Questions tagged [causation]

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If y is a direct result of x, and x is occurring, is y unavoidable?

Suppose knocking over a glass has the direct result of making fall. If you knock over a glass, will it fall, no matter what?
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Are patterns prior to causes? Which philosophers are hesitant to believe there really are causes?

Most people and most philosophers seem to strongly believe in causation. I would like understand what philosophers have to say about how to go from believing in just patterns to causes too. Are the ...
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How does a dualist explain changing their mind?

If I'm a monist about the mind and physicalism and/or causal determinism, when I change my mind about some topic, I can posit something causally linked to my mind as changing my opinion. Perhaps I ...
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106 views

Is the reason why we can't come up with a perfect definition of causation, that our common idea of causation is diffuse?

I have read a lot about theories of causation lately. None of them define causation satisfactorily. Either you end up with a definition that comes very close to common sense, but at the same time is ...
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28 views

Questions about Reichenbach's Principle and causes

Is "statistical dependences need to be explained causally" an accurate depiction of Reichenbach's Principle? (Rob Spekkens https://youtu.be/n8NRSPCekmI?t=1575) Does one need to accept this ...
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Suzy and Billy throwing rocks at a bottle or hitting a bell - are these examples of late preemption?

Regarding causation, late preemption occurs, when a process (cause) leads to an effect, but a backup-process is also set in motion and would have led to the same effect, if the other process wouldn't ...
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205 views

Historical Causation or Causality in History

The words, "Cause" and "Effect", are studied in fields, such as Physics, Cosmology and particularly Philosophy-(i.e. Analytical Philosophy, Metaphysics, as well as, The Philosophy ...
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35 views

How does Spinoza deduce substance must cause itself?

Prop. VII. Existence Belongs to the Nature of Substance Spinoza demonstrates this by arguing substance must be the cause of itself, i.e. existence must belong to the nature of substance (by def. 1). ...
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55 views

Is there a Possible World in which Humeanism isn't true?

I'm an amateur philosopher, interested in the work of Ned Hall: Mindscape podcast: Ned Hall on Possible Worlds and the Laws of Nature (Dec-2019) PhilPapers: Humean Reductionism About Laws Of Nature (...
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86 views

What's the difference between a causal relation and a causal and nomic relation?

If a nomic and causal relation is a relation in which something cause something else and this effect is dependent on the properties of the causal object, what is specific in a simple causal relation?
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143 views

What's the relationship between physical and logical causation?

I have always presumed that logical causation - such as logical rules like the formation of a valid syllogism, or the law of the excluded middle - operate independently of physical causation. That is, ...
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187 views

Kant on causation

I want to start off by saying that I'm not a philosophy major and haven't read any texts. All my understanding is from Wikipedia, Stanford website and Reddit. Please don't hold that against me. I have ...
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318 views

What's the difference between "cause" and "allow"?

Let's say person A picks up a pencil and drops it and person B catches it. I think most people would agree that person A dropping the pencil allowed person B to catch it, but did not cause person B to ...
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Why does cause exist?

We intuitively believe that everything must have a cause. If that is true, does it mean that causation itelf must have a cause? To be clear, I do NOT mean "does the cause of a cause have a cause?&...
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1answer
403 views

Why are Heisenberg's uncertaity principle and the quantum theory considered to upset or to affect human experience of reality? [closed]

These two principles seem to have caused an uproar within the scientific community and to have supposedly disrupted notions of 'causality'. Since both features already existed before their 'discovery' ...
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Why is causation not just a special case of correlation?

Here is more context to the question. A common example given of the “obviousness” that correlation does not equal causation is that shark attacks correlate with ice cream consumption. The explanation ...
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3answers
191 views

Free Will as Incoherent (What's wrong with this argument?)

Is this a sound argument? Free will is a cause that is neither determinism nor stochastic. Causes are either deterministic or stochastic. Free will is an incoherent entity All incoherent entities do ...
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459 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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189 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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81 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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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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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
169 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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130 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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129 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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566 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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1answer
134 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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60 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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148 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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154 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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147 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
106 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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268 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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693 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
224 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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426 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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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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107 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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76 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
140 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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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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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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63 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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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 ...