Questions tagged [causation]

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21
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6answers
6k views

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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6answers
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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 ...
17
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5answers
5k 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 ...
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9answers
3k views

What distinguishes cause from effect when they are simultaneous?

At a high level, distinguishing cause and effect is typically easy enough: the cause comes first. I drop a ball off a roof; therefore, it falls and hits the ground. But on a fundamental level, physics ...
12
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3answers
769 views

Did Malebranche believe both the idea in the mind and the movement in the body are caused by God?

My senior thesis explored the notion of action under George Berkeley's system, and one claim I tried to address was that Berkeley contradicts himself when discussing will. In his Philosophical ...
12
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1answer
243 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 ...
11
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6answers
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 ...
11
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3answers
537 views

A Neo-Kantian View on Causality?

Quantum non-determinism seems incompatible with Kant’s defense of causality in his Second Analogy. Stephen R. Palmquist however provides an interesting and appealing case against this supposition, ...
10
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3answers
823 views

Are the experiences of the “flow of time” and of “cause and effect” qualia?

Physics and biology have no answer why or how we personally experience the color red and we say that the experience of the color red is a quale. Physics also has no answer why or how we experience ...
10
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1answer
201 views

Is there any literature on the relationship between responsibility and probability?

If A causes B and I am doing A (willingly, knowingly, ...), then I can be held responsible for B. But what if probabilities are involved? Thought experiment: If you roll a 1 on a die you win. You ...
10
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
8
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7answers
3k views

Is there any exception to the law of “Cause and Effect”?

I've heard that 'God' is the only exception to the law of Cause and Effect which means that He is not dependent in His existence on anything. Can it be philosophically true? If we accepted this ...
8
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5answers
2k 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 ...
8
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4answers
356 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 ...
8
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5answers
759 views

Can anything truly be simultaneous?

I was looking at a discussion about simultaneous causation and something that came up was that all physical processes take time. So nothing can truly be simultaneous. And yet, we have philosophers ...
8
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1answer
191 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 ...
7
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6answers
804 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 ...
7
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2answers
779 views

What is the logical structure of this argument by a Hindu philosopher about causation?

The Khandana Khanda Khadya is a work by the 12th century Hindu philosopher Sri Harsha which in some sense sets out to disprove epistemology - it seeks to show that all putative means of knowledge, ...
7
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3answers
224 views

How can one in principle distinguish causality from observed regularity?

Hume showed that one cannot infer cause & effect in nature by induction alone. We only notice that when event A occurs then so does event B. If event A always occurs before event B we are still ...
7
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4answers
1k views

What was Kant's argument that causation is necessary for observation?

In this comic, the fictional Immanuel Kant talks about investigating David Hume's "An Inquiry Concerning Human Reason". Hume, in that work, argued that we only see two things happening in ...
7
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1answer
194 views

Temporally stable determination of value in consequentialism

If one is a consequentialist, one at least implicitly makes decisions based on how good or bad the consequences are. As such, you must implicitly have a function f that maps from the set of ...
6
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7answers
669 views

Can logic be without time?

I think logic is dependent on time. My reasoning is that all of the basic logic concepts are based on axioms that are observations in time (so basic that they do not require proof). This then leads ...
6
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3answers
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 ...
6
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5answers
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Is the delayed choice quantum eraser a refutation of principle of causality? How does contemporary philosophy make sense of it?

Causality, as per Wiki Is the relation between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the first event is understood to be responsible for the second. For this relationship ...
6
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2answers
257 views

Why is the mind/body problem considered to be particularly hard?

Non-philosopher here. I apologize in advance for any imprecise language. Why is the notion that mental states exist and arise from brain states especially perplexing? Aren't what entities exist and ...
5
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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 ...
5
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7answers
193 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 ...
5
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3answers
594 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 ...
5
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2answers
191 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, ...
5
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5answers
2k 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? ...
5
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2answers
162 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?
5
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1answer
88 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
147 views

If the Humean analysis of causality is correct, why don't we observe causeless events more often?

The Humean analysis of causation would hold that there is no actual relation between two events (being 'cause' and 'effect'), and that any sense of 'causal powers' can be reduced to talk about the ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Kant's distinction of freedom as transcendental idea and as practical concept: What is the benefit?

Prompted by the current discussion about Kant’s concept of causality of freedom Can Free Will Exist In A Causal Material World? I would like to understand the scope and the difference of the two ...
5
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1answer
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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.
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4answers
110 views

Does the lack of absurdities in our universe call into question the validity of multiverse theories?

Does the lack of absurdities in our universe call into question the validity of multi verse theories? If the theories about multi verse are to be true and we have explained the immensely improbable ...
4
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4answers
230 views

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; ...
4
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3answers
197 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 ...
4
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3answers
180 views

What does “the fact that P causes Q” mean?

I'm reading the paper, "A Causal theory of knowing", written by Goldman. In the paper, he presents the following as conditions of knowledge (S knows P): 1) It is the case that P. 2) S believes that ...
4
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4answers
271 views

Is cause and effect part of an individual's theory of the mind?

One of the arguments marshaled against traditional cultures' invocation of spirits is that they're simply projecting their own fears onto the world. That they're anthropomorphizing the world. It is ...
4
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1answer
292 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 ...
4
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2answers
210 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 ...
4
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2answers
10k views

Hume and Kant on causality: do their views really differ?

David Hume If one event always follows another we believe the first causes the second. But it is impossible to prove, empirically or logically, that the second event happened because the first did. ...
4
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3answers
233 views

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 ...
4
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5answers
182 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 ...
4
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3answers
132 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 ...
3
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3answers
243 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 ...
3
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3answers
99 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, ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Hume (Cause and Effect and Substance)

I am having trouble understanding how Hume arrives at the concepts of cause and effect and of substance. Does any of it have to do with every perception being a distinct experience or that causation ...