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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


The former is properly a consequence of the principle of causality--one of the analogies of experience.

 It is based upon the spurious transcendental law of causality, that everything which is contingent has a cause, which, if itself contingent, must also have a cause; and so on, till the series of subordinated causes must end with an absolutely necessary cause, without which it would not possess completeness.] Let it be supposed, that there is no other kind of causality than that according to the laws of nature. In this case, not only the series originated by this spontaneity, but the determination of this spontaneity itself to the production of the series, that is to say, the causality itself must have an absolute commencement, such that nothing can precede to determine this action according to unvarying laws. In both these cases the principle of causality, which is valid only in the field of experience--useless and even meaningless beyond this region, would be diverted from its proper destination. This conception of causality leads us to the conception of action; that of action, to the conception of force; and through it, to the conception of substance. Now, is it absolutely necessary that, granting that all effects are phenomena, the causality of the cause of these effects must also be a phenomenon and belong to the empirical world? Causality according to the laws of nature, is not the only causality operating to originate the phenomena of the world. 
He would say, in answer to the sophistical arguments of the opposite party; If you do not accept a mathematical first, in relation to time, you have no need to seek a dynamical first, in regard to causality.