chapter  IV
25 Pages

Hume’s Scepticism in its Relation to Causation and Determinism

ByMortimer Taube

By the time Hume wrote his Treatise the concept of universal determinism had become an integral part of scientific thought. If by the uniformity of human actions Hume means only the degree of uniformity observed, then he must also allow the degree of irregularity observed. It seems clear that Hume denies human freedom, not because investigation discloses that human actions are necessary but because he approaches the investigation of the question with a prior assurance that all things are necessary. It may be said that Hume's discussion of human freedom is merely an unfortunate appendage to his more serious concern with the question of causation. When Hume examines the relations of objects he declares that he can find none but those of contiguity and succession. Hume, however, does recognize that no experience discloses necessary connection and hence that necessary connection is not a matter-of-fact relation.