TNH 1.3.14.16

(2) It is certain that this repetition of similar objects in similar situations •produces nothing new in these objects or in any external body. For you will readily agree that the different instances we have of the conjunction of resembling causes and effects are in themselves entirely independent ·of one another·, and that the passing on of motion that I see result from the present collision of two billiard balls is totally distinct from what I saw result from such a collision a year ago. These collisions have no influence on each other: they are entirely separated by time and place, and one of them could have existed and communicated motion even if the other had never occurred. So:
Nothing new is either •revealed or •produced in any objects by their constant conjunction, and by the uninterrupted resemblance of their relations of succession and contiguity. Yet it is from this resemblance that the ideas of necessity, of power, and of efficacy are derived. So these ideas don’t represent anything that does or can belong to the objects that are constantly conjoined.
Look at this argument from any angle you like—you will find it to be perfectly unanswerable. Similar instances are the first source of our idea of power or necessity; but their similarity doesn’t give them any influence on each other or on any external object. We must therefore look in some other direction to find the origin of that idea.

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