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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of mind, metaphysics If two objects are next to or succeed each other, they are contiguous. For Hume , contiguity is one of the three basic principles of the association of ideas (the other two are resemblance and causation). If we experience the constant conjunction of two contiguous objects, this experience will lead the mind to infer the existence of one of them from the presence of the other. This is a necessary condition for us to establish that there is a relation of cause and effect between these two objects. Hence, for Hume, contiguity is essential for our notion of causation . For Leibniz , the principle of contiguity is a natural law that each natural change is continuous rather than abrupt. It can be summarized by the slogan natura non facit saltum (Nature makes no leaps). “‘Tis likewise evident, that as the senses, in changing their objects, are necessitated to change them regularly, and take them as they lie contiguous to each other, the imagination must by long custom acquire the same method of thinking, and run along the parts of space and time in conceiving its objects.” Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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