On Causation: With a Chapter on Belief (Classic Reprint)by Charles Arthur Mercier
Exasperated by the fatuity of an expert in heraldry whom he was cross-examining, Sir William Harcourt at length exclaimed: 'Why, the silly man does hot understand even his own silly business!' The reader of a book on orthodox Logic is constantly tempted to make the same comment. Every book on Inductive Lc
Excerpt from On Causation: With a Chapter on Belief
Exasperated by the fatuity of an expert in heraldry whom he was cross-examining, Sir William Harcourt at length exclaimed: 'Why, the silly man does hot understand even his own silly business!' The reader of a book on orthodox Logic is constantly tempted to make the same comment. Every book on Inductive Lc contains a chapter in which an attempt is made to investigate the nature of Causation, to define it, and to explain how causes are ascertained and assigned; but why Causation should be considered subject-matter of Logic, any more than rotation or imitation, is hard to understand. The proper task of Logic to describe and explain the principles and methods of reasoning, and causation is not a principle or method of reasoning, nor is the definition of causation or the. ascertainment of causation a principle or method of reasoning. These are applications of reasoning. They are examples of reasoning. The results are arrived at by methods of reasoning, but they are not themselves methods or principles of reasoning, and are, therefore, no part of Logic. Mill says, and all subsequent writers have followed him, that causation lies at the, very root of Induction. It does nothing of the sort. It is one of very many relations that may be discovered by Induction, but it is no more the basis of Induction than rotation or imitation is the basis of Induction.
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