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To my critical thinking, it is an invalid concept, why?

First, I divide concepts into valid or invalid kinds.

A valid concept is one that at least is possible to imagine a concrete event where the concept is objectified - in the imagination i.e. of man.

An invalid concept is the opposite of a valid concept, for example, an invalid has within itself contradictory features, like a non-existing existing cat at the same time in the same place and in the same sense of the animal cat.

Now, an "infinite regress of causation" cannot be imagined at all by man, as it is still regressing infinitely, so why at all talk or debating about its existence, when its existence is not yet in itself completed as to have come to existence - on that basis it is a self-contradictory idea or what I call an invalid concept.

It might be imagined that an "infinite regress of causation" is in a circle, that is also an invalid concept to my critical thinking, because again the causation is not yet completed, no matter that it is in a circle.

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    What prevents an "infinite regress of causation" to be imagined by a man? How does it contradict itself? I can perfectly imagine the idea that every cause has another cause before it, and that such a pattern could just keep going indefinitely. In the same vein, when you "imagine" a man, can't be fully imagined by a man either; since man doesn't even fully understand itself, how could it possibly truly imagine another man? Why is me imagining an infinite chain of causes any different? – JMac Apr 14 '20 at 19:26
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    Aren't you putting too much weight on man's imagination? Our cultural history is a history of constant lack of it, men still can not imagine how quantum mechanics works. And yet it works. This said, a man named Zeno imagined how Achilles chasing after a tortoise would have to first cover half the distance between them, which causes him to cover the next quarter, and the next eighth, etc. So he only catches up with it after an "infinite regress of causation". And yet he does catch up. – Conifold Apr 14 '20 at 20:44
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    OK, so are the Integers a valid concept? We can only imagine them by starting an idea and walking away, letting it continue on its own into an infinite future. Is that image any more proper than imagining the regress into an infinite past? If they aren't, I cannot imagine your distinction being useful in the long run. Infinite iteration has proved too useful, in the form of the Calculus, etc. to reject it as invalid. – hide_in_plain_sight Apr 14 '20 at 21:18
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    @MariusDejess 1. "Imagining" is the wrong sort of criterion for concepts. Concepts are conceived, not imagined. We conceive of the infinite but cannot imagine it and we imagine things without concept. 2. It is fallacious to argue as you do that an infinite regress of causation is regressing in time. As conceptualised, causation goes forward, the cause A of B coming before B could be a cause of C. You confuse regress, a type of logical argument, and the concept of an infinite chain of causes, a concept. This may explain why you qualify concepts as "valid" or "invalid" as if they were arguments. – Speakpigeon Apr 15 '20 at 10:47
  • Man can think up everything even the most ridiculous, but that does not mean that it is of any use at all outside his mind, still it can be just pure fiction and for entertainment only. That is the 'trouble' with man's mind, that its organ the brain does not go out of whack with all kinds of nonsense that the mind can think up. And that gives a lot of licentiousness to man to not think only of useful things, still as I said, fiction is good for entertainment. When the infinite 'concept' is used, on examination it is not infinite but finite. – Marius Dejess Nov 1 '20 at 17:33
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Concepts can't be valid or invalid, those terms are used for arguments. You can certainly argue that a concept is contradictory or incoherent, but just being unable to conceive of something doesn't seem to be grounds for saying something is contradictory.

Regress arguments are common in philosophy. There are several ways of dealing with them:

  1. Infinitism. Accept infinite regression of concepts, substances, justification, causation, whatever. That's the way it is.
  2. Foundationalism. There are basic entities that cannot be subdivided. Once you've got down to this level you can go no further.
  3. Coherentism. Everything justifies/ causes everything else. This isn't as simple as saying x causes y and y causes x. It posits a huge interconnected web of relations, but no part of it is foundational, and the number of parts, although large, is finite. So there is no infinite regress.

For more detail, you'd do well to look at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/infinite-regress/

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  • That the word "valid" is used for arguments doesn't imply that it is only used for arguments. The expression "valid concept" is used in particular in science. The use for arguments is not the only possibility given in dictionaries, and it is only given as the fourth one: Valid adj. 1. Well grounded; just. 2. Producing the desired results; efficacious. 3. Having legal force; effective or binding. 4. Logic a. Containing premises from which the conclusion may logically be derived: a valid argument. – Speakpigeon Apr 15 '20 at 10:23
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[...] cannot be imagined at all by man, [...] so why at all talk or debating about its existence

Because what is true / exists is independent of what "can be imagined", whatever that is supposed to mean.

Counter-argument: If we talk about it, we have already "imagined it".

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"Is an 'infinite regress of causation' a valid concept?"

No, it is not any valid concept, because no matter how you want to define valid and invalid, what is valid is that the components of the concept must be coherent and consistent among themselves, and what is invalid is that the components are incoherent and inconsistent among themselves.

Why and how are the components of an infinite regress of causation incoherent and inconsistent among themselves?

Because every instant of causation is complete, for example, a man and his wife caused the coming to life of a baby, that is already a complete baby, so why should there be search for more and more and more endlessly for a previous man and wife at all, they certainly will die in a limited course of time, while the latest baby is alive and will continue in life, but all previous man and wife died already.

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"Is an 'infinite regress of causation' a valid concept?"

No matter how the advocates of the validity of an infinite regress of causation want to understand what is a valid and what an invalid concept, the fact and the truth is in an infinite regress of causation: every instant of causation is an incomplete deficient and thus non-realizable causation, if and when there is in the chain a complete sufficient and thus realizable causation, then it is no longer an infinite regress of causation, and it satisfies my requirements of a valid concept, namely:

"Now, an "infinite regress of causation" cannot be imagined at all by man, as it is still regressing infinitely, so why at all talk or debating about its existence, when its existence is not yet in itself completed as to have come to existence - on that basis it is a self-contradictory idea or what I call an invalid concept.

It might be imagined that an "infinite regress of causation" is in a circle, that is also an invalid concept to my critical thinking, because again the causation is not yet completed, no matter that it is in a circle." (See Marius Dejess' first topmost entry of posts above.)

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