Does probability defy causality?

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kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 27 May, 2010 04:57 pm
@prothero,
prothero;169720 wrote:


Perhaps this illustrates the problem as well.


I don't see the problem. Determinism is incompatible with probabilistic events, and that is why determinism is false with regard to micro-events. On the macro scale we can still talk about probability on an epistemic level.
 
manored
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:41 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;169554 wrote:
Determinism and causation have never been "made into one", whatever that may mean. But as I have pointed out many times, what philosophers mean by "determinism" is that every event is subsumable under causal laws of nature so that the occurrence of the event follows from the applicable laws of nature together with the initial conditions. Look it up. Now, I have no idea whether that constitutes determinism and causation being "made into one" or not. But what does that matter? That is how determinism is understood by professional philosophers. It is either true, or it is false. The question is, what are the arguments, up or down?
Indeed, they have not. That is not what I meant.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:09 am
@manored,
manored;169934 wrote:
Indeed, they have not. That is not what I meant.


Indeed who has not what? And what did you mean?
 
Alan Masterman
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 10:08 am
@kennethamy,
"scientists believe they are there because they do observe their effects, and they postulate those entities as the best explanation of those effects..."

First, a quick apology for delay in reply, because circumstances have prevented...

I take your point, Kenneth, but I think the second half of your sentence expresses the real situation more accurately than the first half. The first half encapsulates the Baconian/Newtonian scientific attitude. When Newton published his theory of gravity, there were doubtless many natural-philosophers who said 'At last, now we REALLY know how the universe works!'

The second half expresses the more modern, post-Riemannian, post-Einsteinian attitude ('Let's assume that such-and-such is provisionally the case, without prejudice, because thus far that would explain the data we have...'). I think there is a difference between believing something is really there, and on the other hand, postulating an entity as a possible explanation of a phenomenon.

When a body of theoretical knowledge has developed sufficiently, one may assume with some justification that its original, basic terms describe something which may be loosely and coversationally termed as 'really existing'. For example, the theory of evolution by natural selection and the genetic theory of inheritance have both progressed so far that we can take it for granted that the word 'gene' corresponds to something which 'really exists'.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 10:25 am
@Alan Masterman,
Alan Masterman;170009 wrote:

When a body of theoretical knowledge has developed sufficiently, one may assume with some justification that its original, basic terms describe something which may be loosely and coversationally termed as 'really existing'. For example, the theory of evolution by natural selection and the genetic theory of inheritance have both progressed so far that we can take it for granted that the word 'gene' corresponds to something which 'really exists'.


Yes, I agree (since that is, loosely speaking, what I have argued). Except for your interposition of the term, "really". I don't see the point of it, since whatever exists, really exists, and whatever really exists, exists.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:18 pm
@Diogenes phil,
Diogenes;167564 wrote:
Think about it for a minute, or two.



Don` t 2 follow 1 is the same as morning follows night? Is causality in the same was as 'follow'? What do we mean by 'follow'?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 07:39 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;170192 wrote:
Don` t 2 follow 1 is the same as morning follows night? Is causality in the same was as 'follow'? What do we mean by 'follow'?


First of all, night does not cause morning. But, to answer your question (if I understand it) there is the "follow" of logic, so that one proposition follows from another proposition. But when we say that an effect follows from a cause, that is not the logical "follow". It is the temporal "follow". It means that the effect occurs after the cause occurs.
 
manored
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 01:35 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;169948 wrote:
Indeed who has not what? And what did you mean?
What I meant is not that determinism and causality had been made into one, but that they should not be made into one.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 02:34 pm
@manored,
manored;170460 wrote:
What I meant is not that determinism and causality had been made into one, but that they should not be made into one.


Into one what? No one identifies determinism and causation. But most philosophers understand determinism is the view that all events can be subsumed under a universal causal law. I don't know whether that is what you call "determinism and causation being one" or not. But what does that matter?
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 01:12 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;170200 wrote:
First of all, night does not cause morning. But, to answer your question (if I understand it) there is the "follow" of logic, so that one proposition follows from another proposition. But when we say that an effect follows from a cause, that is not the logical "follow". It is the temporal "follow". It means that the effect occurs after the cause occurs.



The way the effect follows cause is not logical, and we know this from Hume.

