Alrighty, then. With this next step I’ll start to explain why Stephen’s intuition about indeterministic causation is wrong, which is also the reason why Galen Strawson’s regress argument doesn’t work.
In a nutshell, those arguing against LFW are rigging the game with their definition of causation. I’ll try to explain that here with an illustration (wanted to do a presentation with animation, but that would require more time investment than I can afford right now).
Imagine a blue ball that moves left to right, striking a stationary red ball squarely. The red ball flies off left to right on the same vector the blue ball had taken. This is an illustration of causation in the deterministic sense. The red ball causes the movement of the red ball. The movement of the blue ball is a sufficient reason for the red ball to move off along the vector it takes. And if we repeat the trial we get the same result every time.
Now imagine a blue ball that moves left to right, striking a stationary green ball squarely. The green ball flies off at a vertical right angle to the vector of the blue ball. Now, if this happened with every trial, it would count as a deterministic causation, even though the vector of the green ball is counterintuitive according to the physics we’re used to. But this will be an example of determinism, so we’re going to suppose that we can repeat the trial and obtain different results.
Imagine the same blue ball again moves left to right, striking a stationary green ball squarely. The green ball flies off laterally to the left—a different result than the first trial. We repeat the trial 100 times. 71 times we get the first result. 25 times we get the second result. Four times the green ball doesn’t budge.
Are these actions uncaused? Unless I’m mistaken, the compatibilist and the determinist will tend to answer “yes.”
I’m going to question that conclusion.
We repeat the trial again, replacing the green ball with the red ball. The red ball moves off left to right along the same vector as the blue ball that struck it. Hmmm. Now we try the green ball again. It flies off at a vertical right angle to the vector of the blue ball. Maybe it makes a difference which ball we use in the trial? We replace the blue ball with a yellow ball and repeat all the trials. We get the same results we got with the blue ball. We replace the green ball with a purple one. It behaves just like the red ball when struck by either the blue ball or the yellow ball.
Maybe the green ball is causing the indeterministic results without a prior sufficient cause?
To borrow from Joel Hodgson, “What do you think, sirs?”