• ucarr
    1.1k


    Have any of these mathematical conveniences ever been detected?jgill

    ...they can be thought of as disturbances in underlying fields, they don't persist for long – and can't be directly detected.New Scientist
  • ucarr
    1.1k
    Suppose I succeed in stopping my internal dialogue, have I earned a nod from Walter White?ucarr

    I don't know whether you mean the actor or the civil rights activist.Ludwig V

    I mean Bryan Cranston as Walter White, the Grand Wizard of Speed in a speed-crazy global empire. In the end, he could but retire to the sterile silence of his solitude and die.

    He didn't say there was any problem about asserting well-formed propositions, did he?Ludwig V

    Maybe a practical application of the language of silence consists of the axiomatic supposition supporting analysis: things exist.

    Philosophim seems to be saying, things exist causally. That's a mixed bag containing holism and analysis. Well, if holism leaps across the void and supervenes on analysis, that's a very suggestive conception. Is today's establishment science wrong in its pragmatic decision to keep within its analytical physicalism, with the axiomatic established as the boundary?

    The key question for Philosophim is whether s/he's another immaterialist propounding a dualist reality without explaining the handshake between two parallel realms.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Is the following rephrasing acceptable: At least one cause and its causal chain are necessary.ucarr

    No, it is specifically a first cause, not just any cause.

    Is this interpretation correct: The definition of a first cause and whatever that entails is an acceptable object of examination within this conversation.ucarr

    Perfect!

    Is this a reasonable conclusion: A self-organizing, complex system is an acceptable object of examination within this conversation if it is not logically excluded from the definition of first cause.ucarr

    Correct.

    Is this interpretation correct: A principal first cause constrained by the laws of physics cannot imply anything external, antecedent or contemporary with itself.ucarr

    The wording about physics is a little to vague for me. "A principal first cause cannot imply anything external, antecedent or contemporary with itself." Is simple and clear.

    However, if the laws of physics logically necessitate all instantiations of causation entail externals, logical antecedents and contemporaries, then its a correct inference there are no first causes.ucarr

    Again, lets change this to be a little more to the point. "However, if it is found logically that all instantiations of causation entail externals, logical antecedents and contemporaries, then its a correct inference there are no first causes."

    This is a logical argument, so of course is there is a logical counter it fails.

    Is this interpretation correct: The above claim ignores mereological issues associated with the work of defining a first cause.ucarr

    Too vague. What do you specifically mean by mereological. The flat definition doesn't mean that that is how you understand the definition. Since I'm talking to you, I want to hear how you view this specifically.

    First causes inhabit the phenomenal universe and create consequential phenomena in the form of causal chains, and yet the examination of causation as a whole comes to a dead end at its phenomenal starting point.ucarr

    Add, "It is possible" to the start of the above sentence and its good.

    The implication is that either within or beyond the phenomenal universe lies something extant but unexplainable.* Is this a case of finding the boundary of scientific investigation, or is it a case of halting scientific investigation and philosophical rumination by decree.ucarr

    A logical boundary of scientific investigation. In no way should we stop science or philosophy.

    The notion of total randomness causing something-from-nothing-creations suggests a partitioned and dual reality. The attribution of dualism to this concept rests upon the premise that total randomness cannot share space with an ordered universe without fatally infecting it.ucarr

    No dualism. Dualism implies the presence of two separate things. There is not a separate thing. There is simply a first cause's inception. Let me give you an example of total randomness that you may not be realizing. It can be completely random that the universe has one first cause, the big bang, and never has one again. There are an infinite number of possible universes where there is only one first cause. There are an infinite number of universes with 2 first causes. And so on.

    Given QM entanglement, it may be the case that what can incept is limited by what exists. An everyday parallel is the fact that certain microbes don't spawn and proliferate in liquid solutions with a pH above a certain level.ucarr

    Ah, now this is interesting! There is nothing to prevent a first cause from happening, but if a first cause occurs in an already existent universe, it is possible that the first cause cannot coexist with what already exists and breaks down. Of course, its equally likely that it can coexist.

    Something-from-spontaneously-occurring-self-organization preserves the laws of physics; something from nothing seems to violate physical lawsucarr

    If a first cause can be anything, and it is found to be true, that would not violate physical laws, that would simply become part of them.

