It's been explained how. Intuitively we want a model of causation to say something like if C occurs, then E follows, and if E occurs, then C precedes it. But this notion of cause seems to have at least two intractable difficulties. First, as pointed out above, there is the problem of interference, which trivialises the model to C causes E, if C causes E, second, take the possible case that there is, for example, an active volcano on some planet in a distant galaxy, and every time that volcano emits a puff of smoke, then I submit a post to this board, and if that volcano doesn't emit a puff of smoke, then I dont post. Under a naive intuitive model of cause, that volcano causes me to post, so we need to introduce a relation of relevance between C and E, but that just relocates the problem of cause to a problem of relevance.
None need be relevant, if you a) accept that cause is a vague notion, b) accept that cause concerns distinct local events, and c) avoid confusing cause with determinism.
The volcano caused you to post. There's no problem.
Zetherin wrote:Of course there's a problem! Anything can be classed as a cause simply on account of timing. Wearing blue socks caused Phil's death, etc.The volcano caused you to post. There's no problem.
that doesn't mean we should just dismiss the causes we do know.
It's often very clear, not vague at all, what that relationship is.
Zetherin wrote:Then state it in some rigorous form, what does it mean for C to cause E, and show me that this is consistently applicable.It's often very clear, not vague at all, what that relationship is.
you're using the word cause in two ways aren't you... as both noun and verb?
The words cause and effect imply each other.
Cause is basically a bigger picture that effect fits into in a meaningful way.
The fact that cause is a bigger picture is the crux of the problem of looking at cause in an ultimate way, right?
Maybe. But, if smoking causes cancer, and a smoker doesn't develop cancer, then there is a cause without an effect.
When one says "smoking causes cancer" one means that scientific evidence suggests that cancer can be caused by smoking, and that, there is a strong correlation between smoking and cancer.
"I propose that if we are looking for causes for event X at time T then Y is a cause of X if and only if removing Y from the universe at time T would result in the failure of X to occur."
Another problem is that there remain too many extra events which nobody considers to be causes. For example, if we select T arbitrarily, the probability of it being the T at which Y is Bob pulling the trigger, is infinitely small, so we need a very wide T, but this leads to absurdities such as Bob's birth causing his death. Due to this problem, we need a relevancy relation, and as pointed out before, this relocates the problem to that of defining the relevancy relation. So, the above definition is unsatisfactory as a basis for a theory of cause.
Arjuna wrote:I dont see where I've made any equivocation, otherwise, why does this matter?you're using the word cause in two ways aren't you... as both noun and verb?
Maybe. But, if smoking causes cancer, and a smoker doesn't develop cancer, then there is a cause without an effect
Is your claim that humans cannot know the relationship between two events, such as my throwing a baseball at a window and the window breaking?
Zetherin wrote:My claim is no different from before; there is no satisfactory theory of cause in philosophy.Is your claim that humans cannot know the relationship between two events, such as my throwing a baseball at a window and the window breaking?
I'm curious as to the implications of that claim.
It must be tremendously hard for you to make sense of the world around you, since you do not believe we can understand relationships between occurrences.
What is your explanation for the progression of science, free will, and our use of inductive reasoning which usually yields accurate results?
And if you do acknowledge all of that, then I am not sure why you aren't satisfied.
Explain how any of these are dependent on a "satisfactory theory of cause in philosophy".
So you do acknowledge the relationships between occurrences, but you are just uncomfortable saying saying that X caused Y?
Zetherin wrote:1) it depends on which occurrences and what kind of relationshipSo you do acknowledge the relationships between occurrences, but you are just uncomfortable saying saying that X caused Y?
2) where have I stated that I'm uncomfortable saying that X caused Y?
Unless there is a satisfactory theory of cause, cause remains a folk notion, it is vague and ambiguous. This makes statements on the lines of "everything has a cause" meaningless.