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Kant on Causation

On the Fivefold Routes to the Principle of Causation

Steven M. Bayne

Publication Year: 2004

Kant famously confessed that Hume’s treatment of cause and effect woke him from his dogmatic slumber. According to Hume, the concept of cause does not arise through reason, but through force of habit. Kant believes this can be avoided through the development of a revolutionary new cognitive framework as presented in the Critique of Pure Reason. Focusing on the Second Analogy and other important texts from the first Critique, as well as texts from the Critique of Judgment, the author discusses the nature of Kant’s causal principle, the nature of his proof for this principle, and the status of his intended proof. Bayne argues that the key to understanding Kant’s proof is his discussion of objects of representations, and that it is his investigation into the requirements for an event’s being an object of representations that enables him to develop his proof of the causal principle.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY Series in Philosophy (discontinued)


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vii

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p. ix

I would like to thank Lee Brown, Charlie Kielkopf, George Pappas, and Ralf Meerbote for their helpful comments on the philosophical predecessors to some sections of this book. I would like to thank the anonymous referee for the Journal of the History of Philosophy who back in 1993 forced me to begin to come to grips with my position on the nature of the necessity involved ...

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pp. xi-xv

Causation was an important topic for Kant. In fact, if we take him at his word, then perhaps, in terms of his order of discovery, it was the most important topic for him. Of course, Kant famously confessed that “the recollection of David Hume was just the thing which many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber, and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a ...

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Chapter One: Relationships

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pp. 1-34

In this chapter I will deal with relationships. In particular, I will examine five relationships that are important for preparing the ground for the treatment of the Second Analogy proper. The first is the one between concepts and intuitions. In particular we will focus on the worries about the applicability of concepts (the pure concepts in particular) to sensible intuition that Kant expresses in the Schematism Chapter. In order to properly understand the nature ...

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Chapter Two: The Causal Principle

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pp. 35-44

In the second edition Kant states the principle he will prove this way: “All alterations [Veränderungen] take place in accordance with the law of the connection of cause and effect” (B232). In the first edition the principle is stated as follows: “Everything that happens (begins to be) presupposes something upon which it follows according to a rule” (A189). There are two differences between the A and B formulations. The first change Kant made ...

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Chapter Three: The Fivefold Routes to the Principle of Causation

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pp. 45-73

Although there is significant disagreement concerning Kant’s goal in the Second Analogy, there is even more disagreement concerning the general strategy Kant employs in his attempt to prove the causal principle. In this chapter I will examine the five main strategies that have been attributed to Kant. ...

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Chapter Four: The Irreversibility Argument

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pp. 75-102

With a general evaluation of four of the five routes to the principle of causation behind us we must now turn our attention to the completion of this task. Remember that each of the argument strategies is in a sense incomplete. The main thing missing is an interpretation of the argument Kant is supposed to use in order to justify the first premise of the argument strategy. There is general agreement that this argument is supposed to be found in what I will ...

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Chapter Five: Objects of Representations

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pp. 103-136

In the last two chapters we have seen that proponents of each of the first four possible interpretations of the strategy utilized by Kant in his proof for the causal principle have run into serious problems. In addition to the textual and/ or internal problems each of these first four strategies runs into, none of these strategies adequately accounts for the emphasis Kant places on the notion of an “object of representations.” Both ordinary physical objects, such as a ...

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Chapter Six: Hume Revisited

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pp. 137-151

Recall that the last time Kant’s answer to Hume’s skepticism concerning the causal principle was up for discussion, back in chapter 1, we had just seen that Kant’s answer would involve a transcendental proof. Now that we have the details of that proof we are in a position to examine it in order to see how it stands as an answer to Hume, and after a brief review we will ...

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pp. 153-166

When we first become interested in Kant’s Second Analogy, we find ourselves faced with a number of difficulties. Of course, the difficulties begin with the text itself. Although we may believe that Kant had something interesting and important to say, it isn’t always easy to put the pieces together, and so we find ourselves in need of an interpretive guide. Since the Second Analogy purportedly has something to do with causation, for many of us this ...


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pp. 167-172


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pp. 173-174

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485897
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791459010
Print-ISBN-10: 0791459012

Page Count: 190
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY Series in Philosophy (discontinued)
Series Editor Byline: Robert Cummings Neville See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 57579032
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Kant on Causation

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Subject Headings

  • Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804.
  • Causation.
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