Hume: Reasoning About Matters of Fact Part 2

Sorry for not being able to post last week. Here is this weeks post.

Perhaps Hume would say that the event of a shadow coming to be, like the event of the sun rising, would pass the IOC test. Hume may say that the physical event is different from the definition and then Hume may be allowed to accept definitions as relations of idea but still not certain matters of fact about shadows. Perhaps, then, our expecting shadows to be there is simply pattern recognition in humans. Perhaps there being shadows is a cause and effect relationship we set up between light and other objects that doesn’t seem justifiable. What about a world where light behaves differently? What if we were to imagine a place that exists such that if I were to cast a light on you no shadow would form behind you and instead of a dark shape of you we would just have an area of indistinguishable darkness? Or maybe the light would completely permeate you and travel behind you as well thus the light is visible infinitely in the direction it is pointed.


            I think this is interesting to consider but yet again I do not believe this holds up well for two reasons: my imagining the way things could have been doesn’t affect the cause and effect relationship that holds between objects in this world; and some definitions are matters of fact. My first statement is the strongest statement against the IOC test. I don’t believe my imagining the world differently really makes a difference as to whether cause and effect is reliable. I don’t believe my ability to imagine the contraries of real events would give me a reason to doubt cause and effect.

My second point is that the definition of a shadow seems to also be a MOF. Take this statement as an example, “shadows are dark”. Does this set of words point out a MOF? Most would agree it does. Does it also point out part of what it is to be a shadow? Yes, it seems shadows need to be dark. Shadows, then, have some matters of fact that seem to be part of the definition of being a shadow. So, it seems that I would fail IOC test. But now we have a MOF that is also an ROI. If any MOF is given the same status as an ROI it means maybe some MOF are more trustworthy as others? This makes me doubt Hume’s skepticism even more.

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