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causality

Comments on causality

libertygrl
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Posted 07/20/05 - 4:04 PM:
Subject: causality
does everything happen for a reason?

what's your view?
e.
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Posted 07/21/05 - 1:42 AM:

Hi folks,

Hmmm, What do we mean by reason?

I would say that something happens because something else happened before it.But I think the word 'reason' is loaded with other meaning.

For example, If a person stabbed someone else and they died, we might ask for a reason. The person might say, 'because I picked up a knife'. Well, this did happen before the stabbing, but was it the reason the person stabbed the other person?

Causality in the physical world seems to be different from causality in human behaviour, and we could debate this 'until the cows come home' if we wanted to!

Cheers, e

PS - We have to think about necessary and sufficient conditions too, it's very complex.
libertygrl
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Posted 07/21/05 - 7:23 PM:

good points. i'm still forming some thoughts on this, i'll be back.
libertygrl
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Posted 07/24/05 - 4:00 PM:

it strikes me that we usually find reasons when we look for them (although sometimes it takes longer than other times).

a reason can mean intention, in which case i suppose one's intention is then considered to be the cause of a given action. the intention, of course, would need to work in conjunction with necessary and sufficient conditions, as pointed out. but does behavior always denote intention? my initial answer to this would be no, which would mean in turn that my answer to the original question is also no, that not everything happens for a reason. highly schizophrenic individuals often act without direction or intention, and like the chaotic landscape of our dreams, they thus become a kind of mirror onto which others project their own images and views. however, in acting as a mirror, they begin to have a *purpose* (which is a little different from intention, but not very), which turns my answer to yes, that everything *does* happen for a reason.

along these lines, a reason can simply mean justification of some form, regardless of intention, and it seems to me that anything needing some kind of justification inevitably finds it. in other words, i don't think there are any questions out there that remain unanswered forever, except the eternal question of first cause, of course. can a first cause ever be discovered? maybe death is the first cause...

lib



"It's never truly random though! Just unpredictable..." --Mindfull
e.
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Posted 07/24/05 - 4:29 PM:

I can feel myself at the top of the roller coaster again, looking down, OK - here we go!!

Reason? Intention?

Well, when we examine a person in a court of law we want to know who did it and why they did it. We are looking for intention, but is that the same as a reason?

I'm thinking of those child soldiers in Ruanda. We could quite easily discover the intention of one of these little guys, which I guess would be to kill the people he has been taught to hate. But is that the reason for him doing these violent acts? Maybe the reason is further back, in the indoctrination. That could leave us going all the way back through history - back through the causes. But the intention feels like something we do now, it is an attitude of the present.

So, is the reason in the intention, or is it in the causes? If it's the causes, then we have a job picking them apart to see what triggered the particular act we are examining.

Lib said " a reason can simply mean a justification of some form, regardless of intention..."

Yes, we are looking for a justification in a reason (looking for justice?). If a person has the intention for a violent act without a very good reason (self defence or a soldier under orders), we tend to blame that person. In the case of the Ruandan child soldier, the intention is to kill, and the justification is the uniform and military pecking order. That's a reason, but the causes are deeper, leading us to deeper reasons........

My head hurts.

Cheers, e crying

PS - Also, the point about the mirror. It is so hard to find the causes in another person's behaviour, often they don't even know it themselves. There was a case reported in the paper of a man who killed his wife because she put the mustard on the wrong side of his plate at dinner time. Hmmm - I think there was more to it than that!

Edited by e. on 07/25/05 - 6:07 AM
libertygrl
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Posted 09/11/05 - 9:00 PM:

here's a related question:

is causality evidence of free will?
branlory
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Posted 10/11/05 - 6:05 PM:

1) Causality: does everything happen for a reason?

I believe so. Logically, things would NOT happen if nothing can trigger them. If my house has a roof, and something falls on that roof, Can there be NO reason AT ALL for which that thing has fallen on the roof? Nooooo! Imagine Object X fell on the roof. Can I say: "well there's simply no reason for which Object X fell on my roof"??

No!

e. wrote:

Causality in the physical world seems to be different from causality in human behaviour

Probably, but regardless of that, all things have happened, happen and will happen for a reason. And I guess it's the same when it comes to answering "do things NOT happen for a reason?".


2) Is causality evidence of free will?

Sometimes, but not always.

The Big Bang: all of a sudden, the universe was created and after a couple of years, life emerged on planet Earth. Is there evidence of "free will" in that? Nope.

Rwanda: sociopolitical circumstances gave rise to an ugly genocide. It happened because a group of individuals arranged it to happen. Is there evidence of "free will" in that? Yes, all the way.

