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Hume Studies

Volume 42, Issue 1/2, April/November 2016

Kevin R. Busch
Pages 89-112

Hume’s Alleged Lapse on the Causal Maxim

In his account of our belief in the Causal Maxim Hume argued, among other things, that it is not absolutely necessary for any event to be caused. Harold Noonan attempts an objection to Hume’s argument: in showing (i) the absolute possibility for any event to exist without its actual cause, Hume would not thereby show (ii) the absolute possibility for any event to exist uncaused. For this objection to succeed, Noonan needs two further assumptions: first, that Hume indeed could not move plausibly from (i) to (ii); second, that Hume needed to move from (i) to (ii) to show (ii). Both assumptions are false.