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On Causality

dylancatlow
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11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Causation amounts to implication. Something is caused when its non-existence is ruled out by its system's structural elements (follows from them within the context of the system). If something exists, then its existence has been selected for over its non-existence i.e., its existence is decidable given the system. If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists - but the fact that it exists implies the question has been decided. In other words, the fact that something exists - the fact that its non-existence has been absolutely ruled out - means that its existence can be explained i.e., related to something in such a way that its existence is logically implied. I.e., a cause is that which can be shown to establish an effect's existence over its non-existence. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause, namely the universe itself. Therefore, the universe is a self-implicating system which selects for its own existence.
Wocambs
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11/1/2014 6:28:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Causation amounts to implication. Something is caused when its non-existence is ruled out by its system's structural elements (follows from them within the context of the system). If something exists, then its existence has been selected for over its non-existence i.e., its existence is decidable given the system. If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists - but the fact that it exists implies the question has been decided. In other words, the fact that something exists - the fact that its non-existence has been absolutely ruled out - means that its existence can be explained i.e., related to something in such a way that its existence is logically implied. I.e., a cause is that which can be shown to establish an effect's existence over its non-existence. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause, namely the universe itself. Therefore, the universe is a self-implicating system which selects for its own existence.

The structure you propose doesn't exist unless it's existence is implied by something, but the only candidate you have identified to do this is the structure itself, and since things which don't exist can't imply anything, by the definitions you give the structure does not exist.

Causality can't apply to reality itself because there's nothing reality can interact with; causality is about how parts of reality interact.
dylancatlow
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11/1/2014 6:43:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 6:28:43 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Causation amounts to implication. Something is caused when its non-existence is ruled out by its system's structural elements (follows from them within the context of the system). If something exists, then its existence has been selected for over its non-existence i.e., its existence is decidable given the system. If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists - but the fact that it exists implies the question has been decided. In other words, the fact that something exists - the fact that its non-existence has been absolutely ruled out - means that its existence can be explained i.e., related to something in such a way that its existence is logically implied. I.e., a cause is that which can be shown to establish an effect's existence over its non-existence. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause, namely the universe itself. Therefore, the universe is a self-implicating system which selects for its own existence.

The structure you propose doesn't exist unless it's existence is implied by something, but the only candidate you have identified to do this is the structure itself, and since things which don't exist can't imply anything, by the definitions you give the structure does not exist.


Relevant post I made recently:

"The problem is, however, that the universe cannot stand in a causal relation to itself because it would need to exist in order to have any relationship to anything. If we posit a thing as its own cause we are speaking in paradox. The problem isn't one of time, but of the very nature of causation. One cannot give what one does not have, if the universe did not exist then it cannot stand in causation to a non-existent universe, because it would have no existence to give."

X causes X is simply an expression of self-containment with respect to causality. Our universe is an intrinsically self-actualizing potential - that is, the potential for self-actualization as embodied by the universe. This potential naturally exists in light of zero constraint i.e., in the total absence of information. In other words, as we regress to nil constraint, this potential "exists" and is thus capable of self-actualization. Obviously God is the universe.

Causality can't apply to reality itself because there's nothing reality can interact with; causality is about how parts of reality interact.

If this were true, then every aspect of reality would ultimately be inexplicable, which is logically indefensible.
Wocambs
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11/1/2014 7:05:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 6:43:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

This potential naturally exists in light of zero constraint i.e., in the total absence of information

It's a contradiction to assert that there is 'no information at all' and yet 'potential'. Furthermore, if all that exists is 'potential', then there is nothing to realise that potential, potential being defined as something realised by the effect of other entities. The potential for my house to burn down cannot set the house on fire. The fact that my house is made of flammable materials and there is plenty of oxygen around etc. provides the potential, and the spark realises that.

If this were true, then every aspect of reality would ultimately be inexplicable, which is logically indefensible.

