Metaphysics PHIL 420
Cal State Fullerton
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Date Created: 09/30/15
Phil 420 Metaphysics Spring 2008 Handout 14 G E M Anscombe Causality andDeterminatian Professor JeeLoo Liu View 1 Causation necessitation Causality is some kind of necessary connection or alternatively that being caused is 7 nonitrivially 7 instancing some exceptionless generalization saying that such an event always follows such antecedents The assumption of relevant difference If an effect in one case and a similar effect does not occur in an apparently similar case there must be a relevant further difference If C causes E but C does not cause E then C C and E E View 2 Causation necessitation There are situations in which given the initial conditions and no interference only one result will accord with the laws of nature but there is no general reason in advance of discovery to suppose that any given course of things has been so determined may be many cases in which difference of issue can rightly convince us of a relevant difference of circumstances but it is not the case that it must 9 0 A Historical Review Aristotle View 1 When the agent and patient meet suitably to their powers the one acts and the other is acted on OF NECESSITYquot Armstrong 2 Spinoza View 1 Given a determinate cause the effect follows OF NECESSITY and without its cause no effect follows Hobbes View 1 A cause simply is the aggregate of all the accidents both of the agents and of the patients put together It cannot be understood but that the effect is produced at the same instant and if any of them is wanting it cannot be understood but that the effect is not produced Hume View 1 He challenged the idea of a logical connection between cause and effect but he himself assumed that NECESSARY CONNECTION was an essential part of the idea of the relation of cause and effect and he sought for its nature He thought this could not be found in the situations objects or events called causes and effects but was to be found in the human mind s being determined by experience of CONSTANT CONJUNCTION to pass from the sensible impression of memory of one term of the relation to the convinced idea of the other J eeLoo s note In this sense Hume is an antirealist with regard to causation Kant View 1 In conformity with such a rule there must be in that which precedes an event the condition of a rule according to which this event INVARIABLY and NECESSARILY follows Mill View 1 Since Mill it has been fairly common to explain causation one way or another in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions sufficient condition is so used that if the sufficient conditions for X are there X occurs Russell View 1 Russell too assumes that necessity or universality is what is in question and it never occurs to him that there may be any other conception of causality Q Why must we accept deterministic causation Anscombe s View If I have had one and only contact with someone suffering from a highly contagious disease and I ask the doctor whether I will get the disease He will usually only be able to say maybe you will maybe not Armstrong 3 H Causality consists in the derivativeness of an effect from its cause Effects derive from arise out of come of their causes However the necessity will be that of laws of nature through it we shall be able to derive knowledge of the effect from knowledge of the cause or vice versa but that does not show us the cause as source of the effect 3 Therefore analysis in terms of necessity or universality does not tell us of this derivedness of the effect rather it forgets about that 4 Therefore causation is not to be identified with necessitation N Why If A comes from B this does not imply that every A like thing comes from some B like thing or set up or that every B like thing or set up has A like thing coming from it or that given B A had to come from it or that given A there had to be B for it to come from Any of these may be true but if any is that will be an additional fact not comprised in A s coming from B Causation Causal explanation Singular General c causes e All Cs cause Es Necessarily if C then E Neo Humeans realizer that if you take a case of cause and effect and relevantly describe the cause A and the effect B and then construct a universal proposition Always given an A a B follows you usually won t get anything true You have to got to describe the absence of circumstances in which an A would not cause a B But the task of excluding all such circumstances can t be carried out Anscombe s Reasons against Causal Laws Always given an A a B follows 1 The condition always is almost never true what we describe are at best under normal conditions 2 Normal conditions in a causal law statement is a vague notion We may not know in advance whether conditions are normal or not or what to count as an abnormal condition 3 In real life scenarios we are not interested in the hopeless task of construing lists of all the sets of conditions under each of which people always get a certain disease Q Are we more interested in particular causation in the given case or a generalized strict exceptionless causal statement Armstrong 4 Prediction and Determination v I L 1 r you might be r r n u on What are the dif culu39es i ins of inaccumcy of measurement i multiplicity of impacts i not getting rumplete information Anscombe I conclude am we have no ground for calling the path of the ball de 39 ed The objector s objec on after all Reply 39 39 39 39Bmw does rmined mean The word is a curious one in dis sort of context it is o en used as if it meant caused of u 4 possibilities new only one is e ameoedenay 7 possible 39 quotI 39 39 I 39 I quot quot 39Thereisnow Armstrong 5 past and present were necessary But this does not concern us What interests us is aredetermination The statement each stage of the ball s path is determined must mean Upon any impact there is only one path possibly for the ball up to the next impact But what ground could one have for believing this if one does not believe in some system of which it is a consequence A physicist says I believe in causality But must such a physicist be a determinist Must he believe that the whole universe is a system such that if its total states at t and t are thus and so the laws of nature are such as then to allow only one possibility for its total state at any other time No He may not think that the idea of a total state of the universe at a time is one he can do anything with He may even have no views on the uniqueness of possible results for whatever may be going on in any arbitrary volume of space What a physicist says about causality is this 1 Our theory should be such that only this result was possible as the result of the experiment 2 He has a theory that essentially assigns only probability to a result essentially allowing a range of possible results never narrowed down to one until the event itself 3 His demand for uniqueness of result is restricted to situations in which he has got certain processes going in isolation from inconstant external in uences or where they do not matter It is one thing to hold that in a clear cut situation the result should be determined It is quite another to say that in the hurly burly of many crossing contingencies whatever happens next must be determined or to say that the generation of forces is always determined in advance of the generating procedure or to say that there is always a law of composition of such a kind that the combined effect of a set of forces is determined in every situation Re ection JeeLoo If we had God s eye we might be able to see how each stage of a causal relation is determined But should we be basing our causal statements on this hypothetical God s eye Back to Causation There are necessitating causes and nonnecessitating cause We may discover types of necessitating and nonnecessitating cause The concept of necessity as it is connected with causation can be explained as follows Armstrong 6 A cause C is a necessitating cause of an effect E when if C occurs it is certain to cause E lulless something prevents it Or A cause C is a necessitating cause of an effect E when It is not possible on the occasion that C should occur and should not cause an E nor should there be anything that prevents an E from occurring A non necessitating cause A cause C is a nonnecessitating cause of an effect E when It is possible on the occasion that C should occur and not cause an E even if there is no intervention of anything to frustrate it Conclusion It has taken the invention of indeterministic physics to shake the rather common dogmatic conviction that determinism is a presupposition or perhaps a conclusion of scientific knowledge Meanwhile in non experimental philosophy it is clear enough what are the dogmatic slumbers of the day It is over an over again assumed that any singular causal proposition implies a universal statement running Always when this then that often assumed that true singular causal statements are derived from such inductively believed universalities 1 If I am right then not being determined does not imply not being caused 2 Indeterminism is the thesis that not all physical effects are necessitated by their causes 3 But I do not mean that any motions lie outside the scope of physical laws or that one cannot say in any given context that certain motions would be violations of physical law Final Re ection JeeLoo Anscombe says I find deterministic assumptions more common now among people at large and among philosophers than when I was an undergraduate Do you think that determinism and indeterminism are the different world versions that Goodman depicts
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