17

It's no solution to postulate a primordial source as a remedy against infinite regress. The concept of a primordial source prompts at once the question for its cause. To say it is "causa sui" - the answer of Christian philosophy - does not answer the question but rejects it. My conclusion: We must not overestimate the power of pure reasoning. Instead, we ...


14

Most answers are misinterpreting your question. Whether it be space-time itself, the multi-verse, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster you would like to know if something had to first exist for infinity due to the problems with infinite regression. If we assume the Big Bang Theory is correct, then there is no "before" the Big Bang in the usual sense of the word ...


13

This is very similar to Thomas Aquinas' second 'way'. Aquinas was a 13th century catholic philosopher and wrote Quinque viæ, five ways to God. The second is The Argument of the First Cause. The five ways are controversial and very debatable. Richard Dawkins famously criticised them in The God Delusion. He claims it is a form of special pleading to say that ...


11

We can not carry the argument past the first step because if our physical laws are simulated then we know nothing about the "physics" of the world that does the simulating. In particular, it may make no sense to say that one computer is "bigger" than another if they function by completely different principles, space or time as we know them may not apply to ...


10

There are ways to reconcile libertarian free will even with classical physics. One could say (as was common position in 19-th century) that the laws of nature are only approximations and do not prescribe future events in every detail, free will is constrained only as far as the metaphysical margin of error. Non-Lipschitz forces (gravity, resistance) produce ...


9

The threat of epiphenomenalism is indeed a major issue intensively discussed in the last decades. But while there is a broad consensus against it, there is no agreement as to what exactly blocks it. Burge in Foundations of Mind (Ch. 20) even says that the dominance of materialism in the contemporary philosophy of mind is a reaction (in his view unwarranted) ...


7

OK, I'm going to have a go at this. An argument can go 3 ways: A circular path. Infinite regress. Hmm... let's just call it stop condition for now. Circular arguments These are outright nonsense. A thing cannot prove itself. Oil floats on water because oil floats on water. Nonsense. The premises are right, but the argument is nonsense. Compare with: ...


7

First a point of clarification, from what you are describing, you are talking about libertarian freewill, not compatibilist freewill. More on that later. At the heart of your question is a confusion that you need to clarify, then you will understand the second paragraph you quoted better. You are confusing "Determinism" with "Lack of freewill" due to a ...


7

The OP quote draws a distinction between determinism ("hard determinism"), and causal completeness ("less absolute determinism"). The former means that the current physical state of the universe predetermines its future state in every detail, i.e. it is a "sufficient cause", this is the Laplacian view of classical mechanics. The latter means that although ...


7

In the relevant sense the answer is "no", the appearance of a "yes" is created by projecting classical intuitions about locality onto quantum objects. This is confusing because the definition of locality adopted in classical physics becomes misleading when transplanted into quantum physics. "Quantum non-locality" of entanglement is a misnomer, rather than ...


7

If the world were without causality then it need not change in any way. It might fortuitously behave exactly as it does now. This is certainly a logical possibility. If the world were without causality but none the less followed probabilistic laws - exhibited probabilistic regularities - then we could easily get by counting on such regularities if their ...


6

The problem of freewill results from the fact that our subjective experiences from the first persons's viewpoint are different than our scientific observations and experiences from the third person's viewpoint. When going bottom-up the levels of physics, chemistry and neurobiolology of the brain we successfully operate on each level with deterministic laws. ...


6

One of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics is the principle of superposition. Its most simple application reads: If two paths exist to move from state A to state B, then the transition function (psi-function) develops to the final state as the sum of the two separate transition functions. The double split experiment has two different paths from ...


5

Delayed choices undermines past to future causality only if one assumes that the initial state of a system must directly determine measurement results, and that wave functions represent our ignorance of an underlying state which is already determined and only revealed by measurements, but there are other interpretations. In sum, the situation is as follows: ...


5

Your definition of randomness is not bad. A couple important points to note, however: Randomness refers to physical processes only. Mathematical identities like 1 + 1 = 2 are independent of any physical property or process and would be true even if the physical universe were to disappear. The debate over determinism is centered about whether the entire ...