But Rwanda (which I'm using as an archetype) isn't ONLY free will, since it happened also because the Big Bang happen (no Big Bang, no Rwanda). Therefore, all things in this planet have elements of free will and elements of zero free will.
kungfu jesus
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Posted 10/11/05 - 6:35 PM:

Causality is the opposite of free will. If we are to believe in free will, then we are to believe that all our actions are based on an individual impulse, a self-created; self generated drive to fulfill some need or action. An action done out of free will, will be done with out cause and with out president. Our actions are not deterministic; we are not driven by events that preceded us. Free will is without cause. Now that is a scary concept. We are aware that it seems certain actions can be predestined by other actions. For example, I couldn't do anything if I wasn't born. Causality seems much more understandable then free will, infact I have yet to read anything that can support strongly the concept of free will. Deterministic laws and principles, such as physics, show that things always happen in a reliable understandable way. So where does free will fit in?
libertygrl
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Posted 10/11/05 - 8:22 PM:

hi branlory, welcome to the couch! i had never heard of eudaemonism before, that's very cool.

free will is a very slippery subject for me.

i'm not sure how to explain this exactly but it seems to me that surely free will exists to some degree if our mental health depends so strongly on the belief that we have the ability to choose. maybe i'm having a problem with reification here, i'm not sure.

it seems that our belief in the ability to make choices is a critical factor in our learning process, which is what led me to ask whether causality was evidence of free will. more to the point, it seems clear that i use my memories of prior actions and their perceived consequences to inform my decisions. of course, there are those times when i have no previous experiences in a certain matter to inform my decisions, in which case i'm forced to make a "random" choice, or act on an intuition, but nonetheless this seems to lead to a certain subsequent vigilance as to whether the choice was sound.

lib
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 10/12/05 - 4:39 PM:

you guys wanna throw in quantum theory or should i just shut up? kooky
libertygrl
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Posted 10/12/05 - 5:19 PM:

by all means, please throw in some quantum theory wheesmiling face
kungfu jesus
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Posted 10/12/05 - 5:31 PM:

Quantum theory does not really clear things up for us. Quantom theory will only create more confusin and randomness. In theory the quantom aproach is one of randomness. Quantom particles are unpredictable, they have a random action. This could imply then that infact we dont have a causality but rather a random exsistence. We can try to give it a semblance of understanding and predictablity, but when it comes down to it, they are just illusions. So do we hold that causality is an illusion or do we try to create a pardigm where we create our own causality, and if we do, how does this differ from freewill.
Max
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Posted 10/13/05 - 3:23 AM:

We can try to give it a semblance of understanding and predictablity, but when it comes down to it, they are just illusions.

...in which case every single particle in the universe and the laws discovered between them are an illusion; everything created is an illusion. The epiphenomena of every process including itself whether understood or not must also be an illusion.

If an 'illusion has the means to ponder an illusion does that create a reality? Or perhaps Quantum Theory is a kind of reverse mirror, one in which illusion 'reflects' itself into a reality, that is, into a steady stream of definable and comprehensible Process. This could also define the nature of God - an illusion that 'incarnates' into a reality and remains hidden by it. When we seek God it may actually be the 'Illusion' which engenders the reality; the Quest for the Holy Grail could be a metaphor for transformation by the power inherent in the illusion.

So do we hold that causality is an illusion or do we try to create a pardigm where we create our own causality, and if we do, how does this differ from freewill.

...free will operates within a range of possibilities which depends on how much is actually understood for us to manipulate. The upshot may be the nano technologies which are forcast and immensely feared offering almost limitless 'freewill' to the 'knowledge engineers' who are masters of the process, almost like 'creating their own causalities'. Beware of humans who have the power of gods. Unfortunately, the side-effect of free will is that it may have the means to subtract from the free will of others. In the domain of history free will has a debit and a credit side with enough instances to confirm it.

Sorry if all this crap sounds too abstract. Will try to keep posts to a minimum.
libertygrl
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Posted 10/13/05 - 3:25 PM:

Max wrote:
Sorry if all this crap sounds too abstract. Will try to keep posts to a minimum.

i don't think it sounds too abstract at all. please feel free to express your views, we can always speak up if we don't understand or disagree. smiling face

in my view, all illusions are forms of reality. there is no "real" reality except that which encompasses all possible "illusions".

that being the case, i feel that causality is just as real as anything else we could possibly imagine. i feel the same is true for free will. however, while i believe that everything happens for a reason, i also believe in the power of faith, which means that we cannot know the reason for everything.

lib
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Posted 11/11/05 - 10:22 AM:

Causality could just be a matter of coincidence. That wouldent make it anymore a "illusion" then anything else. The pattern is still there.
libertygrl
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Posted 11/11/05 - 4:12 PM:

causality then would simply be a form of collective synchronicity. that's kind of how i see it, actually.
OxygenJunkie
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Posted 06/08/06 - 9:57 PM:

I think anything that happens is an occasion to learn. I think we have a good reason to learn: It may help us find ways to lead a more peaceful and benevolent life. Hence, I think everything happens for one reason: It allows you to gain some experience and learn about ways to lead a better life, so the reason for why things happen is that they are a means to grow.
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