    ...a small adjustment to physics is not a reason to deny a logical conclusion
    — Philosophim

    You think it reasonable to characterize something-from-nothing as "... a small adjustment to physics..."?
    ucarr

    Yes because like Newton's laws to Einstein's relativity, most of the time Newton's laws is good enough. Most of the time in physics a first cause would never be considered as a case would have to factually present a case in which there could be no prior causality. That's a ridiculously high bar to clear.

    And again, the impact to physics is irrelevant to the logical argument itself. We don't argue against a logical argument because we like or don't like where it leads. This is a mistake theists and atheists have been doing for centuries or they would have figured out what I did long ago. We argue against a logical argument based on its logical premises and conclusion.

    I've been examining your definition of first cause as something-from-nothing within a closed system wherein matter-mass-energy are conserved. Again, I ask if you think it reasonable to characterize something-from-nothing as a small adjustment.ucarr

    No, because I have had to repeatedly and tirelessly explain to people that there is nothing prior that is 'making' something. Its nothing, then something. Inception works much better. "nothing to something' will make me have to write 50 more responses to people explaining that no, nothing is not some thing that causes something. :)

    It's your job to explain logically how something-from-nothing happens.ucarr

    See? You think there's a cause that explains how it happens. There IS NO CAUSE ucarr. =D Do I need to type this 50 more times? I do say this with a smile on my face, but please, understand this basic point.

    Merely stating that inception of a first cause is a case of: "It is what it is." amounts to a case of you dodging behind axiomatic jargon amounts to a case of you dodging behind axiomatic jargon that's first cousin to street vernacular: "Hey, man. I don't know what else I can tell ya. It is what it is."ucarr

    Ha! But no. The logical argument has always been there ucarr. Try to show it to be wrong anytime.

    Here's the dodge: You claim a priori knowledge of the reality of first causes, then evade the work of empirical investigation by claiming the just-ising of first causes into our phenomenal universe.ucarr

    1. I already told you I don't believe in a priori knowledge.
    2. I note that at least one first cause is logically necessary wherever causality exists.
    3. I have never claimed this was an empirical conclusion, and have constantly stated that if one is to claim any one thing in this universe is a first cause, they must prove it.

    So the rest of your argument is moot. Please try to address the argument as I do specifically and counter what it and I have been saying, not what you believe I'm implying.

    You can't establish it as a logical consequence if you can't show and explain how randomness morphs into a dynamic organizer of something. You're hiding another homunculus. It's the homunculus that confers onto randomness organizational powers.ucarr

    No, you are attributing there being something else behind the first cause. You can't help it. =) There is nothing Ucarr. Nothing. There is no organizer. There is no existent 'randomness' behind the scenes that's shuffling through like a slot machine. True randomness is merely a description to grasp potential. That is all.

    Also, you need to argue why something-from-nothing as a logical consequence is not an ad absurdum reductio. If you can't defend against such a conclusion, then first cause is non-existent.ucarr

    Please take the argument I've presented for why a first cause is logically necessary and point out where it falls into ad absurdum reductio.

    Your conclusion is not a self-evident truth -- since you claim to disavow self-evident truths, why are you claiming one here? Also, don't jump to the conclusion something outside of reality is self-evidently absurd: √−1=iucarr

    I am not claiming a self-evident truth. Ucarr, you have a bad habit of using terminology that I don't use as if I am using that terminology. I don't use that terminology intentionally. If you're going to introduce something, ask me like you've been doing, "Are you saying that a first cause is self-evident?" Because my answer is "No".

    As to reality, if reality refers to everything, there isn't something that exists outside of that set. That's logical.

    It seems likely your use of randomness facilitates circular reasoning within your head.
    — ucarr

    I don't see how this is circular. Please explain.
    — Philosophim

    There's no organized run-up to the just-ising of first causes, so they are because they are. Your tautology is your shield.
    ucarr

    1. This is not circular.
    2. I have a clear argument that leads to the conclusion. I'm not saying, "There is at least one first cause because I say so." I gave you a summary of the argument already if you need to reference it.

