Why is 'necessity' important in cause and effect? Shouldn't experience and high probability be enough? And, how does Hume define 'necessity'?
Thank you! cctabla


Necessity means that when the cause occurs, the effect will inevitably follow. And vice versa, every effect has a necessary cause.

Experience has nothing to do with causality. Experience is a mental thing, causality is about physics.

Probability steps in when we notice that no cause is the sufficient cause for any particular effect. In a probabilistic universe causes don't determine their effects with absolute accuracy. They only determine the probability distribution within which the effect will occur.

  • Thank you for answering. The meaning of necessity then in real-word experience is what?
    – cctabla
    Sep 30 at 1:47
  • Thank you for answering. The meaning of necessity then, in real-word experience, is what? Some examples please. (Yes, I understand experience has nothing to do with causality but in scientific method that is where we start, and by testing our guess we narrow it down to some mechanistic explanation.) I was hoping that Hume was saying something more profound. A course of action is to drop the ambiguous 'necessity' and then carry on without losing much. Why is necessity important?
    – cctabla
    Sep 30 at 1:55
  • If event A necessarily causes event B, we can experience it in two ways. We can either observe event A or we can perform action A. In both cases we can be sure that event B will follow. Sep 30 at 3:27
  • But isn't this what Hume is criticizing? We can define necessity, but as Hume points out, there is no observable thing as 'necessity' in the real world. All we can do is fit models to our observations, and depending on the probability, glom 'necessity' to it. Hume clarified this for us.
    – cctabla
    Sep 30 at 18:50
  • "Experience has nothing to do with causality. Experience is a mental thing, causality is about physics." Philosophy of science begs to differ. Causation is a theoretical concept applied to two different observable events. Insofar physics is understood as a theory/model of a metaphysical reality, it certainly can be said to be about "mental things" and especially experience. Actually, it would be weird to say physics as the original empirical science per se wasn't about experience and how to systematically theorise about it.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Oct 22 at 9:59

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