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Questions tagged [causation]

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9 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
Willie Betmore's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
9k views

Is the idea that "Everything is energy" even coherent?

There are many New Age websites claiming Everything is energy. Does this even make sense in philosophy of physics and metaphysics? How can something be "made out of energy"? As far as I ...
ArAj's user avatar
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27 votes
9 answers
27k views

Is infinite regress of causation possible? Is infinite regress of causation necessary?

For a number of reasons — including perhaps a desire to feel that we have a complete understanding of where we came from, or at least an understanding which is completely sufficient for all of ...
Niel de Beaudrap's user avatar
7 votes
6 answers
1k views

Is it a logical flaw to blame someone for an event if they were simply its causal factor?

I would ask if this is a logical fallacy, but I don't think you can consider wrongful attribution of blame to be a logical fallacy, because attributing blame is a normative claim, not a descriptive ...
Bridgeburners's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
381 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 ...
present's user avatar
  • 2,500
5 votes
2 answers
237 views

Is conception an Aristotelian efficient, or material cause?

Someone asks you the question, "Why are you?" You reply My parents conceived me. Am I correct in saying that your conception, according to Aristotle, is the efficient cause of your existence, ...
socrates's user avatar
  • 187
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the "Law of Causality"?

Is there a Law of Causality? Or a principle of Causality? Someone used that in an argument with me and I couldn't find much information on the subject. Thank you in advance.
TCN's user avatar
  • 195
13 votes
10 answers
6k views

Is there a cogent argument against the principle of sufficient reason?

As far as I can see, there are no significant arguments against the principle that all events have a cause, which is to say the principle of sufficient reason. (It's important to note that the ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
  • 7,315
7 votes
6 answers
4k views

What is the difference between correlation and causation?

What is the difference between correlation and causation? Pirates and Global Temperature Example For example, how do we know when we're dealing with correlation only and not also causation here? more ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,250
13 votes
1 answer
293 views

Does having a positive teleology require an entity that has intention exist?

One of the criticisms of Aristotle's final cause category is that if a thing has a purpose, there must exist some entity that has intention to set up that cause. Generally speaking, skeptical ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
  • 7,315
11 votes
6 answers
1k views

What does "to cause" mean?

What does it mean, strictly, for one event to "cause" another? If I throw a ball, does the movement of my arm cause the ball to move, or are they simply correlated events? If you say the arm caused ...
Kenshin's user avatar
  • 1,544
8 votes
4 answers
412 views

When trying to identify causality, do we assume "nearness" between cause and effect?

When asking people what causes what, it seems that they assume that causality has something to do with "temporal nearness" and "space nearness". That is: If I turn on the light switch and the lamp ...
Red Banana's user avatar
  • 1,388
8 votes
5 answers
3k views

How do modern dualists explain the mind-body interaction?

A serious challenge for dualism is explaining how mind and body interact if they are made of ontologically different substances, and more specifically how mental phenomena can causally drive bodily ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
394 views

How do laws of nature enforce themselves?

The Humean view prevailing today is that laws of nature are mere regularities of the empirical events. However, there seems to be a difference between post factum regularities, like the Titius-Bode ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
7 answers
2k views

Everything must have a cause?

In a possible reality, if something came into existence without something giving rise to it, the fact would be that , there was nothing stopping something from coming into existence without anything ...
loopit's user avatar
  • 119
2 votes
2 answers
269 views

What is this idea of causality being articulated?

So I wanted to ask about the kind of causality when someone says something of the sort: "Communism made these people destroy their own society" or "I have a brilliant idea now I will ...
More Anonymous's user avatar
2 votes
12 answers
1k 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 ...
vonjd's user avatar
  • 1,051
20 votes
16 answers
5k views

Why is mind interacting with matter any more problematic than matter interacting with matter?

So there's this supposedly an 'interaction' problem for substance dualism, that isn't there for physicalism or idealism. I've never understood this. So as Hume pointed out, we see event a followed by ...
Ameet Sharma's user avatar
  • 3,093
17 votes
7 answers
7k views

Can a lack of knowledge or understanding invalidate a positive claim?

Consider the example of causal determinism. It can be phrased in many ways, all with identical meaning: - The idea that "every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is ...
stoicfury's user avatar
  • 11.7k
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

What did Wittgenstein mean by saying that the belief in the causal nexus is a superstition?