    Ucarr, something I've noticed is you say I'm implying or asserting things that I have not implied or asserted.
    — Philosophim

    It's your job to refute my interpretations of what you write with cogent arguments.
    ucarr

    Ok, and one of the ways I do so is by asking you to focus on what's actually being stated instead of what you imagine is being stated. That's a fair request for a good discussion right? I don't want to continue to address straw man's. Please ask if you believe I'm intending something first before accusing me of it.

    Can you explain how first cause -- sourced in nothing -- and causing subsequent causal chain which cannot exist without its sourced-in-nothing first cause, can spawn anything other than nothingness?
    — ucarr

    Sure. Because there is no constraint as to what a first cause can be.
    — Philosophim

    So, first cause, like a deity, can create anything. Also, first cause, like a deity, cannot be explained causally. Instead, first causes and deities just are.
    ucarr

    I've already explained this several times, so please listen. It is possible. Possible. Not certain. Not is. Not necessarily. It is possible, that a first cause could create anything. However, it would cause what it created, those things would not be first causes themselves.

    Sure, a deity is possible, but so is anything else. Meaning a deity is not necessary to explain anything. A deity could exist for five minutes and vanish. A deity could be good, bad, sad, mad, rad, etc. Or it could be some rocks appeared. Or a demonic unicorn. Or simply a photon. You are still narrowing your scope of true randomness, which is to be expected. All of our notions of randomness are really limits on what we can measure. In this case, its truly unlimited randomness.

    If the source of something is nothing, how can it cause anything other than what caused it, nothingness?
    — ucarr

    Because that's what it is.
    — Philosophim

    You don't need an argument to support this because its nature is by definition, right?
    ucarr

    Correct. This is required for the definition of a 'first cause' to be logically consistent.

    A first cause is simply the start of all other causation in that chain. You're over complicating it again. A -> B -> C Nothing caused A. Keep it simple Ucarr.
    — Philosophim

    You're the one suggesting randomness caused first cause. You're the one suggesting the questionable equation between randomness and nothingness.
    ucarr

    You are the one overcomplicating it. :)

    This again doesn't explain anything to me. What specifically in Wittgenstein's silent vigil is being evoked as you see it? Lots of people have very different opinions on what Wittgenstein was referring to. So I'll need your particular take to understand what you mean.
    — Philosophim

    I'm speculating about your first causes just-ising into being as examples of ineffable creation.
    ucarr

    Inception, not creation.

    Ok, all done replying! Ucarr, we're sort of narrowing down the point to one major thing I see now. You're having a difficult time letting go of there being something that causes a first cause. Be it implicit, its still there. I am trying to be clear with my language, so please use the arguments and language that I give instead of attributing ideas that I am not intending, as If I'm intending them. Just check with me first if you think I'm implying more than I've written.

    And thank you for being very discerning and thinking about this at length. I don't want to come across as if I think you're not doing a fantastic job. You are. I'm enjoying the discussion.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    This thread is like a causal chain. What would you say about its first cause(s)?jgill

    Good to see a little levity here! It all started when I read the Kalem cosmological argument long ago. Of course it was easy to see that the idea that a God had to be the start of the universe had no backing. But one thing I did think about was the idea of an origin. So I thought about it, figured others had come to the same conclusion but then realized they hadn't. Turns out people were so obsessed with proving or disproving a God that they missed the logic that remained in front of them.

    It is my firm opinion after speaking with many people, that a major and fatal error many people do in discussions is view the end as the means, and the argument as the secondary. It should be switched. People shouldn't give a crap about the end. They should care about the argument and where it logically ends. Not where they want it to end.
  • LFranc
    7
    This question cannot be solved without first defining what an existence would be
  • Philosophim
    2k
    ↪Philosophim This question cannot be solved without first defining what an existence would beLFranc

    Sure. Lets go with, "That which has an identity. An identity is how it interacts with what is around itself" Basically anything that isn't nothing, as nothing as a concept is the absence of identity.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    Exactly, well said Ludwig!Philosophim
    It's nice to agree on something, isn't it? I wasn't sure whether you would welcome the agreement or criticize the way I undermined it.

    1) the order inherent in thinking is foundational to the human identity; 2) the essence of thinking is its natural orderlinessucarr
    I'm not sure I have any clear grasp of what either statement means. Is 1) a version of the idea that the essence of humanity is rationality? If so, it depends what you mean by "rationality" and "essence", but is far from obviously true.