No, I'm saying that reality as a whole is not explicable by reference to any other entity, no other entities existing, and causal relationships by definition hold between separate entities, which is why you have decided to have reality cause itself via its own 'self-actualising potential', which actually fails for the same reason. Potential can't realise itself any more than something can 'cause' itself. 'What caused reality to exist?' is not a valid question.
dylancatlow
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11/1/2014 8:46:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 7:05:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/1/2014 6:43:14 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

This potential naturally exists in light of zero constraint i.e., in the total absence of information

It's a contradiction to assert that there is 'no information at all' and yet 'potential'.

A contradiction is meaningless when the predicate in question is supposed to lack informational distinctions. As I said, UBT is the the total lack of constraint, which means trying to refute it through contradiction is futile, and kind of misses the point.

Furthermore, if all that exists is 'potential', then there is nothing to realise that potential, potential being defined as something realised by the effect of other entities. The potential for my house to burn down cannot set the house on fire. The fact that my house is made of flammable materials and there is plenty of oxygen around etc. provides the potential, and the spark realises that.

...Except the potential itself, which is why I said "intrinsically self-actualizing potential".


If this were true, then every aspect of reality would ultimately be inexplicable, which is logically indefensible.

No, I'm saying that reality as a whole is not explicable by reference to any other entity, no other entities existing, and causal relationships by definition hold between separate entities, which is why you have decided to have reality cause itself via its own 'self-actualising potential', which actually fails for the same reason.

Yes, I know what you're saying. What I'm saying is that if reality is itself inexplicable, then no aspect of reality is ultimately explicable.
Wocambs
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11/1/2014 9:27:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 8:46:36 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
A contradiction is meaningless when the predicate in question is supposed to lack informational distinctions. As I said, UBT is the the total lack of constraint, which means trying to refute it through contradiction is futile, and kind of misses the point.

You appear to be positing some kind of magical entity which is somehow not part of reality, and yet has special properties which allow it to cause reality. If this is not part of or the whole of reality, which is what you seem to be implying by saying that it is somehow the precursor state to reality, then it doesn't have any real properties at all, and saying that its 'nothing, but also full of potential' is a clear ascription of properties. If this isn't real, then the potential isn't real either, and the result the same - unreal.

...Except the potential itself, which is why I said "intrinsically self-actualizing potential".

Except the essential premise of entire argument is that things can't cause themselves, which is a contradiction so obvious that I don't know how you still hold these ideas.

Yes, I know what you're saying. What I'm saying is that if reality is itself inexplicable, then no aspect of reality is ultimately explicable.

No, you don't. If causality is valid only within reality, then every element of reality is 'explicable' in relation to the whole, but the whole obviously cannot be explained in relation to anything else, which is what 'contingent' and 'effect' means.
dylancatlow
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11/2/2014 1:20:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/1/2014 9:27:03 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 11/1/2014 8:46:36 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
A contradiction is meaningless when the predicate in question is supposed to lack informational distinctions. As I said, UBT is the the total lack of constraint, which means trying to refute it through contradiction is futile, and kind of misses the point.

You appear to be positing some kind of magical entity which is somehow not part of reality, and yet has special properties which allow it to cause reality. If this is not part of or the whole of reality, which is what you seem to be implying by saying that it is somehow the precursor state to reality, then it doesn't have any real properties at all, and saying that its 'nothing, but also full of potential' is a clear ascription of properties. If this isn't real, then the potential isn't real either, and the result the same - unreal.

First, I've never implied that UBT causes reality. Second, since UBT is undefined, there are no real constraints placed on anything, which means the potential is unbound i.e., undistinguished by default. Only potentials which are intrinsically self-defining are able to self-actualize.

Saying that its 'nothing, but also full of potential' is a clear ascription of properties.

It's not more an ascription of property than saying it's "Nothing but is somehow able to preclude the potentiality of potential".


...Except the potential itself, which is why I said "intrinsically self-actualizing potential".

