility is that we have knowledge of a necessary connection between the two. If the first occurs, the second must occur. Perhaps we have a rational insight into the connection, as Descartes might have it. Hume counters by stating that we cannot use alleged necessary connections as the basis of an inference to what does not exist. The reason is that no matter how constantly the two have occurred together, we can always conceive the possibility that the first occurs without the second. I can imagine that plants fail to carry out photosynthesis, even though nothing else about them has changed, for example. In response, it can be stated that our causal inferences are based on experience. We can infer that something will occur because it is part of a pattern which has been observed to hold, perhaps among all individuals of the same kind. Plants have never failed to convert light into usable energy when exposed to individuals of the same kind....
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 102 taught by Professor Markelwin during the Winter '10 term at UC Davis.

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9 - The question about cause and effect is can we trust our reason in making inferences from conditions that do exist to something which does not

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