Questions tagged [causation]

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3answers
138 views

Is the idea of a causal chain physical (or even scientific)?

I am aware that the idea is venerable, going back through Lucretius to the Stoics and Epicurus, and even to Aristotle with his prime mover argument. But isn't this a pre-scientific notion? The ...
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1answer
87 views

How can God be in the genus of efficient causes?

In Summa Theologica I q. 3 a. 5 "Whether God is contained in a genus?", Aquinas says that if God were in a genus, it would be the genus of "being," but being cannot be the genus of anything (cf. ...
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73 views

Is there a non singularist analysis of causation which says it's an internal relation?

The final distinction we will need, or more accurately, family of distinctions, is between internal and external relations. What makes them members of a single family is that a relation is internal if ...
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2answers
129 views

What's wrong with this reconstruction of Nagarjuna?

I was trying to add clarity to my concept of "rebirth" on the Buddhist stack exchange. Nagarjuna's karika, 1.3 (Batchelor) reads: The essence of things does not exist in conditions and so on. If ...
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What is the “ontic principle”?

"there is no difference that does not make a difference" according to Bryant. Specifically, and independent of whether this is stated by him, does it mean that any two terms with the same referent ...
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55 views

How does Buddhist soteriology link to the first cause argument?

Aquinas argued that the observable order of causation is not self-explanatory. It can only be accounted for by the existence of a first cause; this first cause, however, must not be considered ...
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Some questions on causality and modern science

Note: I'm translating the vocabulary from Spanish so there may be some erroneous terms. If so, please edit them. In Causality: the place of the causal principle in modern science by Mario Bunge, the ...
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1answer
93 views

What is the relationship between scientific explanation and interpretability?

I am trying to understand the relationship between Scientific Explanation and Intelligibility / Understanding. I believe the former is grounded in the Metaphysics of Causation while the latter is ...
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56 views

Examples of identical sets which are not causal?

Google is failing me in my search for examples of identical sets which do no have causal relationships between them. What I mean is that all and only objects which belong to set A belong to set B, but ...
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What do you call the fallacy of thinking that some action A will guarantee some outcome B, when in reality B depends on multiple other conditions?

Example: Dentist: “You have multiple cavities.” Patient: “That’s ridiculous! You always told me that brushing my teeth prevents cavities. I brush my teeth every night. Therefore, I can’t possibly ...
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79 views

Does a biconditional necessarily imply a causal relationship?

Supposing A if and only if B, is it necessarily true that either A causes B or B causes A? I'm considering this question where the truth values of A and B are both True, not both false. In theory, ...
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205 views

What's the difference between cause and condition?

If I drop a ball, the act of release is the cause. What are the conditions in this situation? Few examples that come to mind are: gravity, mass, density of air.. What's the difference between cause ...
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36 views

Is Duff's test of failure just the contrapositive of “D intends a consequence of his action if he acts with the aim of producing that consequence”?

Isn't 2 (Duff's test of failure) just the contrapositive of 1? I can rephrase 2 as 2.1. If the result didn't occur, would D regard himself as having failed in his plan? The logical contrapositive ...
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50 views

Do any arguments — at all— about qualia work analogously to arguments about causation?

Are there any arguments about qualia that are analogous to those about cause? I'm asking partly because cause and qualia seem they should be hot topics of any philosophy, and partly due to a confused ...
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124 views

Does the reversibility of laws of physics prove that causality doesn't exist?

Does the fact that the fundamental laws are symmetric with respect to direction of time show that causation does not exist? Since causality always requires the cause to precede the effect, but laws of ...
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129 views

Are all explanations either personal or scientific?

In A New Cosmological Argument, Richard Gale and Alexander Pruss offer up a cosmological argument for a personal God, from the weak principle of sufficient reason (among other premises, but the WPSR ...
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1answer
127 views

Is this argument equivalent to the argument of prime mover of Aristotle?

For alternation in the status of A to be a cause of the alteration in the status of B, we naively demand that the former alteration exists before the later, and so the later [i.e.; the alteration in ...
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1answer
79 views

Questions concerning Hume's argument for the unknowability of ultimate causes

I'm currently reading through Hume's An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and I'm having trouble understanding one of his big arguments in the section entitled "Skeptical Doubts Concerning the ...
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How are 'voluntary' actions possible in the scope of Sam Harris's framework of free will (its absence actually)?

Disclamer: I am striving to understand the point of view, not to examine if it is right or wrong (makes sense or not, etc.). I have listened to two audio excerpts by Sam Harris, discussing his views ...
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Is there a philosophical position for and against the idea that every causal entity contributes to every effect?

Is there a philosophical position for and against the idea that every causal entity can in principle contribute to every effect? So do some e.g. physical explanations claim that entities of type X ...
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207 views

Would a first cause exist necessarily, so that absences are uncaused?

Would a first cause exist necessarily? So, let's suppose God is the first cause. Does that mean he necessarily exists? Does He then mean that his effects also exist, contingently or not, so that ...
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326 views

What are examples of causes that do not require energy to produce an effect?

As a comment to an answer Conifold mentioned that "Causes may not require any energy to produce the effect". After thinking about that, I couldn't come up with any such causes outside of metaphysical ...
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1answer
171 views

Formal logic to describe causation?

I'm looking for any formal work that has been done on describing causation the way people understand it. I am not looking for logical implication, more a way to talk about "Why?" questions. Basically, ...
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222 views

“Idea of Power” - Locke and Hume

What is the concept of "power" in the context of "causation" in the philosophy of John Locke and David Hume? At one instance, in his treatise "An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding", Hume seems ...
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155 views

Must an eternal object be uncaused?

