Kant on Causation

On the Fivefold Routes to the Principle of Causation

By Steven M. Bayne

Subjects: History Of Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791459027, 190 pages, December 2003
Hardcover : 9780791459010, 190 pages, December 2003

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Table of contents



1. Relationships

Concepts and intuitions


Kant's introduction to the problem of the Schematism and his introductory solution
Kant's true task in the Schematism
Leibniz, Hume, Kant, and applicability
The importance of the Schematism
A problem with Kant's account of the Schematism


The transcendental deduction and the principles

Principles of Understanding and Principles of Reason

Analogies of Experience

Kant and Hume


Hume's Doubt
Hume's reasons for doubting the possibility of demonstration
Transcendental proof and Kant's proof of the causal principle


2. The Causal Principle

The principle of the second analogy

Evaluation of Possible Interpretations of the Formulation of the Causal Principle


The Same-Cause-Same-Effect thesis
The Every-Event-Some-Cause thesis


3. The Fivefold Routes to the Principle of Causation

Possible Argument Strategies

Evaluation of Argument Strategies


The Veridical Strategy
The Event/Object Strategy
The Event/Event Strategy
The Justification Strategy


4. The Irreversibility Argument

Lovejoy's Position

Strawson's Position

Bennett's Position

Melnick's Position

Guyer's Position

The house, the ship, and irreversibility

5. Objects of Representations

The principle of the Second Analogy

Subject to a rule

Objects of representations and being subject to a rule

Irreversibility revisited: Are successions of appearances' subject to a rule?

An example for the official definition

Successions of appearances must be subject to a rule

Problems and Defense


The requirements for a succession of appearances being subject to a rule
Are my requirements too strong?
Are my requirements too weak?


Necessary Order


Textual Worries


Necessary Order and Necessity
Is this really a causal theory?


6. Hume Revisited

A brief review

Transcendental proof and the mistake strategy

A problem with Kant's transcendental proof and mistake strategy

The implications of this problem

Turning the copy thesis on its head

Problem: Drawing the distinction between a beginning of existence and a cause of existence

Final Status of Kant's Answer to Hume


On the Guide(s) to the Discovery of the Route to the Principle of Causation


The house, the ship, and irreversibility
The nature of the principle of the Second Analogy


Synthetic and a priori
Constitutive versus regulative


Objects of representations


Object of Experience Strategies



An in-depth examination of the nature of Kant's causal principle.


Kant famously confessed that Hume's treatment of cause and effect woke him from his dogmatic slumber. According to Hume, the concept of cause does not arise through reason, but through force of habit. Kant believes this can be avoided through the development of a revolutionary new cognitive framework as presented in the Critique of Pure Reason. Focusing on the Second Analogy and other important texts from the first Critique, as well as texts from the Critique of Judgment, the author discusses the nature of Kant's causal principle, the nature of his proof for this principle, and the status of his intended proof. Bayne argues that the key to understanding Kant's proof is his discussion of objects of representations, and that it is his investigation into the requirements for an event's being an object of representations that enables him to develop his proof of the causal principle.

Steven M. Bayne is Visiting Instructor of Philosophy at Fairfield University.