    Following this line, I want to say the world appears to us orderly because it's rendered to our awareness through our thinking.ucarr
    I'm not sure the world does appear to us as orderly, though it is true that there is some order in it. But a lot depends on what you think of as order.

    I mean, I can put my books on their shelf in order of size, price, weight, date of publication, name of publisher or printer, first letter of title, first letter of author, Dewey decimal classification etc. What's more, if you put them on the shelf at random, I can then find the order in which they are put. In short, I defy you to think of a way of putting them on the shelf that isn't in some order or another. Disorder among the books can only be defined in relation to some principle of ordering them. (I have not forgotten that "book" is more complicated than it might seem. Is the Bible one book or two or many? Is a volume of Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire a book or part of a book. Is a pamphlet a book?)

    Is it (sc. "Origin boundary ontology is a gnarly puzzle") sufficiently suggestive to give you a clear impression of what it's trying to communicate?ucarr
    Not really.

    Are you inclined to believe origin stories must discard causation at the start point?ucarr
    It depends what kind of origin you have in mind - I mean what the origin in question is the origin of. In terms of this discussion, it does seem that the origin of a causal chain cannot be a cause, though if you change your definition of cause (or of what counts as an explanation) at that point, it may be possible to provide some sort of account.

    Maybe a practical application of the language of silence consists of the axiomatic supposition supporting analysis: things exist.ucarr
    Maybe. Though I have seen people trying to discuss that statement.

    Is today's establishment science wrong in its pragmatic decision to keep within its analytical physicalism, with the axiomatic established as the boundary?ucarr
    No. It wouldn't be what it is if it didn't. I might have something to say about a scientist who kept strictly within the boundaries of physicalism, even within working hours and we might decide to set different boundaries if circumstances changed.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Exactly, well said Ludwig!
    — Philosophim
    It's nice to agree on something, isn't it? I wasn't sure whether you would welcome the agreement or criticize the way I undermined it.
    Ludwig V

    I don't think an accurate assessment is undermining. Out of the people recently posting in this thread, I think you grasp the argument the best.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    The wording about physics is a little to vague for mePhilosophim

    You've been saying a principal first cause, although it can incept as anything, cannot violate the physical laws of the thing it incepts as, right? If I'm correct in thinking this, it seems to me also correct a principal first cause is constrained by the definition of the particular things it incepts as.

    If you chafe at constraint applied to a principal first cause, that gives me an opening to point out mereological issues and question whether you need to address them.

    Again, lets change this to be a little more to the point. "However, if it is found logically that all instantiations of causation entail externals, logical antecedents and contemporaries, then its a correct inference there are no first causes."

    This is a logical argument, so of course is there is a logical counter it fails.
    Philosophim

    Do you agree making this determination is the heart and soul of our work in this discussion?

    Is this interpretation correct: The above claim ignores mereological issues associated with the work of defining a first cause.ucarr

    Too vague. What do you specifically mean by mereological.Philosophim

    Mereological essentialism
    In philosophy, mereological essentialism is a mereological thesis about the relationship between wholes, their parts, and the conditions of their persistence. According to mereological essentialism, objects have their parts necessarily. If an object were to lose or gain a part, it would cease to exist; it would no longer be the original object but a new and different one.

    Wikipedia - Mereological essentialism

    The last two sentences of the definition are especially important. If a first cause is a system, as is the case in your example of a first-cause hydrogen atom, then, as you've been saying, it cannot be a hydrogen atom if one of its necessary parts is missing.

    Next comes the issue whether the necessary part is a thing-in-themself apart from the hydrogen atom. The answer is yes because we know electrons are parts of many elements and compounds, not just hydrogen atoms. So, if an electron is a thing-in-itself and its a necessary part of a hydrogen atom, then a hydrogen atom, even the first one, in order to exist, must contain an electron, another thing-in-itself like the hydrogen atom. Therefore, logically, we must conclude the electron is a contemporary of the hydrogen atom it inhabits, and thus the hydrogen atom cannot be itself and at the same time be a first cause.