4

I think that according to special relativity, there is no now somewhere else, regardless of the distance, at least as long as we are not talking of quantum mechanics scales, "now" is only "here". This is how Feynman puts it: "Alpha Centauri 'now' is an idea or concept of our mind; it is not something that is really definable physically at the moment." but ...


4

The answer depends on the definition of "causal", but traditional metaphysics did not require causal relation to be temporal. The most famous counterexample is the relation between God and the world in Christian theology modeled on the relation between One and the world in the neo-Platonism of Plotinus. God or One are eternal/atemporal and do not even exist, ...


4

When you ask if "causality" requires an "arrow of time," I believe it is not impertinent to say, the opposite is more nearly the case. The Newtonian, "billiard ball" picture of causation is reversible. Run the events backwards and you could not tell the difference. This is why such mechanical causality can be captured in mathematics, where there is no ...


4

First, we need to distinguish between the proximate and mediate causes, because we would call throwing a ball to be the (mediate) cause of a broken window even though the throwing hand never came into contact with the window. But it is indeed common to assume that proximate causes, the elementary links of causal chains, do involve spatio-temporal proximity. ...


4

Spinoza is not in any straightforward way a follower of Descartes. Descartes, for instance, believes that there are two substances, mind and body. For Spinoza, by contrast, there is only one substance; thought (mind) and extension (body) are attributes of it. That's quite a contrasting picture ! It is certainly nothing like Cartesian dualism. Freedom for ...


4

I suggest Paul, L.A. (2009): Counterfactual Theories, In: Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock, and Peter Menzies (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Causation, Oxford: Oxford UP, Ch. 8. This is a good and quite easy-to-read introduction that is particularly addressed to students getting familiar with the theories of causation. It also offers a lot of material ...


4

It was an epistemological problem, Hume's theory of impressions and ideas was a bit too simplistic to describe human cognition realistically, which is understandable given the state of psychology at the time. Kant resolved the problem by postulating "synthetic a priori" of which causality is one. They do not come from "impressions" but rather from ...


4

Simply put, causality would imply that the cause is a sufficient condition for the effect. That A caused B would only mean that A is a sufficient condition for B -- not that A is a necessary condition for B. This is because there may be other things that can bring about state B. For it to be a necessary condition, it must be the only condition that can ...


3

This question mixes the action of the will with the original desire or choice of the will to attempt to carry out an action over time. Assuming: Humans can behave irrationally Irrational behavior by definition does not have constraints Behavior follows from willed choices Then it follows that human will can make irrational choices that have no constraints ...


3

For statement #2, the math is correct. Also, the passage of time is required for causal behavior. You are being misled by your statement, "they (photons) appear to behave causally." I believe this is caused by you not differentiating between "photon causality" and "observer causality." Even if the photon had a "brain," it would not be "aware" of causing ...


3

Variational principles play a main role in todays physics under the name Lagrange principle. That is a very general principle which allows to derive the fundamental equations of the physical domain in question. Lagrange principle states that the real path of the system is distinguished from all possible paths by the fact that a certain integral is minimal. ...


3

Synchronicity or mysticism is hardly mentioned in respectable philosophy. A recent mention in psychology (quoted below) throws some light, and Stanislav Grof writes interestingly about it. Synchronicity and mysticism seem to be a better subject fit for psychology than analytical philosophy. It's such a different paradigm, akin to speculating that reality ...


3

One could simply argue that human knowledge is reducible to the physical, and then there's no causal problem. The serious problem for all theories of mind, I think, is the so-called hard problem of consciousness, since even if everything is given causal explanation, there's still something missing, that is, the experience of consciousness.


3

The way quantum mechanics is commonly discussed makes this a very confusing issue. I will discuss this problem first and then move on to free will. People like to say there are multiple interpretations of quantum mechanics, which have different implications for what is happening in reality. These then claim that these different explanations all have the same ...


3

I believe this impression is created by surveying the more "popular" part of the literature. Leiter in Nietzsche’s Theory of the Will describes the general approach as routine: "I am concerned with the notion of “will” familiar from general philosophy of action, both contemporary and historical, namely, the idea of a human faculty, whatever its precise ...


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