De Pierris and Friedman (2013)

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De Pierris, Graciella and Friedman, Michael. (2013) Kant and Hume on Causality. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from

Title Kant and Hume on Causality
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) Graciella De Pierris, Michael Friedman
Year 2013
Collection Zalta (Ed.) (2016)


Kant famously attempted to “answer” what he took to be Hume's skeptical view of causality, most explicitly in the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783); and, because causality, for Kant, is a central example of a category or pure concept of the understanding, his relationship to Hume on this topic is central to his philosophy as a whole. Moreover, because Hume's famous discussion of causality and induction is equally central to his philosophy, understanding the relationship between the two philosophers on this issue is crucial for a proper understanding of modern philosophy more generally. Yet ever since Kant offered his response to Hume the topic has been subject to intense controversy. There is no consensus, of course, over whether Kant's response succeeds, but there is no more consensus about what this response is supposed to be. There has been sharp disagreement concerning Kant's conception of causality, as well as Hume's, and, accordingly, there has also been controversy over whether the two conceptions really significantly differ. There has even been disagreement concerning whether Hume's conception of causality and induction is skeptical at all. We shall not discuss these controversies in detail; rather, we shall concentrate on presenting one particular perspective on this very complicated set of issues. We shall clearly indicate, however, where especially controversial points of interpretation arise and briefly describe some of the main alternatives.