TNH 1.3.11.04

The idea of cause and effect is derived from experience, which presents us with certain ·kinds of· objects constantly conjoined with each other, and from this produces a habit of surveying them in that relation—a habit so strong that we must do violence to our thoughts to ·break it and· consider objects of those kinds in any other way. In contrast with this, chance is nothing real in itself; strictly speaking, it is merely the negation of a cause. So its influence on the mind is contrary to that of causation: and it is essential to chance that it leaves the imagination perfectly free to consider either the existence or the non-existence of the object that is regarded as contingent ·or dependent on chance·. A cause shows our thought the path to follow; in a way, it forces us to regard certain objects in certain relations. All that chance does is to destroy this compulsion of thought, leaving the mind in its original state of indifference, ·that is, evenly balanced between assent and dissent to the proposition· … .

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