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Causality

zmikecuber
Posts: 4,088
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10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
n7
Posts: 1,360
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10/16/2015 3:51:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I don't think so. Not being caused by anything only refers to what didn't happen. My three headed dog wasn't caused by anything because it doesn't exist. However, it wasn't caused by nothing, because that would sound like it came into existence from nothing.
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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10/16/2015 10:18:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?

Nope..................
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
zmikecuber
Posts: 4,088
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10/16/2015 11:11:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:51:37 AM, n7 wrote:
I don't think so. Not being caused by anything only refers to what didn't happen. My three headed dog wasn't caused by anything because it doesn't exist. However, it wasn't caused by nothing, because that would sound like it came into existence from nothing.

You see alot of theists arguing the cosmological argument by showing "nothing can't do anything!". But they ignore the possibility that maybe somethign isn't caused by anything.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/16/2015 12:09:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
1. A is caused by nothing
2. A is not caused by anything

It's not really a logical difference as a semantic one - ordinary English isn't precise enough to do much formal logic.

The reason the 1 and 2 aren't the same is that 1 carries the implication that A has an actual cause - that cause being the absence of anything, rather as if A is actively caused by a vacuum, or the vacuum brings A into being.

On the other hand 2 implies that there is no specific cause for A - A 'just happens'.

Such nuances of meaning exist because of the way people use the English language idiomatically. That may be considered desirable or undesirable, but it can't be avoided if you stick to ordinary English, which is why it's sometimes better to use a strictly defined notation for doing logic.
treeless
Posts: 64
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10/16/2015 12:24:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?

I would say so. Isn't both of their conclusions that A has no cause?
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/16/2015 4:05:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The problem is that natural language isn't totally precise.

i. A is caused by nothing
ii. A is not caused by anything

Does i. mean A is caused by nothing at all or that A is caused by nothing in particular?
Does ii. mean A is not caused by anything at all or that A is caused by everything?

Using different combination of meanings you can get either answer.

The problem isn't with logic, but with the ambiguity of normal language.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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10/16/2015 5:53:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?

They are logically equivalent, but not always 'actually' equivalent in their use, because sometimes people intend to posit a kind of null entity, as in a 'nothing' which actually positively exists. Of course, that would be incoherent logically, but it can work in an expressive sense, so it depends on the context really as to whether it can be interpreted that way. A clear place that that would be the case would be in cosmology, quantum physics etc, where expressive statements are used to communicate very complex data.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,245
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10/16/2015 8:05:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I is an oxymoron, while II is not. I implies the existence of causality, while II does not. So no, they are not equivalent.
stealspell
Posts: 980
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10/17/2015 1:03:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?

"Nothing" is an abstraction. So statement (i) is idiomatic.
(ii) could easily do without the superfluous words "by anything".
skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,865
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10/17/2015 4:22:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/16/2015 3:15:36 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
Are the statements:

i. A is caused by nothing
and
ii. A is not caused by anything

logically equivalent?
Is cause a thing?
If not, define it without using special pleading fallacy.
If cause is a thing, then "no things" cannot possess things, such as cause, therefore cannot use cause.
A is not caused by anything is usually applied to that which has always existed, I.e. eternal God would be the most popular use.
If we insert God as A.
God is caused by nothing. (no thing means no cause to use if cause is a thing)
God is not caused by anything,
Both equivalent.
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/17/2015 12:38:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It is often supposed that 'pre-big bang' there was literally 'nothing' - not even time or space. It is conceivable that is was precisely this 'perfect state of nothingness' (the most nothing nothingness there ever was or will be) was the cause of the universe, a variation on the old 'nature abhors' a vacuum idea.

In that case it could be said that 'the universe was caused by nothing'. I'm not suggesting that as a serious physical theory but to illustrate the 1) can be interpreted as a positive statement of what the cause of the universe is, while 2) cannot be interpreted that way so they are not equivalent.

But as I posted earlier, statements in ordinary English are prone to being ambiguous so it's not a good idea to rely too much on word-games masquerading as logic.