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If we have ontological commitment to an unobservable like electrons, are we ontologically committed to the causal relationship between their existence and the observable phenomena we use to know that they exist, i.e. the bonding of atoms?

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    First, electrons have been observed, including outside of atoms. And second, there are theories of causation with no ontological commitment to causality, e.g. Humean regularities, "no metaphysical entities or connections are posited which would ground the regularities". All a theory needs to infer the unobservable is to postulate stable correlations between it and what is observed (based on physical laws, for example). There is no need for ontological causality.
    – Conifold
    Mar 26 at 18:12
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    @JuliusHamilton Someone uncommitted to the existence of electrons could just view them as fictions which we use to explain what we observe (instrumentalism). You could believe that electrons exist but deny causality in the same way you could do the same for anything else. I'm more talking about justification for the belief in electrons than what's necessary for the existence of electrons themselves.
    – edelex
    Mar 27 at 16:34
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    @Conifold But how can we know that that causal logic isn't contingent without ontological validity?
    – edelex
    Mar 27 at 16:48
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    @JoWehler Being ontologically committed to causality would be, in order to be logical, having to believe that causality exists as its own thing in reality rather than something like a way of looking back at events
    – edelex
    Mar 27 at 16:51
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    "Ontological validity" does not have to be provided by causality, physical laws, or some other arrangement, work just as well. And this is to the extent that we need any "non-contingent validity" at all. Empirical generalizations remain fallible whatever we declare in our ontology, so we always infer ontology only "contingently".
    – Conifold
    Mar 27 at 17:45

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If you understand ontological commitment to unobservables as quantifying over objects that are unobservables, as under Quine's criterion of ontological commitment, then no, because to articulate causal relations you need some kind of counterfactual-supporting conditionals - which involves modal logic - whereas ontological commitment in Quine's framework requires just first order, extensional logic (I assume by "commitment to causality" you simply mean that the theory articulates various causal, i.e. subjunectively robust, relations between propositions, not any kind of specifically ontological commitment).

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