Except the essential premise of entire argument is that things can't cause themselves, which is a contradiction so obvious that I don't know how you still hold these ideas.

Other than the argument that "causation is a relationship that holds between two distinct entities" (which is merely a semantic assertion), I don't know how you think this is justifiable. The essence of causality does not require that cause and effect describe different predicates.


Yes, I know what you're saying. What I'm saying is that if reality is itself inexplicable, then no aspect of reality is ultimately explicable.

No, you don't. If causality is valid only within reality, then every element of reality is 'explicable' in relation to the whole, but the whole obviously cannot be explained in relation to anything else, which is what 'contingent' and 'effect' means.

Something "explicable" cannot be predicated on the existence of something inexplicable. An explanatory regress which does not terminate at a self-explaining prime-mover entails no explanation whatsoever i.e., the original thing "just exists".
Wocambs
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11/2/2014 7:09:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/2/2014 1:20:23 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
First, I've never implied that UBT causes reality. Second, since UBT is undefined, there are no real constraints placed on anything, which means the potential is unbound i.e., undistinguished by default. Only potentials which are intrinsically self-defining are able to self-actualize.
"Nothing but is somehow able to preclude the potentiality of potential

But if it is nothing, then there is no potential, by definition. 'Nothing with real potential' is not nothing.

Other than the argument that "causation is a relationship that holds between two distinct entities" (which is merely a semantic assertion), I don't know how you think this is justifiable. The essence of causality does not require that cause and effect describe different predicates.

Yes, it does. If the cause of the effect is the effect of the cause, then the causal process does not occur, the process being predicated upon it having already been completed. If the cause produces an effect which is identical to the cause, then there is no effect. The only conclusion is that nothing happens.

Something "explicable" cannot be predicated on the existence of something inexplicable. An explanatory regress which does not terminate at a self-explaining prime-mover entails no explanation whatsoever i.e., the original thing "just exists".

We're talking about causality here. Causality is a relationship between real things. There is no entity which reality can have a causal relationship with.
RuvDraba
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3/9/2015 6:01:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists

Dylan, I think you've defined existence as derived from causality, rather than defining causality as derived from existence as you probably should.

Consider: Information regarding the history of an item can be contained within an item itself. The age of a rock can be understood from studying the decay of some of its volatile elements, for example. From the information within an item we can infer its history, and from its history, we can infer causality based in part of our experience of comparable items and how they change.

However, the only history we can ascertain is that derived from information contained within the objects around us. Any information lost can only be guessed but never substantiated. So absent a complete record within the universe we would only have a partial understanding of its history, and thence only a partial understanding of causality. We might speculate, but there would be no way to recapture all of it.

We could make serious errors believing that the information we have is all there ever was.

One of them could be to imagine that everything we know was created all at once.
dylancatlow
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3/9/2015 9:58:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 6:01:38 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists

Dylan, I think you've defined existence as derived from causality, rather than defining causality as derived from existence as you probably should.

Both of those are true.
dylancatlow
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3/9/2015 10:21:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 6:01:38 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 11/1/2014 5:49:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If something were without cause, there would be nothing to decide the question of whether it actually exists

Dylan, I think you've defined existence as derived from causality, rather than defining causality as derived from existence as you probably should.

Consider: Information regarding the history of an item can be contained within an item itself. The age of a rock can be understood from studying the decay of some of its volatile elements, for example. From the information within an item we can infer its history, and from its history, we can infer causality based in part of our experience of comparable items and how they change.

However, the only history we can ascertain is that derived from information contained within the objects around us. Any information lost can only be guessed but never substantiated. So absent a complete record within the universe we would only have a partial understanding of its history, and thence only a partial understanding of causality. We might speculate, but there would be no way to recapture all of it.

We could make serious errors believing that the information we have is all there ever was.

One of them could be to imagine that everything we know was created all at once.

