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Causation
Posted: 09 February 2009 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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faithlessgod - 09 February 2009 10:35 AM

 

So you still have not justified your odd phrasing which seems to confuse causality and predestination/fatalism. And this is not, according to you,
a stipulative definition but rather a descriptive one ( common-sense view) yet I am still waiting for some support for this claim.

By common sense view I mean what most people intuitevely believe cause means. The effect follows necessarly. And the cause makes the effect happen.

To support this claim I’ll give an example of my flicking the switch on the kettle. What it seems like to me is I make the kettle boil by flicking the switch. Make and cause are interchangable in my mind.

I’ll also provide a quote from another thread here.

JRM5001 - 16 January 2009 12:31 PM

If a cause doesn’t necessitate then it’s not the cause so it’s irrelevant.

So this is JRM5001’s “common sense” view.

I have much more evidence from talking to people. Many believe the moon, for example, is predetermined to do what it does and therefore must do what it does but humans are not because we have a choice. (If I can provide quotes I will)

Amongst many ordinary folk the idea is we have a special ability to do other than we do that other things in the universe don’t have. They must follow their inevitable predetermined path.

Once one talks to philosophers other views emerge but when talking to non philosophers, this is often the “common sense” view.

Edit: Faithless I just googled cause and effect and have this quote from the first site I clicked on:

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/types_reasoning/cause-and-effect.htm

“Description
When you are presenting an argument, show the cause-and-effect that is in operation. Help the other person see why things have happened or will happen as they do.

Show purpose. Link things to higher values. Show the inevitable linkage between what happens first and what happens next. Go beyond correlation (that may show coincidence) to giving irrefutable evidence of causality.”

I’m sure I could find mountains and montains of this stuff.

The human mind usually sees cause and effect as an “inevitable link.” This is the “common sense view”

Edit: Just one more thing Faithless. Of course this is the “common sense” view, otherwise why were people so suprised by QM? They were suprised because they expected that if they could control the variables they could get the same results. That was a basic assumption of science and that basic assumption was built on what was a general human basic assumption too.

Stephen

[ Edited: 09 February 2009 11:12 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 09 February 2009 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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faithlessgod - 09 February 2009 10:35 AM

“It is only the cause why the effect happens if it has to happen, given the cause.”
“It is only the reason why the effect happens if it has to happen, given the reason”
So clearly you are using reason and cause not as synonyms so what is the difference in your usage?

Well here is a definition of a probabilistic cause borrowed from Doug:

In the case where we say X caused Y, we call X the “cause” and Y the “effect” because had X not happened, Y would have been less likely to happen. (On a probabilistic account of causality).

Now clearly this doesn’t tell us why Y happened because it might not have happened even though X happened and it still might have happened even if X hadn’t happened.

faithlessgod - 09 February 2009 10:35 AM

A sufficient condition for a state of affairs, is a condition which, if met, will ensure that the
state of affairs obtain.  Your premise does not support your conclusion with the phrase “if it has to happen”. So granted your premise one could say “it is the reason why the effect happens, (given the reason)” the parenthetical clause being redundant.

So you still have not justified your odd phrasing which seems to confuse causality and predestination/fatalism.

If my phrasing is odd I’m afraid it’s just the way I put it, I can’t say more than that. I think I mean the same as you do.

I’m not sure about predestined /fatalism but predetermined/ fatalism and causal determinism means the same thing as far as I can see, so I don’t know what confusion you are talking about?

Usually I would say fatalism is false and that is because fatalism tends to include a therefore: Therefore human actions are ineffectual or therefore we can’t change anything or therefore everything is pointless.

But without the therefore, fatalism and causal determinism appear to be the same to me.

Stephen

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Posted: 09 February 2009 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

Now clearly this doesn’t tell us why Y happened because it might not have happened even though X happened and it still might have happened even if X hadn’t happened.

