Prof. Thomas Pineda
February 21, 2013
Argument Summary 4
Hume Chapters 4 & 5
In chapter four Hume tries to figure out whether or not induction is a valid form of reasoning. He does this by first distinguishing between relations of ideas and matters of fact. He goes on to explain that relations of ideas are things that can be proven based on logic, in other words the statements are logically true. Matters of fact are things that cannot be contradicted based on logic. They are things learned through sensory experience. Hume says that cause and effect is used to reason through matters of fact. He later states that induction is not a valid form of reasoning because we cannot prove any kind of uniformity principle, which is needed to work through cause and effect. In other words we only believe that we can predict any future events because of custom not because of any rational justification.
In chapter five Hume claims that we have no rational justification of anything outside of sensations and prior knowledge. He says that everything we do is based on cause and effect. If we did not know the effect of something we probably wouldn’t do anything. But, because we do not necessarily know the effect doesn’t mean that we should absolve any knowledge of cause and effect because it has always helped us thus far in life. Cause and effect is not reasoned knowledge, but it keeps us alive and helps us function