"According to the Reality Principle, the universe is self contained, and according to infocognitive monism, it regresses to a realm of nil constraint (unbound telesis or UBT) from which it must refine itself. According to the Telic Principle, which states that the universe must provide itself with the means to do this, it must make and realize its own "choice to exist"; by reason of its absolute priority, this act of choice is identical to that which is chosen, i.e. the universe itself, and thus reflexive. I.e., "existence is everywhere the choice to exist." Accordingly, the universe must adopt a reflexive form in which it can "select itself" for self-defined existence, with the selection function identical to that which is selected. This means that it must take a certain general or "initial" form, the MU form, which contains all of the requisites for generating the contents of reality. Due to hology, whereby the self-contained universe has nothing but itself of which to consist, this form is self-distributed." - CTMU
RuvDraba
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3/9/2015 12:21:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 10:21:38 AM, dylancatlow wrote:

"According to the Reality Principle, the universe is self contained, and according to infocognitive monism, it regresses to a realm of nil constraint (unbound telesis or UBT) from which it must refine itself.

Is this quote a long-winded teleological application of the is-ought fallacy? [http://en.wikipedia.org...] If there's more to it, I'm sorry but I couldn't see it.

The only reason we can model causality at all is the record of history within the structure of existence. if you can't see that history, forget it. So we know empirically that causality arises from the structure of existence.

However, I know of no way to demonstrate the reverse: the inference that all existence arises from causality appears to be our own, and seems a flawed inference, since if you destroy the historical record, you damage causal reasoning, yet objects can still exist.
dylancatlow
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3/9/2015 12:35:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 12:21:58 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/9/2015 10:21:38 AM, dylancatlow wrote:

"According to the Reality Principle, the universe is self contained, and according to infocognitive monism, it regresses to a realm of nil constraint (unbound telesis or UBT) from which it must refine itself.

Is this quote a long-winded teleological application of the is-ought fallacy? [http://en.wikipedia.org...] If there's more to it, I'm sorry but I couldn't see it.

Then I suggest you work on your reading comprehension skills and try again at a later time.


The only reason we can model causality at all is the record of history within the structure of existence. if you can't see that history, forget it. So we know empirically that causality arises from the structure of existence.

Causality is an an abstract concept; it is not itself observable, and can only be inferred on the basis of persistent correlation. We cannot establish the origin of causality, or its relationship to existence, merely by detecting cases of it in nature, as you're suggesting.


However, I know of no way to demonstrate the reverse: the inference that all existence arises from causality appears to be our own, and seems a flawed inference, since if you destroy the historical record, you damage causal reasoning, yet objects can still exist.

Of course it's not demonstrable, if by demonstrable you mean empirically testable. It's a metaphysical hypothesis.
RuvDraba
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3/9/2015 12:52:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 12:35:50 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Causality is an abstract concept; it is not itself observable, and can only be inferred on the basis of persistent correlation.

Yes, exactly, Dylan. We understand existence objectively because we can independently agree that we observe it. Because we can also observe correlation objectively, we can objectively infer causality -- but only among correlates.

To push it further than that -- to say causality must occur even when we can't correlate -- appears an application of the is-ought fallacy.

Of course it's not demonstrable, if by demonstrable you mean empirically testable. It's a metaphysical hypothesis.

I don't think it's an hypothesis because I can't see how it could ever produce a falsifiable experiment. It's at best a conjecture: a musing meant to stimulate insightful speculation.

Yet I'd call it a poor conjecture, since is-ought fallacies are known for producing some pretty fiction, but poor insight.
dylancatlow
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3/9/2015 1:08:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 12:52:19 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/9/2015 12:35:50 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

Causality is an abstract concept; it is not itself observable, and can only be inferred on the basis of persistent correlation.

Yes, exactly, Dylan. We understand existence objectively because we can independently agree that we observe it. Because we can also observe correlation objectively, we can objectively infer causality -- but only among correlates.


To push it further than that -- to say causality must occur even when we can't correlate -- appears an application of the is-ought fallacy.

