Kan'ts Argument for Causality in the Second Analogy
45th Annual Northwest Conference on Philosophy
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.
Gordon Steinhoff, “Kant's Argument for Causality in the Second Analogy,” 45th Annual Northwest Conference on Philosophy, Richmond, British Columbia, Nov. 1993.