Causal Powers, Hume’s Early German Critics, and Kant’s Response to Hume
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Eric Watkins has argued on philosophical, textual, and historical grounds that Kant’s account of causation in the first Critique should not be read as an attempt to refute Hume’s account of causation. In this paper, I challenge the arguments for Watkins’ claim. Specifically, I argue (1) that Kant’s philosophical commitments, even on Watkins’ reading, are not obvious obstacles to refuting Hume, (2) that textual evidence from the Disciple of Pure Reason suggests Kant conceived of his account of causation as such a refutation, and (3) that none of Hume’s early German critics provided responses to this account that would have satisfied Kant. Watkins’ reading of Kant’s account of causation is thus more compatible with traditional views about Kant’s relationship to Hume than Watkins believes.