Incorrect. It doesn’t tell us all of why Y happened, but it gives us some crucial information as to why Y happened. Again, this account is probabilistic. If you’re using it, you’re already assuming that there are such things as partial explanations.

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Posted: 10 February 2009 01:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

Well here is a definition of a probabilistic cause borrowed from Doug:

In the case where we say X caused Y, we call X the “cause” and Y the “effect” because had X not happened, Y would have been less likely to happen. (On a probabilistic account of causality).

This is the application of “probabilistic account of causality” not a definition of it. Your phrasing is not the same as Dougs either. I cannot see how you get from Doug’s to your phrasing which you are is not probabilistic.

Your tenses just do not make any sense and are not just an oddity of your expression but are indicative of problems in your comprehension of causality. The only charitable interpretation seems to be X explains Y if X causes Y. But if you are saying that why not just say it? Anyway you have still given no support for your claim that this is a descriptive definition and I would not accept it as a stipulative definition.

StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

Now clearly this doesn’t tell us why Y happened because it might not have happened even though X happened and it still might have happened even if X hadn’t happened.

Duh! Doug was offering a partial explanation, you are making an unreasonable demand here, what is your justification for this?

StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

If my phrasing is odd I’m afraid it’s just the way I put it, I can’t say more than that. I think I mean the same as you do.

Then why require such odd phrasing, this contradicts your claim that this is a description of common-sense view of causality surely?

StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

I’m not sure about predestined /fatalism but predetermined/ fatalism and causal determinism means the same thing as far as I can see, so I don’t know what confusion you are talking about?

and then you contradict this with:

StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

Usually I would say fatalism is false and that is because fatalism tends to include a therefore: Therefore human actions are ineffectual or therefore we can’t change anything or therefore everything is pointless.

This is fatalism/predetermination and so we both reject it, good.

StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

But without the therefore, fatalism and causal determinism appear to be the same to me.

Well you agree above they are not synonyms. So please stop mixing these terms and confusing the issue. How about sticking to determinism when that is what you mean?

The point of offering definitions is to aid in communication and minimize of semantic confusion. So far you are not doing this here :(

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Posted: 10 February 2009 02:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 10:54 AM
faithlessgod - 09 February 2009 10:35 AM

 

So you still have not justified your odd phrasing which seems to confuse causality and predestination/fatalism. And this is not, according to you,
a stipulative definition but rather a descriptive one ( common-sense view) yet I am still waiting for some support for this claim.

By common sense view I mean what most people intuitevely believe cause means. The effect follows necessarly. And the cause makes the effect happen.

No problem with this but you were previously arguing only for sufficient condition not necessary conditions as you are doing now. Why can you not state your point clearly? Your definition adds more than this you have not restated it above. So none of the the rest of your posts justifies your peculiar phrasing and it this unjustified peculiarity of your definition I am reacting to. All you have above is that

“X is the cause of Y and Y is the effect of X,  if Y necessarily follows from X”

So why not use this as a descriptive definition of common sense causality and proceed?
You seem to be confusing ontology and epistemology in general. What is it you are attempting to describe?

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Posted: 10 December 2009 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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There seem to be different varieties of causes. I’d quite like to identify the types, which I think may well be a fairly straight forward task, compared to the things I’m baffled about.

So it seems to me we have:

1) Cause and effect as in the golf club hit the golf ball which made it fly through the air.

2) The golf ball being what it is as a cause of it’s behaviour i.e it flew the particular distance it did, and took the direction it did etc due to it’s particular properties, if it had been different it would have flown in a different direction or perhaps not even budged.

3) Structural causes, like gravity caused the golf ball to come back down to earth.

I think interestingly only 1) has effects following causes while 2) and 3) have causes running simultaneously with effects.

How close am I   shut eye

Stephen

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Posted: 10 December 2009 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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dougsmith - 09 February 2009 01:42 PM
StephenLawrence - 09 February 2009 01:14 PM

Now clearly this doesn’t tell us why Y happened because it might not have happened even though X happened and it still might have happened even if X hadn’t happened.