    First causes inhabit the phenomenal universe and create consequential phenomena in the form of causal chains, and yet the examination of causation as a whole comes to a dead end at its phenomenal starting point.ucarr

    Add, "It is possible" to the start of the above sentence and its good.Philosophim

    I understand you want to leave open the possibility the something-from-nothing origins of first causes are not permanently partitioned off from examination of causation as a whole by science, but your something-from-nothing just-iziming of first causes are, by your definition, beyond scientific reach.

    The implication is that either within or beyond the phenomenal universe lies something extant but unexplainable.* Is this a case of finding the boundary of scientific investigation, or is it a case of halting scientific investigation and philosophical rumination by decree.ucarr

    A logical boundary of scientific investigation. In no way should we stop science or philosophy.Philosophim

    How is claiming logical necessity of things unexplainable refutable?

    The notion of total randomness causing something-from-nothing-creations suggests a partitioned and dual reality. The attribution of dualism to this concept rests upon the premise that total randomness cannot share space with an ordered universe without fatally infecting it.ucarr

    No dualism. Dualism implies the presence of two separate things. There is not a separate thing. There is simply a first cause's inception. Let me give you an example of total randomness that you may not be realizing. It can be completely random that the universe has one first cause, the big bang, and never has one again. There are an infinite number of possible universes where there is only one first cause. There are an infinite number of universes with 2 first causes. And so on.Philosophim

    I've underlined the sentence where you might be hiding a cryptic dualism: If total randomness spawned our universe, one inference that can be drawn is that there is a continuum from total randomness to order. The possible duality is the transition point from total randomness (while still within total randomness) to order, or even to proto-order. If this transition point is really an unexplained jump from zero order to extant order, then that's your hidden dualism.

    Something-from-spontaneously-occurring-self-organization preserves the laws of physics; something from nothing seems to violate physical lawsucarr

    If a first cause can be anything, and it is found to be true, that would not violate physical laws, that would simply become part of them.Philosophim

    Maybe the question remains: Does a postulated realm of reality without physics and its laws violate the laws of physics?

    You think it reasonable to characterize something-from-nothing as "... a small adjustment to physics..."?ucarr

    Yes because like Newton's laws to Einstein's relativity, most of the time Newton's laws is good enough. Most of the time in physics a first cause would never be considered as a case would have to factually present a case in which there could be no prior causality. That's a ridiculously high bar to clear.Philosophim

    You seem to be saying discovery of a first cause is unlikely. The unlikeliness of its discovery has no bearing on the radical impact of such a discovery.

    ...the impact to physics is irrelevant to the logical argument itself.Philosophim

    You're right, but in this case I'm not attacking your logical argument. I'm attacking your characterization of the advent of something-from-nothing as an event requiring a small adjustment to physics.

    It's your job to explain logically how something-from-nothing happens.ucarr

    You think there's a cause that explains how it happens. There IS NO CAUSE ucarr. =D Do I need to type this 50 more times? I do say this with a smile on my face, but please, understand this basic point.Philosophim

    ...there is nothing prior that is 'making' something. Its nothing, then something. Inception works much better. "nothing to something' will make me have to write 50 more responses to people explaining that no, nothing is not some thing that causes something.Philosophim

    Yes, with your clarification here I better understand what you've been describing.

    Some might think I'm playing a language game when I reflect on a first cause that has no cause being illogical. I defend raising this question because the gist of your argument is that first causation is logically necessary. Now, my argumentative question says a thing partitioned from its identity is illogical along the line of paradox. First cause, by definition, possesses the identity of causation. By definition then, first cause is in identity with itself. (No, I haven't forgotten your denial that first cause can be a self. My simple response is to say non-sentient things like first causes nonetheless are things in themselves.) It's perhaps a weird argument, but I'm driving towards saying inception of first cause cancels definition of first cause as causeless. This in part is a denial that inception as a starting point can be causeless. General Relativity with light holding highest velocity excludes any physical processes -- such as inception -- from occurring instantaneously.

    Its nothing, then something.Philosophim

    Trying to partition an interval of time to a nearly infinitesimally small duration such that there's a moment after inception wherein cause is first established doesn't work because in that short interval of time you're implying first cause is not really itself, a paradox. If that's not the case, then there can be no positive time interval during which incepted first cause isn't itself establishing causation. So, no temporal creation without causation.