In the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittenstein says: 5.1361 The events of the future cannot be inferred from those of the present. Superstition is the belief in the causal nexus. I'm ...
k0pernikus's user avatar
  • 1,434
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

What fallacy infers motivation from mere description?

Here's some example: "Men dominate women in the majority of fortune top 100 CEO positions" "Women dominate men in primary school teaching jobs" Neither the men nor the women are actually purposely ...
John Cooper's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
396 views

Is this a good argument against mental causation?

If mental causation exists, then mental phenomena would affect the bodies of sentient beings. Then the bodies of sentient beings (and only they) would be affected by an additional set of causal ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 541
5 votes
3 answers
812 views

Why did the chicken cross the road?

I understand more or less why To get to the other side. can be considered to be a valid answer to the question: Why did the chicken cross the road? I don't understand why Aristotle's final cause ...
Thomas Klimpel's user avatar
4 votes
5 answers
269 views

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 ...
Praxiteles's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
147 views

What are some good philosophical resources on nonlocality?

Bernard d'Espagnat offers a good treatment of nonlocality as it pertains to physics, in his 2006 On Physics and Philosophy. What I'm interested is whether nonlocality has been observed and discussed ...
labreuer's user avatar
  • 3,039
4 votes
3 answers
702 views

Aquinas' Third Way: Why Argue For Only One Necessary Entity?

I came across this description of Aquinas' third way: Third, he argues that if there were no eternal, necessary, and immortal being, if everything had a possibility of not being, of ceasing to be, ...
nexus_2006's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
186 views

How does one cause impede the action of another cause?

How does Aristotle or a medieval scholastic commentator like St. Thomas Aquinas explain how one cause can impede the action of another cause? Or, conversely, how does the removal of an impeding cause ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,250
3 votes
3 answers
719 views

causality vs determinism

Does causality implies determinism? Causation is a necessary relation between cause and effect and I consider determinism as "state of the future will be uniquely fixed by the past's state " ...
reza-ebadi's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What's the difference (if any) between demonstration and description?

How do philosophers of various schools* explain the difference (if any) between demonstration and mere description? Are they synonymous, or are they different? How so? My first impressions: To ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 8,250
2 votes
1 answer
173 views

Who has defended a non-causal (emanationist) concept of strong emergence, compatible with reductionism?

Often in debates about emergence, an opposition is set up between (strong) emergence and reductionism. These are seen as incompatible alternatives. In particular, if one believes in downward causation,...
Avi C's user avatar
  • 996
1 vote
6 answers
1k 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 ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
  • 19.5k
1 vote
2 answers
783 views

Is an infinite regress good logic?

I have come across claims that first causes are not needed we can always have an infinite regress. Is this good logic is what I'm wondering. If the universe has an beginning should we believe that ...
Neil Meyer's user avatar
  • 2,369
1 vote
3 answers
3k views

Why must objects be moved by other objects in Aquinas' First Way argument for God?

In his famous Summa Theologica, the Scholastic theologian Thomas Aquinas presents Five Ways to demonstrate the existence of God. Here is Aquinas' First Way, the argument from motion: The first and ...
Keshav Srinivasan's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
80 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 (...
Anuj Manoj Shah's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
194 views

Is the phrase "Dying is the #1 cause of death in the world" logically sound? [closed]

I just came across it and though it seems like an obvious statement I feel like the rapport of cause doesn't apply here. Dying IS death and not a cause of it. Right?
John's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
1 answer
293 views

How are “causal” loops avoided in Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics?

If we take Aquinas' first way, for example, the inference that a chain of movers exist, is readily made, but no defense for this assumption is given. Usually the argument is interpreted so, that all ...
viuser's user avatar
  • 4,841
1 vote
4 answers
204 views

Are things "caused" by the butterfly effect actually caused by them?

I once read that even a humble medieval peasant merely had to sneeze to cause events hundreds of years in the future: "Not just Napoleon but the humblest medieval peasant had only to sneeze in ...
user107952's user avatar
  • 7,450
0 votes
3 answers
1k views

How does the Humean analysis of causation account for the following objections?

The Humean analysis of causation reads as follows: "We may define a cause to be an object, followed by another, and where all the objects similar to the first, are followed by objects similar to ...
Chosen One's user avatar