Causation: Understanding The Process Of Cause And Effect

1415 words - 6 pages

Causation is a process that happens due to constant human action throughout our day-to-day lives. In saying this, very simply describing it as such can derive a definition; causation is the action of causing something (Oxford Dictionaries 2014). David Hume, a well known philosopher on the topic of causation observes that while we may understand that two events seem to occur in conjunction, there is no way for us to know the nature of the connection (T. Honderich 2001). Hume provides an exceptionally strong argument that this paper will support and attempt by using examples in order to reinforce and justify why Hume’s theory is still relevant. This paper will look at counter arguments proposed by other philosophers who disagree with Hume’s view in order to provide an unbiased view upon this theory. Firstly this response will discuss causation as a whole to provide a better understanding of the process in which cause and effect happens. Other areas of focus will be, is causation just a habit of association, is there a likelihood that one thing can cause another, and finally the problems and counter arguments that are evident throughout twenty first century philosophy.

Our very first appreciation of causation is through observing what is happening around us. These observations involve causes with effects that are immediately effecting or apparent to the observer (D. Shanks 1985). A simple example of causation is the process of turning a light switch on or off. In doing this one can see the instant impact of either the light turning on or off. Although there are a number of factors that must be considered such as the effect of human nature. Even though an action of turning the light switch to the on position provides direct intention, which created a cause and ultimately an effect, there was no clear consideration for human nature or possible situations that are out of our control (D. Shanks 1985). But, the role human nature plays is this, if an element is wrong in the process of turning the light switch on, such as the bulb being blown, the cause creates no effect. Even though there is a direct causal relationship between turning the light switch on and getting light, there is no other explanation if something were to go wrong; therefore mathematics and psychology will takeover (J. Driver 2011). Hume discusses this topic in depth referring to the lack of correspondence of subjective causal attributes to actual casual relations in the world (ref). Even though “there maybe a causal relationship in the real world between two events, and this may be mirrored by a causal attribution in the mind, but even though we believe that a causal relationship exists we can never know with absolute certainty (C. Lorkowski 2012). A good example of this is the domino theory, which states that a political event or disturbance in one country may create similar effects within close neighbouring countries (J. Driver 2011). But what Hume was trying to explain was, that...

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