    This is a logical attack on your claim by implication first-cause inception is instantaneous. Since you're leading with the claim first cause (by instantaneous inception) is logically necessary, you must defend your claim with logic. Axiomatic talk about nothing-then-something without a logical argument excluding, for example, General Relativity's exclusion of your claim from reality, won't do.

    Ha! But no. The logical argument has always been there ucarr. Try to show it to be wrong anytime.Philosophim

    You're referring to your alpha logic in your OP?

    Please try to address the argument as I do specifically and counter what it and I have been saying, not what you believe I'm implying.Philosophim

    You're saying I should only draw inferences strictly adherent to the precise sense in which you word your statements?

    True randomness is merely a description to grasp potential.Philosophim

    Must you exclude potential from the neighborhood of first cause?

    Please take the argument I've presented for why a first cause is logically necessary and point out where it falls into ad absurdum reductio.Philosophim

    You're saying you have reason to doubt your alpha logic can be reduced to ad absurdum reductio and, given this doubt, you want me to demonstrate such a reduction?

    "Are you saying that a first cause is self-evident?" Because my answer is "No".Philosophim

    You're saying "First causes simply are." is not a self-evident truth?

    As to reality, if reality refers to everything, there isn't something that exists outside of that set. That's logical.Philosophim

    You're speculating about reality having no boundary?

    And thank you for being very discerning and thinking about this at length. I don't want to come across as if I think you're not doing a fantastic job. You are. I'm enjoying the discussion.Philosophim

    I've made important gains in my general abilities pertinent to rational conversation through our dialogue up to this point. I'll be heeding your suggestions for keeping close to the senses in which you (and others) intend your communications in words, phrases, sentences and concepts.

    As for my getting stuck at the outer boundary of causation and thereafter being unable to enter into examination of causeless things, I put my best spin on what I've been doing by thinking I've been running through my inventory of commitments to causation en route to deepening my understanding of what you're trying to communicate with respect to your posited causeless realm of first cause. I don't want to further aggravate your annoyance with fruitless repetitions. With that goal in mind, I'm ready to withdraw from our dialog in favor of study suggested by what I've been learning from it.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    The wording about physics is a little to vague for me
    — Philosophim

    You've been saying a principal first cause, although it can incept as anything, cannot violate the physical laws of the thing it incepts as, right? If I'm correct in thinking this, it seems to me also correct a principal first cause is constrained by the definition of the particular things it incepts as.
    ucarr

    If you're saying, "Once a first cause has incepted, it cannot be anything other than what it is," you are correct.

    Again, lets change this to be a little more to the point. "However, if it is found logically that all instantiations of causation entail externals, logical antecedents and contemporaries, then its a correct inference there are no first causes."

    This is a logical argument, so of course is there is a logical counter it fails.
    — Philosophim

    Do you agree making this determination is the heart and soul of our work in this discussion?
    ucarr

    I would say yes. This conclusion arises because of a logical argument which I have yet to see anyone disprove. It doesn't mean the argument can't be disproven, it just means no one has done it yet if this is the case. That's why I'm presenting it here. Let people stab at it, shake a stick at it, throw a pitchfork, anything to see if there's a weakness I'm not seeing.

    Thank you for clarifying what was important to mereological to you.

    According to mereological essentialism, objects have their parts necessarily. If an object were to lose or gain a part, it would cease to exist; it would no longer be the original object but a new and different one.

    Wikipedia - Mereological essentialism

    The last two sentences of the definition are especially important. If a first cause is a system, as is the case in your example of a first-cause hydrogen atom, then, as you've been saying, it cannot be a hydrogen atom if one of its necessary parts is missing.
    ucarr

    This is very similar, if not identical to what I've been saying. Though in hindsight I've phrased this differently depending on the context, so I'll be clear here. A first cause is at the moment of inception. The next tick of time is not the first cause. That is the first result of a first cause. In the past I've stated that a first cause could incept, then disappear moments later. This is taking the context of the first cause as the thing that forms and continues. While convenient to type a general idea more efficiently, this is not accurate in detail.

