Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2002

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 11 times

Are Factual Beliefs About the Future Justifiable? Hume asserts that all reasoning concerning matters of fact seems to be founded on the relation of cause and effect (IV. 500). Since future directed beliefs are neither intuitively nor demonstratively certain, they are matters of fact, and hence founded on causal laws. If it can be proven, therefore, that there is justification for one's belief in causal laws, then factual beliefs about the future would be justifiable.

Hume believes that every idea is copied from some preceding impression or sentiment (521). He also asserts that, "where we cannot find any impression, we may be certain that there is no idea"� (521). Hume therefore believes that it is impossible for us to think of anything which we have not antecedently felt either by our external or internal senses (515). For any two objects or events, A and B, it can be known through sense experience that A and B are temporarily conjoined because this is observable.

However, that A and B are necessesarily connected cannot be discovered through sense experience. If they cannot be discovered through sense experience, then there is no impression of necessary connection. If there is never any impression of necessary connection, then one has no ideas or memories to appeal to for the justification of necessary connection.

Therefore, since the necessary connection between cause and effect cannot be sensed, or stored in the memory, the proposition that objects are causally related is a matter of fact because matters of fact cannot be justified through the memory or senses (IV.498). Matters of fact are justified only through causal reasoning (IV.498). Causal reasoning cannot be used to justify the belief in causation itself, because this would beg the question. Hume asserts that since there is no other way to justify the...