There is no such thing as cause and effect.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by swarm, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    The world is independent of how we care to talk about it. If we find the old ways not longer are sufficient, adopting new ways just means we can improve our discourse.


    Sometimes those results materialize. Sometimes they don't. In a overly simplified environment they are more likely to happen in line with simplistic notions of cause and effect. In more chaotic environments causes may not even come close to a particular effect.

    In short, cause and effect was handy when we believed in the billard ball universe, but we have out grown it.
     
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  3. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Who is the "we" noted above? And when did "we" outgrow cause and effect?

    Baron Max
     
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  5. Cortex_Colossum Banned Banned

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    I would disagree. There are causes and effects. Actions and consequences.
     
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  7. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    Interesting.
    I take it you've not read your Hume yet...
     
  8. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    I would say the intention to fire the bullet was the cause. Then again, we have our own line of causes that brings about the intention to fire the bullet. This line of causes is of course dependent on what kind of situation that you are in, if you are defending yourself then the line of causes goes to the person you are defending yourself against, and the line of causes for him is why he is threatening you. Which line of causes can again jump back to you, if you did anything to upset him or something, somewhere that line of causes stops and becomes irrelevant to the trigger of the bullet.

    However, in a greater perspective, we have a line of causes as to why we exist at all, that line of causes might look something like this (for fun only

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    and not very detailed):

    1: the trigger of the bullet
    2: he threatened you
    3: you upset him
    4: you were born
    5: your mother and all descendants were born
    6: we ate animals and plants
    7: animals ate plants
    8: the sun gave energy to plants
    9: the sun was formed in the galaxy
    10: matter and the galaxy comes from the big bang
    11: ?
     
  9. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

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    Sure, we can take everything all the way back to the beginning of the universe. But even if we do that, there's still cause and effect ...the bullet killed the man because, billions of years ago, the universe came into being. Thus the defense for the murderer would be ....the beginning of the universe caused it!

    Baron Max
     
  10. Tnerb Banned Banned

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    Nah let's not think like that

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  11. Bluecrux Light Bearer Registered Senior Member

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    Haha, one could say that .

    I wonder if there exsists anything free from the influence of Cause and Effect principle ( assuming that it exsists ) . . .
     
  12. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    The answer to that question of course, depends on how one defines this "Cause and Effect Principle"(sic)....
     
  13. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Well, the way for society to change the cause and effects would be to keep certain intentions from arising. Thus limiting the guilt to the actual person shooting, unless the reason is really, really good (self-defence).

    But in a way, you are right

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    ...but only "in a way".
     
  14. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

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    I presume that all experiences as comprehended by the human mind have causes and effects as it is inherent to the way we percieve the universe through our senses. Thus, questioning the reality of "cause and effect" is also questioning the reliability of our senses.

    All of our experiences point to the fact that every effect has a cause and vice versa. However, just because we have experienced it so in the past does not mean it will be true in the future. Nor is there any proof to say that our past experiences are true. However, I think it rational to assume that they are true unless evidence is found to suggest otherwise.


    I don't understand this. Can not reality be a continuum of action segmented into smaller actions?
     
  15. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    Not you so don't worry about it.
     
  16. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    Is it? Or is it just inherant to a particular dialogue about the way we perceive?

    Questioning the reliability of the senses is a long and honor philosophical pastime, but I'm just questioning our dialog about what we think is happening.

    You are using cause and effect like a theist uses god.

    What is a cause? An effect? They aren't things in and of themselves. If I am describing motion at no time do either enter the conversation.

    Only with a loss of its continuous nature and at the expense of some aspects of what is happening. Did you know that there is a sphere of information which is impossible for you to account for? If an activity takes a second then that sphere is 1 light second away and 1 light second in depth.

    Is the finger the cause or the brain? Where does a cause end? How far back in time does it go? how far forward? Does it have to be real?

    If you kill all your children because you think if they grow up god will damn them (true story), what is the actual cause?

    Where does the effect end? Their deaths? Your trial? This post? How is the effect not a cause and vis versa?
     