Incorrect. It doesn’t tell us all of why Y happened, but it gives us some crucial information as to why Y happened. Again, this account is probabilistic. If you’re using it, you’re already assuming that there are such things as partial explanations.

Hi Doug,

I revisited this thread to make my last post but can’t help delving into this again.

So if we don’t know all of why Y happened we can still know part of why Y happened? Ok, yes I can inderstand this but only if there is another unknown part that makes up the whole reason.

The way it seems to me is part or “partial” must mean part of a whole. Put another way partial suggest there is something missing from the explanation doesn’t it?

Stephen

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Posted: 10 December 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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StephenLawrence - 10 December 2009 01:38 PM

Put another way partial suggest there is something missing from the explanation doesn’t it?

A complete explanation of an event could be infinitely long. Any explanation is perforce partial.

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Posted: 10 December 2009 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Stephen,

My guess is that if you consider probability in the Bayesian sense, you may not have so much of a problem. That is, consider probability as a measure of a state of knowledge rather than a physical property of a system.

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Posted: 31 December 2009 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Doug,

I’ve taken the following quote from the nurses and woo thread.

“But correlation does not prove causation, and single instances don’t even demonstrate correlation. Improvements happen even where no treatment occurs. To prove causation you need repeatability and statistical controls”

It struck me that understanding how we prove causation might help a great deal in understanding causation.

I’m sold on the idea that what we are looking to prove is that had event A not happened event B would not have happened.

Of course what we can’t do is pop into the nearest possible would in which event A does not occur in order to have a peak and check what happens. So we need to infer this from observations in the actual world. But how?

Oh and let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year!

Stephen

[ Edited: 31 December 2009 02:50 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 31 December 2009 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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StephenLawrence - 31 December 2009 02:47 AM

I’ve taken the following quote from the nurses and woo thread.

“But correlation does not prove causation, and single instances don’t even demonstrate correlation. Improvements happen even where no treatment occurs. To prove causation you need repeatability and statistical controls”

It struck me that understanding how we prove causation might help a great deal in understanding causation.

I’m sold on the idea that what we are looking to prove is that had event A not happened event B would not have happened.

Of course what we can’t do is pop into the nearest possible would in which event A does not occur in order to have a peak and check what happens. So we need to infer this from observations in the actual world. But how?

By holding all variables fixed except the one we want to check, and then suitably changing the conditions and seeing what happens. That substitutes this world at different times and with different conditions from other possible worlds which we cannot inhabit.

StephenLawrence - 31 December 2009 02:47 AM

Oh and let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year!

You too, Stephen. Hope you have a good 2010.

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Posted: 31 December 2009 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Kaizen - 10 December 2009 04:28 PM

Stephen,

My guess is that if you consider probability in the Bayesian sense, you may not have so much of a problem. That is, consider probability as a measure of a state of knowledge rather than a physical property of a system.

I submit that every event in the universe carries within itself potential to be causal for the next event. It is the amount of potential present that determines the probability of Y following X, and be causal to Y.

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Posted: 31 December 2009 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Happy New Year to all and a sincere wish for peace and harmony.

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Posted: 03 January 2010 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Write4U - 31 December 2009 09:41 AM

I submit that every event in the universe carries within itself potential to be causal for the next event. It is the amount of potential present that determines the probability of Y following X, and be causal to Y.

Could you define your use of “potential”? Your post seems like a tautology.

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Posted: 03 January 2010 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Kaizen - 03 January 2010 08:19 AM
Write4U - 31 December 2009 09:41 AM

I submit that every event in the universe carries within itself potential to be causal for the next event. It is the amount of potential present that determines the probability of Y following X, and be causal to Y.

Could you define your use of “potential”? Your post seems like a tautology.

