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5. LECTURE V. PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL CAUSAL LAWS
The traditional conception of cause and effect is one which modern science shows to be fundamentally erroneous, and requiring to be replaced by a quite different notion, that of LAWS OF CHANGE. In the traditional conception, a particular event A caused a particular event B, and by this it was implied that, given any event B, some earlier event A could be discovered which had a relation to it, such that--
(1) Whenever A occurred, it was followed by B;
(2) In this sequence, there was something "necessary," not a mere de facto occurrence of A first and then B.
The second point is illustrated by the old discussion as to whether it can be said that day causes night, on the ground that day is always followed by night. The orthodox answer was that day could not be called the cause of night, because it would not be followed by night if the earth's rotation were to cease, or rather to grow so slow that one complete rotation would take a year. A cause, it was held, must be such that under no conceivable circumstances could it fail to be followed by its effect.
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