    What I should have said is that the existence that proceeds from a first cause does not need to persist forever. As an example again, if what appears to be a photon appeared as a first cause, then disappeared five seconds later from existence, due to the rules and consequences of the first cause, that's possible. Technically a photon doesn't vanish in five seconds due to the consequence of its own existence. My apologies is my lack of specificity in this has caused any confusion, that would be on me. :)

    So, if an electron is a thing-in-itself and its a necessary part of a hydrogen atom, then a hydrogen atom, even the first one, in order to exist, must contain an electron, another thing-in-itself like the hydrogen atom. Therefore, logically, we must conclude the electron is a contemporary of the hydrogen atom it inhabits, and thus the hydrogen atom cannot be itself and at the same time be a first cause.ucarr

    Correct. I stated this earlier in our discussion, though it would not be surprising if it was forgotten. Since a hydrogen atom is composed of other elements, the only way we could generalize the atom as a first cause if is all the elements of the hydrogen atom incepted in such a way as it would continue in the next moment like a regular hydrogen atom. It is the fundamental aspect which is a first cause. Only if several fundamentals incepted simultaneously and in a particular order could such a miracle occur. This is of course possible, but once again, must be proven that this occurred. I believe if such a rare instance were to happen, this is an instance in which it would likely be impossible to scientifically determine that it happened.

    Maybe the question remains: Does a postulated realm of reality without physics and its laws violate the laws of physics?ucarr

    This is a broader question about understanding what the laws of physics are. They are tested aspects about known reality that so far, have not been disproven. If one day multi-verse theory was found to be real, it would be a part of physics. If we proved that a first cause existed, that would be part of physics. Physics is not an innate truth of reality, it is a discovered knowledge about reality that we have determined through careful testing, logic, and application.

    You seem to be saying discovery of a first cause is unlikely. The unlikeliness of its discovery has no bearing on the radical impact of such a discovery.ucarr

    True.

    Some might think I'm playing a language game when I reflect on a first cause that has no cause being illogical. I defend raising this question because the gist of your argument is that first causation is logically necessary.ucarr

    I think its reasonable for people to resist such a claim. Indeed, I want to hear people's arguments against it to see if they're right.

    It's perhaps a weird argument, but I'm driving towards saying inception of first cause cancels definition of first cause as causeless. This in part is a denial that inception as a starting point can be causeless.ucarr

    One thing I point out is a first cause is that which exists without prior cause. Self identities or constituent parts are fine as long as they are not prior to what is incepted like the hydrogen atom I just covered a few paragraphs ago.

    Trying to partition an interval of time to a nearly infinitesimally small duration such that there's a moment after inception wherein cause is first established doesn't work because in that short interval of time you're implying first cause is not really itself, a paradox. If that's not the case, then there can be no positive time interval during which incepted first cause isn't itself establishing causation. So, no temporal creation without causation.ucarr

    This is more of a problem with time partitioning than a first cause. This is exemplified by this problem. "I have to walk a distance of 10 feet. To walk a distance of ten feet, I must walk halfway there first. Then to walk a distance of 5 feet, I must walk halfway there first. This goes on for as long as we can invent halves of numbers, which is of course infinite. If this is the case, how do I ever arrive at the end of the initial ten feet?" The solution is that though our numbers can be reduced infinitely, there must be a fundamental minimum scale of distance. Same with time. Otherwise every second of time that has passed will have also crossed an infinity of halves.

    Ha! But no. The logical argument has always been there ucarr. Try to show it to be wrong anytime.
    — Philosophim

    You're referring to your alpha logic in your OP?
    ucarr

    I have since summarized it for you better in a previous post. Hopefully that makes it easier to digest.

    Please try to address the argument as I do specifically and counter what it and I have been saying, not what you believe I'm implying.
    — Philosophim

    You're saying I should only draw inferences strictly adherent to the precise sense in which you word your statements?
    ucarr

    Where possible, yes. Then if my vocabulary is incomplete or unclear, you can ask me to clarify or call me out on it. That puts the responsibility on me to clearly articulate my point instead of on you.

    True randomness is merely a description to grasp potential.
    — Philosophim

    Must you exclude potential from the neighborhood of first cause?
    ucarr

    I'm not sure what you meant by this, could you clarify please ucarr?

    Please take the argument I've presented for why a first cause is logically necessary and point out where it falls into ad absurdum reductio.
    — Philosophim

    You're saying you have reason to doubt your alpha logic can be reduced to ad absurdum reductio and, given this doubt, you want me to demonstrate such a reduction?
    ucarr

    Yes, please.