It is not necessary the case that there is a temporal difference between cause, and effect. The cause, and effect may happen at the same time, or that there are different micro events between the conventional cause, and effect. There might not event be a cause, or effect. There might just be a continuous process that conserve matter, and energy according to one modern view.
 
manored
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 11:25 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;170705 wrote:
The way the effect follows cause is not logical, and we know this from Hume.

It is not necessary the case that there is a temporal difference between cause, and effect. The cause, and effect may happen at the same time, or that there are different micro events between the conventional cause, and effect. There might not event be a cause, or effect. There might just be a continuous process that conserve matter, and energy according to one modern view.
I dont understand this. What is the point of saying everything is just one big process, or that there are a million sub-events between an aparent cause and its aparent effect, if we still see the relationship between cause and effect?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 4 Jun, 2010 11:49 pm
@Alan Masterman,
Alan Masterman;167701 wrote:
I hesitate to repeat a point which I have already made in another thread, but part of the confusion arises from the fact that we instinctively like to think in terms like 'cause' and 'effect' (and 'determinism') which are borrowed from classical metaphysics and, except as a kind of conversational shorthand, have no meaning or application in modern science (least of all quantum mechanics).

It was David Hume in the 18th Century who first pointed out, I think, that no-one has ever seen a 'cause'. When we say that 'A causes B', we really mean that in every case where we observe A, we observe that B follows. We rationalise it by saying that A 'causes' B.

To go further and postulate 'cause' as some kind of mysterious third entity, perhaps a kind of logical necessity, perhaps a physical 'action at a distance', not immediately perceptible, is unwarranted; an Aristotelian hangover. It is merely a question of correlation. In science there are NO 'causes', only probabilities ranging between 0 and 1.


Excellent post! I agree. What is this ghost named Causality?
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 12:49 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;173282 wrote:
Excellent post! I agree. What is this ghost named Causality?
There is something wrong with this notion.

We do not observe causality, we infer it.
We mean that event A follows situation B, with regularity.

We do not observe any unifying prinicple or physical law, we infer them by their predictive power. The fact that we do not observe but infer them, does not imply that they do not "exist". In fact in any Platonic system of them unifying principle is more real than any perceptial or sensory phenomena.

Probablity does not defy causality, although it does defy determinism.
Determinism in only event A can follow situation B.
Probablity is the one of the solutions to equation A will follow situation B.
?????
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 03:56 pm
@prothero,
prothero;173300 wrote:

We do not observe causality, we infer it.
We mean that event A follows situation B, with regularity.

I'll grant you that.

---------- Post added 06-05-2010 at 05:01 PM ----------

prothero;173300 wrote:

We do not observe any unifying prinicple or physical law, we infer them by their predictive power. The fact that we do not observe but infer them, does not imply that they do not "exist". In fact in any Platonic system of them unifying principle is more real than any perceptial or sensory phenomena.

Yes, I respect your view on it. And I agree. But at least you know what you mean by causality. My little jab was aimed at unconsidered adoption of the term. The real is rational. The form is what makes sensation intelligible. I think we agree on that. And for practical purposes, "laws" of nature are a great metaphor. It's just that few consider the concepts/Forms they live in w/ any intensity. The world (or better: human experience) is structured, yes.
I just like calling attention to what is often taken for granted. Hume's criticism of causality really struck me when I discovered it. Because I didn't think of "laws" of nature as a metaphor but as a simple literal reality. And of course reality for me is a Form that organizes other Forms. Causality is psychologically justified. Induction is necessary. But how easily a person slips into determinism, etc., when they take induction for absolute truth.

---------- Post added 06-05-2010 at 05:03 PM ----------

prothero;173300 wrote:

Probablity does not defy causality, although it does defy determinism.

I think all three of these issues could use clarification in general. I'm glad you commented on this thread. You balanced my jab with pragmatic good sense. Smile

Another thing occurs to me. Causal structure does not exist for us until someone observes and reports it. And then others must see/believe it. So the Form involved depends on us in some way. This is not to deny that Nature will do what it pleases with those who ignore her structure.
 
Ding an Sich
 
Reply Fri 11 Jun, 2010 09:16 am
Nope. Take a probability course and youll see why.
 
 

 
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