Hume, Kant, Causality, and Induction

It is merely out of my disappointment that I often refer to enlightenment era philosophers as “amateurs”. In all honesty, considering their era and the slumber from which it was arising, “amateur” is too strong a critique. They posed necessary questions and to a beginning degree addressed thoughts toward answers. What is disappointing to me is that they never got past that even though far more solid answers and more relevant questions were available, not requiring any advanced technology. And it seems that such questions and half answers are still being thought of as relevant even hundreds of years later.

Two of the most notable issues mentioned by David Hume and responded to by Immanuel Kant are;

  1. Causality
  2. Induction

Hume proposed that neither could be rationally justified. Kant attempted to justify each (but insufficiently in my view).

Hume Paraphrased
Causality: Just because one situation immediately follows another, such is insufficient reason to conclude that the first necessarily caused the second.

Induction: Just because each of multiple instances of one specific event following an immediately prior specific event, such is insufficient reason to conclude that it will always do so.

Kant Paraphrased
Causality: Cause to effect is presumed by the mind and instincts as “a priori”, thus experienced as reality and necessary for thought.

Induction: The uniformity and consistency of the behavior of nature is a priori, thus discerned from experience and necessary for usefulness of thought.

From my view, Hume, being the science and metaphysics skeptic, did his duty in posing reasonable questions, although it would seem a little more reasonable to have answer them rather than presume them to be unanswerable (a common mistake). Kant, being the positivist in response to Hume, seems to have attempted to categorize all epistemology and with a degree of success. But even though his counter proposals to Hume were in the right direction, they seem to have fallen short of actually answering the questions in a straightforward, unambiguous fashion (although he proclaimed that he had resolved the questions once and for all time).

What everyone seems to be leaving out of the discussions and consideration is the issue of what it is that constitutes a truth concerning reality. They seem to always be willing to proclaim what must be true because of something else that must be true without explicating exactly what makes something true in the first place. Kant was on the right track, but just didn’t seem to get to the final point (understandably, having to explain too much to too many skeptics, a common problem in making any progress toward resolve).

The Construct of Truth
Truth is what is sometimes referred to as “the map of the terrain of reality”. Truth is a type of language that is always in reference to an aspect of reality. And as with language, the same reality can be represented by many forms of truth or language. Each truth concerning the make of existence is an ontology. Each ontology has its own declared objects and relations from which it constructs what is hoped to be an accurate and useful representation of reality.

Older religions use different ontologies than science and thus might appear to be untrue when they are actually just saying something different than what the reader presumes them to be saying. Often ontologies can be translated just as languages can be translated, but often concepts get lost in the translation attempts. When an ontology can conform to the following concerns, it is a “True representation of reality”, or “Truth”.

A) Consistent - throughout the entire truth ontology
B) Comprehensive - covering any thought at least by category
C) Relevant - to subjective experience and use

Kant pointed to the necessity of that 3rd element, “Relevance” or usefulness. He proclaimed that it is of necessity that we presume causality. And in that regard, he was right. But that doesn’t exactly answer whether causality is true, but merely why we accept it as true.

The interesting truth of it is that causality is true only because of an ontological choice, much like a choice of language. A true ontology can be proposed wherein the concept causality makes no sense. The concept simply doesn’t fit. But that doesn’t make causality untrue, merely nonsense to that ontological choice, such as the ontology that proposes that every instant in time is independent of every other but inadvertently causes the appearance of dependent causal flow from one situation to the next. Such an ontology can be said to be true, but of what use is it to think in such terms?

A more useful ontology defines a “situation” as the complete relative positioning of all relevant objects, their motion, and their affects. Such an ontological choice allows one to examine a situation and based upon it, realize what the next situation is going to become. That is a very useful thing to be able to do. And in fact, is the entire philosophical ontological foundation of science (and most, if not all useful ontologies).

Any situational ontology can make the following claim;
Every specified Initial Situation acted upon with a Specified Treatment leads to consistent Resultant Situation.

And anyone can know that to be absolutely true simply because of the definitions of “Initial Situation” and “Specified Treatment”. A situation has already been defined by the affects that it is going to have (as well as a treatment). If it doesn’t have those affects, it wasn’t the specified situation or the specified treatment. Thus it is tautological that every situation must lead to the next situation.

Thus one knows that causality is true simply due to the ontological definition of “a situation”.

And one can know that Induction is valid simply because of the tautology that;
Every specified Initial Situation acted upon with a Specified Treatment leads to consistent Resultant Situation.

But what if one proposes that within a given situation there is an object that has no affect upon the next situation? My question would be, “Why bother with it?” If it is known that something, presumed to exist, has absolutely no affect upon the next instant in time, what relevance is it? It could never be experienced in any way by anything. Why would anyone care to even say that it exists? It would pose as a useless element of an ontology. So just categorize it as “non-existent” within the ontology so as to maintain a useful and more efficient ontology; "It doesn’t exist because it has absolutely no affect. It is irrelevant to truth" (ref: Affectance Ontology). Conundrum resolved.