Webster’s defines (among others) Potential as “That which may become reality” This struck me as a profound definition.
In my paradigm of Universal Potential I am trying to find a philosophical common denominator of everything (real and unreal) in the universe and in principle is not so different from the philosophical hypothesis of Universal Relativity (as a common denominator).
Thus, “while not all Potential becomes reality, all reality, past, present and future, was, is, and will be preceded by Potential”. (including the BB)
(following are quotes from Wikipedia which I believe support my paradigm.)
(W) “One of the most impressive theories emerging out of scientific cosmology was set forth by the late physicist, David Bohm in his book, Wholeness and the Implicate Order. Using the language of mathematics, Bohm set out to describe the transcendent reality and its graded energetic hierarchy in four basic states or orders of energy beginning with the physical world, which he called the Explicate Order.
‘The Explicate Order, weakest of all energy systems, resonates out of and is an expression of an infinitely more powerful order of energy called the Implicate order. It is the precursor of the Explicate, the dreamlike vision or the ideal presentation of that which is to become manifest as a physical object. The Implicate order implies within it all physical universes. However, it resonates from an energy field which is yet greater, the realm of pure potential. It is pure potential because nothing is implied within it; implications form in the implicate order and then express themselves in the explicate order. Bohm goes on to postulate a final state of infinite [zero point] energy which he calls the realm of insight intelligence. The creative process springs from this realm. Energy is generated there, gathers its pure potential, and implies within its eventual expression as the explicate order.” Will Keepin, David Bohm, Noetic Science Journal
(W) “When Bohm’s resonant fields are arranged in a vibrational hierarchy they represent energy in successive states of manifestation from infinitely subtle to the gross physical reality”.
(W4U) Does this support “string theory”?
(W) “Bohm’s breakthroughs in quantum physics have opened the way for a new and productive relationship between ancient wisdom and modern science because, for the first time, they establish Fullness rather than a Void as the ground state of the universe. The implications of this discovery are immense, not only because it offers science a new conceptual paradigm which may hold the key to grand unification but it lays the foundation for a new cosmology in which the polarities of Spirit and Matter may finally be joined in an integral synthesis harmonizing the various expressions of mind, life and matter”.
(W4U) see also the thread “God=Potential Potential=God” (p.s. I am an atheist)
(W) The broadest definition of the Universe is found in De divisione naturae by the medieval philosopher Johannes Scotus Eriugena, who defined it as simply everything: everything that exists and everything that does not exist. Time is not considered in Eriugena’s definition; thus, his definition includes everything that exists, has existed and will exist, as well as everything that does not exist, has never existed and will never exist. This all-embracing definition was not adopted by most later philosophers, but something not entirely dissimilar reappears in QUANTUM PHYSICS, perhaps most obviously in the path-integral formulation of Feynman.[11] According to that formulation, the probability amplitudes for the various outcomes of an experiment given a perfectly defined initial state of the system are determined by summing over all possible paths by which the system could progress from the initial to final state. Naturally, an experiment can have only one outcome; in other words, only one possible outcome is made real in this Universe, via the mysterious process of quantum measurement, also known as the collapse of the wavefunction (but see the many-worlds hypothesis below in the Multiverse section). In this well-defined mathematical sense, even THAT WHICH DOES NOT EXIST (all possible paths) CAN INFLUENCE THAT WHICH DOES FINALLY EXIST (the experimental measurement). As a specific example, every electron is intrinsically identical to every other; therefore, probability amplitudes must be computed allowing for the possibility that they exchange positions, something known as exchange symmetry. This conception of the Universe embracing both the existent and the non-existent loosely parallels the Buddhist doctrines of shunyata and interdependent development of reality, and Gottfried Leibniz’s more modern concepts of contingency and the identity of indiscernibles

(W4U) Potential is the single common denominator in all of the Universe in that it is the only true constant in all of created and uncreated reality. Therefore, Potential is the most fundamental causality for every single event in the universe.

[ Edited: 03 January 2010 06:21 PM by Write4U ]
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