chapter  3
39 Pages

CAUSAL REASONING AND THE GENESIS OF BELIEF

Hume is traditionally credited both with discovering the problem of induction and with providing a pretty convincing case for holding that the problem has no solution. In this chapter I argue that Hume is not actually interested in that problem. Indeed, his own conception of reasoning concerning matters of fact does not even fit the standard model of inductive inference, since it is not reasoning from observed to unobserved regularities but rather reasoning from causes to effects. And his account of that reasoning – causal reasoning – is not intended to show that it is unjustified or in any way defective (except of course in the sense that it is fallible; but that is not a controversial claim). On the contrary: Hume actually takes it for granted that causal reasoning is a ‘just’ form of reasoning.