But then what if one experiences something that appears contrary to causality? The answer to that is easy although often harshly avoided. The truth can be known that by definition, either the Initial Situation, the Specified Treatment, or the Resultant Situation was inaccurately specified or not as it appeared, an error of presumption.

Self-sustaining egos of both individuals and organizations such as nations and religions (including Science) avoid having to face that they mis-specified or mis-perceived something (especially to the public - embarrassment), but honesty, integrity, and rational thought requires that they do. Usually the ego battle lasts for life times and centuries, but in the long run the deception loses ground. Unfortunately such misunderstandings are most often merely replace by new misunderstandings. So the accurate truth still goes only hinted at.

So in summation, Hume properly posed the questions but inappropriately presumed them to be unanswerable. Kant properly proposed that the answers were a matter of necessity, but failed to express the exact reason why - rational ontological choice.

I read the lower half, then my mind went blank, as though I had not read anything.
What is your important conclusion?

Kant provided solid proofs and justifications within a system of interrelated principles.

What I note of your presentation is, it is reducible to an ontological claim of a First Cause, i.e. GOD. Kant asserted this is chasing an illusion and your persistent claim on it is delusional and grounded on a subliminal psychosis.

Note here re chasing illusion and being deceived by it.

Yes, but James insistence on the reduction, is illusive according to Kant, yet, being a consistent religious, he considers it an a-priori form of apprehension.

I read the above as,

“Kant, being a consistent religious, he considers it an a-priori form of apprehension”

Kant was not religious at all!
Kant was a deist and not religious as a member of any institutional religion.
There is no such thing as ‘a priori form of apprehension’ of the illusory God in Kant’s philosophy.

The nearest Kant associated with the idea of God is to ASSUME God exists for various purposes.
IMO, there is no imperative to assume God exists, where necessary and for an exclusive secular approach one can ASSUME the idea of ens realissimum, completeness or perfection.
For example, Science has to ASSUME uniformity throughout the infinite Universe to ensure its theories are valid.

He did not. And you wouldn’t know it even if he had.

And what I note in your preaching is your malignant, psychotic obsession with seeing everything as a God issue.

There was nothing whatsoever presented even vaguely associated with First Cause or God.

Yes, that’s right: „Kant pointed to the necessity of that 3rd element, »relevance« or usefulness. He proclaimed that it is of necessity that we presume causality. And in that regard, he was right. But that doesn’t exactly answer whether causality is true, but merely why we accept it as true.“ - James S Saint. Is causality true? Is an exactly answer possible?

Yes it is answerable.
And yes it is “true”.
But one must understand what constitutes “truth”.

The Ontology of Truth is that many ontologies can be truth. A rational ontology is one that helps more than hinders. An ontology without causality as an essential element and principle has very little, if any, use. So a rational ontology includes causality. And that makes causality “true”.

First Kant was an enlightener (“Aufklärer”), then he was an idiealist because he stopped or overcame the era of enlightenment and started the era of the post-enlightenment idealism (“post” because there were some idealists long before Kant, for example Leibniz). In any case, Kant was the “father of the modernity”. I guess that, if you had lived at Kant’s time, you would have tried to prolong the era of enlightenment by saying “yes” to the question “is causality true?”. Kant referred to the epistemology, to the knowledge, thus also to causality but not so much to the metaphysical question of the truth of causality. After Kant the question of a true causality has been occurring again - similar to the time before Kant but (and that is the huge difference) by referring to Kant, thus not without Kant’s philosophy.

A rational ontology includes causality, yes. But does it really make the causality true? One could also say that we accept the world as the truth but do not know whether it is the truth or not.

According to the question of truth there are four answerse possible:

  1. There is truth.
  2. There is only truth outside of the (brains of the) subjects. This answer is philosophically called objectivism.
  3. There is only truth in the (brains of the) subjects. This answer is philosophically called subjectivism, as an extreme form: solipsism.
  4. There is no truth.

So we have one absolute affirmation (see: 1), two relative affirmations / negations (see: 2 and 3), and one absolute negation (see: 4).

It seems that no one of them can be proved or disproved.

Anything and everything that is consistent and coherent within a comprehensive ontology is necessarily true. That is what “truth” is.

Nothing can be proven to those who do not understand.

1’) As long as there are conscious beings, there is truth
2’) There is only “reality” outside. Truth is the accurate internal map inside a mind.
3’) “There is only truth in the (brains of the) subjects.” = true, BUT … that is not “Subjectivity”.
4’) ref (1)

Don’t conflate Truth with Reality. There can be many ontologies that are Truth, but only one reality to which they each accurate refer.