How so?


Of course it's not demonstrable, if by demonstrable you mean empirically testable. It's a metaphysical hypothesis.

I don't think it's an hypothesis because I can't see how it could ever produce a falsifiable experiment. It's at best a conjecture: a musing meant to stimulate insightful speculation.

Yet I'd call it a poor conjecture, since is-ought fallacies are known for producing some pretty fiction, but poor insight.

A hypothesis is simply a description of the world set forth as potentially true. There is no requirement that it must be testable in any empirical sense (except in the case of scientific hypothesis). I argue that we can be sure reality has a cause simply by examining the meanings of those terms. I.e., since reality consists of certain informational distinctions defining what is real and not real, and since those distinctions are absolutely made, their non-existence must be ruled out on a topological basis, which means they must possess explanations - they must be implicated in a causal framework - according to which they exist and are related to other aspects of reality in the correct way. Since an infinite regress is unable to establish sufficient explanation - since an infinite number of inexplicable explanations makes no absolute proscriptions on content, thereby not ruling out what is unreal - reality must possess a self-determinative mechanism by which it can define itself.
RuvDraba
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3/9/2015 1:37:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 1:08:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
A hypothesis is simply a description of the world set forth as potentially true. There is no requirement that it must be testable in any empirical sense (except in the case of scientific hypothesis).

From which there is consequently no implication that any conclusion will be practical or verifiable, except in the case of those tested by empirical experiment.

Forgive me, Dylan, but one can reach a point where philosophy becomes the joy of justifying one's own prejudices. At that point it ceases to be a service to one's fellow man, and becomes mutual vanity-grooming for like-minded cronies over wine and cheese.

When one starts positing hypotheses knowing they're not going to be testable, and that their sole purpose shall be to prop up the edifices of unacknowledged prejudice, I think it's time to shut the door and haul the claret out from under the desk.

I wish you joy of it, but regret that I shall now leave you to that onanistic vice.
dylancatlow
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3/9/2015 1:48:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 1:37:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/9/2015 1:08:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
A hypothesis is simply a description of the world set forth as potentially true. There is no requirement that it must be testable in any empirical sense (except in the case of scientific hypothesis).

From which there is consequently no implication that any conclusion will be practical or verifiable, except in the case of those tested by empirical experiment.


False. You're assuming that everything relevant to science must be locally differentiable, which is not necessarily the case. We can use science in conjunction with rational methods of inquiry to make conclusions which are more justified than conclusions made from empirical observation alone. Science needs a rational framework on which it can correctly interpret empirical observations.

Forgive me, Dylan, but one can reach a point where philosophy becomes the joy of justifying one's own prejudices. At that point it ceases to be a service to one's fellow man, and becomes mutual vanity-grooming for like-minded cronies over wine and cheese.

When one starts positing hypotheses knowing they're not going to be testable, and that their sole purpose shall be to prop up the edifices of unacknowledged prejudice, I think it's time to shut the door and haul the claret out from under the desk.

I wish you joy of it, but regret that I shall now leave you to that onanistic vice.

It looks like you've fallen victim to the ridiculous doctrine of falsificationism.
RuvDraba
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3/9/2015 2:09:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/9/2015 1:48:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Science needs a rational framework on which it can correctly interpret empirical observations.

I agree with that, and philosophy has sometimes been a good friend to science. However it remains to be shown how pretending existence requires causality has improved rationality one whit.

And it's pretty obvious from context that's not why you posed it.

It looks like you've fallen victim to the ridiculous doctrine of falsificationism.

Dylan, you've called this position an hypothesis when it's at best a conjecture, and asked 'atheists' to falsify it when you've subsequently admitted you already knew it to be non-falsifiable, and that it wasn't a refutation of materialism or naturalism in the first place.

That's not an improvement on rationality, but a slight on intellectual honesty.

It's a rhetorical philosotroll, and a dopey waste of time.