Let's say that we grant that item "X" is eternal. By "eternal" we mean that it has always existed and that it always will exist. Because "X" is eternal, does it follow that it MUST be uncaused?
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90 views

Does a material cause either depend on its effect or appear to be somehow self-sufficient?

Does a material cause either depend on its effect or appear to be somehow self suffiient? Aristotle considers the material "cause" (hyle) of an object as equivalent to the nature of the raw ...
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Explain kant's conception of causality as an a priori category prescribed by the understanding to all possible objects of experience?

How does causality relate to the a priori and experience? I am having trouble connecting the dots. Any help would be great!
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1answer
65 views

How does Hume's conception of impressions and ideas lead him to argue that causality can only be probabilistic?

I am trying to understand this concept and it just isn't clicking. Any help would be appreciated!
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1answer
110 views

Can causally unconnected things become causally connected?

Things have properties and what it means by being in a causal connection is one object's property/properties determines the property/properties of the other object with which the first object ...
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27 views

Is Levinas using an original form of causation?

I don't remember the exact reference so it might be a bit hard to understand my question, but I'll try to draw the general idea that I understand Levinas to be using. Levinas puts a kind of ...
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179 views

Hume and the notion of causation

Hume argues that what most people associate as "cause" could be the constant conjunction of events. There is no way to prove a necessary connection between A and B. However, my question has to do ...
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1answer
60 views

Combining causal and identity relations

Suppose I have the causal relation C causes E, and the symmetric identity relation E is (E1 ^ E2 ^ E3), which have the following probability functions: E = bC and E = E1 * E2 * E3 where E, C, E1, E2 ...
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170 views

How do epiphenomenalists make sense of discussions about qualia?

Epiphenomenalists believe that mental events have no causal effect on the physical. They may differ in what they consider "mental events" but it seems all of them would consider qualia / phenomenal ...
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158 views

Will AI make falsifiability obsolete?

With the advances in machine learning, data mining and process of big data, soon machines will find patterns that could either interpreted as causation or correlation while we have no idea of the ...
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54 views

How is 'social meaning of an action' a human action's Formal Cause?

Capaldi PhD Columbia, Smit PhD Catholic Univ. of Leuven. The Art of Deception (2007). p. 213. Please see the red arrow beneath. How can 'social meaning of an action' be the Formal Cause of the human ...
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508 views

Why's an acorn's Formal Cause “structural potential to become an oak tree”?

Capaldi PhD Columbia, Smit PhD Catholic Univ. of Leuven. The Art of Deception (2007). p. 191-2. According to Aristotle, the concept of "causation" has to be understood in four different senses. ...
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5answers
2k views

If we imagine a world that functions without causality, how absurd could it be?

If we assume that there's a universe that is devoid of causality, and if we assume that it isn't eternally static, would that mean that everything can happen because there are no reasons inhibiting ...
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7answers
189 views

How are the actions of conscious beings interpreted in terms of cause and effect?

When there's inanimate objects such as two billiard balls, we determine that ball C is the cause of Ball D's movement if C collides with D and shoves it. In addition, because ball C is an inanimate ...
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345 views

Can the principle of sufficient reason be applied to the whole of existence?

Many philosophers (Leibniz and Heidegger, to name but two) consider "Why is there something rather than nothing" the most difficult and important question. Given that "nothing" is a possibility among ...
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If I use an object to produce an effect, am I the direct or the indirect cause of the effect?

People appeared to approach this question as if it were about whether I can be held liable for the action of breaking a window (the main example). However, this question has nothing to do with law; ...
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586 views

Is causality a type of necessary and sufficient condition?

Does 'A caused B' mean that A is a necessary and sufficient condition for B? Imagine that we go to a shop and buy two items with a total cost 40 dollars (30 for 1st item and 10 for the 2nd). Is the ...
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63 views

Are physical forces a non-entity cause?

I have been browsing some posts in this StackExchange where I encountered a rather odd proposition that Gravity and other forces are non-entity causes. I fail to see how that is the case. I ...
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1answer
76 views

Is there a theory in philosophy that time can be reduced to causation?

Some people really believe that the past somehow physically exists even if it's past. Like the universe has some kind of container where all its past states are stored. On the other hand, there are ...
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Causality: is it possible for one attribute to be found in one node but not the others before it?

This is a rather basic question about causality, but I'm a bit confused over it (especially in terms of the "first cause" argument). Causality (from Wikipedia): Agency or efficacy that connects ...
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2answers
148 views

If purpose is just another side of cause, is everyone a consequentialist?

Purpose is just another side of cause. This is what I take as a premise. One might change "cause" by "reason" sometimes, both are related. Every non-randomistic process has some end after which this ...
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13answers
826 views

Sketch of a proof for real free will?

I have read many contemporary philosophers and the mainstream view seems to be that real free will is an illusion in the sense that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon which is only set on top of ...
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1answer
50 views

Can the immediate effect of a cause be considered a part of the cause? If not, why?

I was wondering whether heat from a fire can be considered part of the fire (heat will definitely exist merely in the presence of fire)? Or, whether sunlight can be considered part of the sun (...
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Aristotle's middle point between teleological eliminativists and teleological intentionalists

I'm reading an introduction to Aristotle's theory of causation, Aristotle by Christopher Shields, and I understand that he says that Aristotle's view of final causes is between teleological ...
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On the explanation of facts

As a chemist, I have some philosophical doubts about explanation of facts. Short intro In Bertrand Russell's book 'History of Western Philosophy' he says that leading-to scientific knowledge is the '...
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1answer
159 views

The subtle difference between interaction and causal effect (law of cause and effect)

I was talking with a friend about autonomous cars, he said to me that for these cars is required full interaction with other vehicles. I thought that with "interaction" he was referring to "...