In section 7 of the Enquiry Hume talks about necessary connection being an ambiguous metaphysical concept since even though we see events happening one after another (ex. hitting a billiard ball towards another and then seeing the other one move) we don't necessarily experience through the senses this "force" or necessary conection.

But there's something I don't quite understand and was hoping someone could help me. The thing is I can't completely agree with Hume here because I keep thinking that we might have the kind of technology (if not now, perhaps in the future, not really sure if that's possible at the moment) that could allow us to see the particles of the first billiard ball moving and then transferring the energy to second one in real time. Wouldn't that then allow us to get an impression of the necessary connection? I mean, wouldn't this be an explanation for the cause and the effect of the billiard balls moving one after another? Or maybe even if this were the case, this more "transparent" look into how the laws of motion work still wouldn't fit into the concept of "necessary connection". Perhaps I'm not getting the idea of necessary connection just yet.

Would it be ok to equate the idea of necessary connection to that of the laws of nature? Can they be the same? Because if what Hume means is that we don't see the laws of nature operating in the world through our senses, then that makes more sense. But if that that were the case, would that mean that the laws of nature are a metaphysical concept?

Hume also says:

We know, that, in fact, heat is a constant attendant of flame; but what is the connection between them, we have no room so much as to conjecture or imagine.

But a simple Google search explains what the connection is: Combustion turns fuel and oxygen into carbon dioxide and water. Energy is required to start the reaction, breaking bonds in the fuel and between oxygen atoms, but much more energy is released when atoms bonds together into carbon dioxide and water. Both light and heat are released as energy.

Was this explanation ahead of his time or would this still not explain the necessary connection?

I appreciate your help.

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    What difference would it make seeing one billiard ball get moving after coming in contact with another vs seeing its particles get moving after coming into proximity with those of another? Or even seeing some flow of yet more particles "transferring energy" in between? We can see happenings at increasing levels of resolution with ever more detail, but necessity is not a part of any happening. We do not see the "necessary connection" not because we lack technology but because "seeing" it makes no sense. It is an abstraction.
    – Conifold
    Jun 30, 2022 at 5:32
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    No matter how good your instruments are, you are never going to see anything more than a correlation of cause and effect. For example, you see an electron accelerated in an electrical field; you aren't seeing that the electrical field is causing the electron to accelerate, all you are seeing is the electrical field and the electron accelerating, from which you then conclude that the electrical field is causing the electron to accelerate. Jun 30, 2022 at 6:05


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