“Anything and everything that is consistent and coherent within a comprehensive ontology is necessarily true”, yes, but nonetheless the question is: is it true because of your thoughts (subjectively true) or because of reality (objectively true) or because of all (subjectively and objectively true).

“As long as there are conscious beings, there is truth.” Do you mean that truth is only in the consciousness? If so, then, please, answer the following two questions:
A) Is the consciousness true?
B) If yes: Is consciousness subjectively true (thus for one’s consciousness) or objectively true (thus for the consciousness[es] of all, for any and every consciousness)?

“There is only “reality” outside.” This sentence means or should mean that the objective world is true and called “reality”, but it doesn’t say anything about the inside, about the (brains of the) subjects, the truth of them.

“Truth is the accurate internal map inside a mind.” This sentence says something about the inside, about the (brains of the) subjects, but it doesn’t say anything about the outside, the so-called “realitiy” or “world”, the truth of them. The underlined word “accurate” does not prove that the internal map maps the outside realitiy. So Kant war right.

“As long as there are conscious beings, there is truth.” This sentence underlines what I said, but does also not answer the question where the truth is represented: only in the consciousness of one (the subject), only in the world (the object), or in both. If one says that “there is only truth in the (brains of the) subjects”, then one does not say whether there is also truth outside of the (brains of the) subjects, whether the brains are true or not, and, if (brains of the) subjects are not true, whether there is truth outside of them, and, if the (brains of the) subjects are true, whether they are only subjectively true, or only obejectively true, or both subjectively and objectively true.

In summation: Kant was right.

I think that you are missing the point.

) There is one reality (objective).
) Each conscious entity forms a proposed Truth to match that reality (subjective), but is not Truth if it does not match.

The question, “is consciousness true” doesn’t make sense. That is like asking if color is true or running around in a circle is true. Statements are true or not, not entities or processes. Statements are true when they accurately reference and match the objective reality.

I think that you are missing the point.

) The objectivity (reality, world) and the subjectivity (self, consciousness) depend on each other.
) “Each conscious entity forms a proposed truth to match that reality”. But who decides whether it matches or not? Okay, you would say: the reality as an affectance ontology. But reality (objectivity, world) and consciousness (subjectivity, self) depend on each other.

A says: “X is true.”
B says: “X is not true because I have experienced that Y is true.”
Y says: “Y is not true because science has proved that Y is not true. So X must be true.”
B says: “That’s nonsense, because I have studied logic, and my friends call me ‘the God of logic’.”

Who or what decides what is true? God? Or space and time, thus development, evolution, history, thus something like a result of a logical and/or imagined process? Or just ontology? But, if so, which one? For example: Heidegger’s fundamental ontology? Or “RM:AO”? Or “VO”?

These questions are the point as long as we have no exactly corresponding answers.

This has almost nothing to do with RM:AO. Subjectivity is a subset of objectivity. They are not separate things. Subjectivity is a portion of all that is objective/real.

And “matching” is always a case of logic; “A is A” and “If A is B and B is C, then C is A”. The word “is” or the symbol “=” means “matches”.

… typical internet forum.

You still aren’t seeing it.

I already explained “who decides”. The ontology that you choose decides for you. What anyone else, or any other ontology declares is irrelevant. Either you stick to your ontology or you remain eternally confused. This is what Moses referred to as not “eating the meat of a cloven hoofed animal”.

Again, it is like using a language to describe an event. One person might describe the event differently than another because he uses the language differently, in effect having a different language. Each will declare the other to be wrong. So who is right? You have to learn how they are using their language (and/or their ontology) and then see which is consistent and coherent. Once you see how the language or ontology is being used, you might find that they are both right or perhaps both wrong.

Definitional Logic determines Truth within any chosen ontology/understanding. But first you have to choose your definitions. And that is arbitrary. Definitions are neither true nor false. They are whatever you choose for them to be, merely labels for concepts. They are declared.

And that is the part that Kant (or apparently no one else of that era) could understand.

Oh, I have been seeing it for a very long time.

Unfortunately or fortunately: the problem of the subject/object-dualism is not solved.

Thus: consistent and coherent with my language and/or my ontology!

You can’t validly make both of those statements at the same time.

If (and only if) you were the one who made the statement. When someone else makes a statement, the truth of it is dependent upon HIS ontology/language.

To ask if a statement is true is to ask if the language/ontology was used properly. Truth is a different concern than reality.

Provided that each (thus: one) human had his / her own, thus a so-called “individual” language and / or a so-called “individual” ontology, do you believe that some or even many humans would agree on their languages and / or ontologies?

Certainly and obviously they have. I don’t understand why you would ask … ?

They can be afraid of losing their “individual” languages / ontologies, because they don’t know whether the other “inidividual” languages / ontologies are in agreement with their own, thus their “individual” languages / ontologies. How can they be sure that their “individual” languages / ontologies become one “inter-individual” or “societal” language / ontology (so to speak: as an “individual” language / ontology of a society) without any loss?