Kant's Reply to Hume in the Second Analogy

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

XX World Congress of Philosophy

Publication Date



In the Second Analogy, Kant argues that we must presuppose, a priori, that each event is determined to occur by some preceding event in accordance with a causal law. Although there have been numerous interpretations of this argument, we have not been able to show that it is valid. In this paper, I develop my own interpretation of this argument. I borrow an insight offered by Robert Paul Wolff. In Kant's argument, our need to presuppose that the causal determination of each event rests not upon our need to impose a 'necessary' and 'irreversible' temporal order upon representations of the states of an object, as Kant is usually interpreted, but upon our need to generate a comprehensive representation that includes a certain a priori conception of events in the world around us. Although the argument I attribute to Kant is valid, it cannot compel the Humean skeptic to accept the necessity of presupposing the causal determination of each event: Kant has not successfully responded to Hume in the Second Analogy.

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