  17. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    Guilt of that kind only means that people were convinced you were guilty at your trial.

    One of the other problems of cause and effect is it is stateless. You can't know what cause produced what effect.
     
  18. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    How do you even know there was an intention? Many people shot are shot by accident.

    You might as well say god did it.
     
  19. swarm Registered Senior Member

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    Or maybe there is just action.
     
  20. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Would you say that the following comment:

    "Malaria is caused by mosquitoes"

    has meaning, or is it nonsense?
     
  21. MysteriousStranger Banned Banned

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    I think that the dialogue you speak of us is the only one that is available to us. I don't think we can percieve the Universe in any other way other than a diverging series of links made up by cause and effect.
    Hmm, not sure what you mean by this. Isn't our "dialog about what we think is happening" derived from our senses?
    God, I hope not.
    Yes, they are things-for-others I guess. Things for us. Or as you put it: a dialog about what we think is happening. Yes, I guess cause and effect are just two things that we create in our perception of the Universe. So I agree with you that they aren't things-in-and-of-themselves. Now if in order to meet the requirements to achieve "existance" is defined as being-in-and-of-yourself then yes, cause and effect don't exist.

    Then you would be making a pretty crappy description of motion in my opinion. By the way, motion isn't something in-and-of-itself so if you say cause and effect don't exist then you can rule out motion too.


    I still don't understand why a "continuum of action" cannot have smaller actions within it. Like in a continous solving of a jigsaw puzzle with the overall action being the solving and the smaller actions being fitting each of the pieces together. Well, we experience these as the passage of time. Though seeing as time isn't something in-and-of-itself I guess we are going to ignore it too. . .



    Nope. Do those spheres have a cause and effect?

    The finger!

    Oh, so we are taking time into account. Strange way of reasoning. . . trying to disprove the existance of something that isn't in-and-of-itself by describing it's relation to other things that aren't-in-and-of-themselves.

    To answer your question though, I believe a cause transitions into an effect instantaneously.

    Oh, and no. I don't think cause and effect "have to be real" (if that's what you were asking). Sure helps to assume they do though. I mean, if we assumed they didn't exist then there wouldn't bother with the scientific method at all as it relies on the idea that our actions will have reactions (that we can observe).

    Well it can go all the way back to "the birth of the Universe caused it". Scientifically though, I think we would describe the cause of their deaths as the cause that came immediately before their death i.e. the stopping of biological functions. Which is preceded by the restriction of blood flow in their bodies. Which is preceded by the stopping of their hearts. Which is preceded by the wounds inflicted by the attacker . . . which is preceded by the birth of the Universe. What led the attacker to become an attacker? A similar series of causes and effects. Love of child. Fear that God will damn them. The idea that killing them will save them from this, etc.

    I would say that effects are eternal while causes are instantaneous.

    I don't think they are mutually exclusive. A cause can be an effect and an effect can be a cause.
     
  22. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, of course, but that is only one of the options for society to control cause&effect that they can control (the intent and execution of the intent, if there is a punishment for the execution then it is less likely to happen).

    Exactly, one could be anywhere in the chain, and the effect could be seen as the cause of the next effect, and the cause could be seen as a effect of the previous cause, etc...

    Only in a "closed system" can a beginning cause and final effect be seen, as with the assumption that the victim had done something to anger the one with the gun. If that action (the victim had done) was by accident and there was no intent to anger him, then that could be seen as a first cause of the final event that the angered person shot him. Cause it is meaningless to that particular chain of events to go any further back or forth.
     
  23. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, by assumption of course that there is a intent. If he was shot with accident then the final cause has to do with the way the bullet left the pipe, the trajectory and that in turn has to do with trembling of hand, decision to shoot at all (and what brought that decision), a certain degree of irresponsibility, etc...



    Yes, that is the unknown. Unless the universe was made with its own ruling (somehow?

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    ) in which case the question mark at point 11 might actually be the answer, or part of it. God could easily have made a universe imperfect in precision as we see the results of in quantum physics.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009

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