13 votes
Accepted

Can a totally ordered set with a last element but no first element exist, or is this contradictory?

Can a totally ordered set with a last element but no first element exist, or is this contradictory? Taking the usual mathematical definition of total order, and taking "last element" to ...
John Bollinger's user avatar
11 votes
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Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

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. ...
Conifold's user avatar
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11 votes
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How does Quantum Mechanics affect the modern account of free will and determinism?

The OP quote draws a distinction between determinism ("hard determinism"), and causal completeness ("less absolute determinism"). The former means that the current physical state ...
Conifold's user avatar
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9 votes

Does Quantum Entanglement Disprove the Principle of Locality?

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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9 votes

How to be skeptical of transcendental arguments?

I don't see any need to be 'sceptical' of transcendental arguments. It's rather like being sceptical of deduction whether done classically or modally. And in fact, a transcendental argument relies on ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
8 votes

How does Quantum Mechanics affect the modern account of free will and determinism?

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 ...
Alexander S King's user avatar
8 votes

Explanation of the cause of the event of the beginning of time

Events in the natural world are determined to have temporal cause and a temporal effect. That may have been tenable pre-quantum mechanics, but we have evidence and supporting theory to suggest that ...
Annika's user avatar
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7 votes
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If we imagine a world that functions without causality, how absurd could it be?

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 ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
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7 votes

How to be skeptical of transcendental arguments?

The argument form that you quote is straightforwardly valid in standard logic. It might be symbolised as 1. ◇Y → X 2. Y 3. Y → ◇Y therefore, 4. X You give 1 and 2 as premises, and 3 is the T axiom ...
Bumble's user avatar
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6 votes

Can a totally ordered set with a last element but no first element exist, or is this contradictory?

Take the negative integers. But remember that arbitrarily large numbers don’t require an infinite item. There are arbitrarily large and small integers, but no infinite ones.
gnasher729's user avatar
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6 votes

How many dimensions does time have?

The time variable in spacetime can be rolled into the algebra like a spatial quantity but gets marked with a sign (+/-) opposite that of the spatial variables so the math will work out. This is ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
5 votes

Spinoza and causality

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;...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
  • 35.7k
5 votes

Is it possible to have truth if objective randomness exists?

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 ...
njs's user avatar
  • 934
5 votes

Is causality a type of necessary and sufficient condition?

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 ...
virmaior's user avatar
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5 votes

How to be skeptical of transcendental arguments?

Keeping a fairly narrow scope to Modal Logic here, I think a key concept that might help you out here is Access in modal frames. Kripke's frame semantics introduce not just the idea of possible ...
Paul Ross's user avatar
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5 votes
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What is this idea of causality being articulated?

The answer to this question is straightforward. Any metaphysical view of causation that imputes causal powers from the abstract domain of human thought to the physical world is known as mental ...
J D's user avatar
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5 votes

If nothing is preventing something from existing, must it exist?

No. You are assuming that for a thing not to exist there must be a factor that prevents it from existing, which is an unnecessary assumption. There is nothing to prevent me from creating a passible ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
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4 votes

Is free will a third option aside from chance and necessity?

It is not a viable option. Only chance or necessity are implied by the fundamental fact that all thoughts arise impersonally. As William James, among others, noted: "If we could say 'it thinks' the ...
Jonathan Bricklin's user avatar
4 votes

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

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
4 votes

How does Quantum Mechanics affect the modern account of free will and determinism?

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 ...
alanf's user avatar
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4 votes
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Book or article recommendation about causality and counterfactuals

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 ...
Philip Klöcking's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why is Hume struggling to reconcile causality with his notion of what is knowable?

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
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4 votes
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Most important modern/contemporary essays on free will

It's interesting that this isn't straightforward to answer. I would note, discussions of free will come down primarily to definitions, so what tradition or perspective someone comes from is key to not ...
CriglCragl's user avatar
  • 21.7k
4 votes

Can a totally ordered set with a last element but no first element exist, or is this contradictory?

Your friend's reasoning doesn't hold up. The argument that your friend is making is the following. Suppose that a totally ordered set with a last element, but no first element, exists. Then: Each ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
4 votes

cause “for which all causal relations exist”

Whether relations can exist without all their relata is one of the many open questions of philosophy. Perhaps the most pernicious (or interesting) example of the problem concerns intentional objects: &...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
4 votes

Explanation of the cause of the event of the beginning of time

Annika is right, if we handle time in the "classical" sense then the universe is bounded from below i.e., there exists a hard boundary condition on time. But this is not the only possibility ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
3 votes

Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

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 ...
E...'s user avatar
  • 6,506
3 votes
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What philosophers, other than Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, examine "will" first, before "free will"?

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 ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.1k
3 votes

Can a thing have more than one final cause?

Aristotle's Physics ch. 7 (198a24-25) might help: …the causes being four… the matter [material cause], the form [formal cause], the mover [efficient or agent cause], ‘that for the sake of which’ [...
Geremia's user avatar
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