    "Are you saying that a first cause is self-evident?" Because my answer is "No".
    — Philosophim

    You're saying "First causes simply are." is not a self-evident truth?
    ucarr

    No, they are a conclusion reasoned through by logic. If it was self-evident, there could be no discussion or debate. To my mind, nothing is self-evident. Feel free to argue against this, it only supports my point. :D

    As to reality, if reality refers to everything, there isn't something that exists outside of that set. That's logical.
    — Philosophim

    You're speculating about reality having no boundary?
    ucarr

    I'm just saying that the word 'reality' is really a word that represents all of 'what is'.

    As for my getting stuck at the outer boundary of causation and thereafter being unable to enter into examination of causeless things, I put my best spin on what I've been doing by thinking I've been running through my inventory of commitments to causation en route to deepening my understanding of what you're trying to communicate with respect to your posited causeless realm of first cause. I don't want to further aggravate your annoyance with fruitless repetitions. With that goal in mind, I'm ready to withdraw from our dialog in favor of study suggested by what I've been learning from it.ucarr

    Not a worry at all. You are not aggravating or annoying ucarr! I appreciate your thoroughness, curiosity, and respectful critiques and attacks on the theory. Ask as long as you have questions that need answering, its not a problem.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    True randomness is merely a description to grasp potential.ucarr

    Must you exclude potential from the neighborhood of first cause?ucarr

    I'm not sure what you meant by this, could you clarify please ucarr?Philosophim

    My general interpretation of your introduction of randomness as a state of things totally unpredictable had it positioned as the state preceding incept of first cause. Subsequent to that thinking, you've clarified that nothing -- including nothingness -- can have causal effect on a first cause. So, nothingness, and randomness join the list of excluded causal prior states. After your most recent clarification about randomness being an aide to understanding potential, I'm seeking clarification whether potential inhabits the list of the excluded. The simple answer is yes. However, your mentions of nothingness, randomness and now potential vaguely suggest they're subject to the gravitational pull of causal status due to our reasoning minds needing talking points to grasp nothing-then-something inception.

    I know you've denied dualism, so, at the risk of repetition, clarify again how a real realm of acausal nothing-then-something is continuous with our universe of phenomena apparently obeying physical laws. Directly below is why I repeat the question.

    Let me give you an example of total randomness that you may not be realizing. It can be completely random that the universe has one first cause, the big bang, and never has one again.Philosophim

    Your underlined fragment suggests randomness in the role of the trigger of the singularity's rapid expansion. If that's not assignment of causal agency to randomness, its a talking point that flirts with such and the effect is the sending of a confusing and mixed communication. I now know that the purity of the randomness argues for no possible organization and no possible associated direction that in this context crosstalks with causation. Another thought -- I know you've already addressed it -- is that the pre-big bang of no physics is an utterly different state not only from our world today, but utterly different from the start of the shortest time interval possible post-big bang. I'm still in arrears of understanding how randomness-into-big band is not a partitioning of reality into two utterly distinct states populating a dual reality.

    As I've already written, if randomness-into-big-bang not being a partitioning is an axiomatic presupposition, I can understand what's being conveyed while disagreeing with its possibility. But you argue that A ⟹ B ⟹ C... -- when you run it backwards -- loops around with logical necessity to a causeless inception point. I presume then, that what follows logically is another progression in a forward direction with endless circularity being the general state of things. I don't see any component of the argument that cancels the partitioning obvious to me. So, where does you argument cancel any notion of pre-big bang being a radically different reality than post-big bang, with expansion of the singularity inexplicably bridging across the utterly distinct realities?

    You're saying "First causes simply are." is not a self-evident truth?ucarr

    No, they are a conclusion reasoned through by logicPhilosophim

    So, where does you argument cancel any notion of pre-big bang being a radically different reality than post-big bang, with expansion of the singularity inexplicably bridging across the utterly distinct realities?

    You're speculating about reality having no boundary?ucarr

    I'm just saying that the word 'reality' is really a word that represents all of 'what is'.Philosophim

    You're not answering my question, please do so. I'm pressing this point because saying all of what exists equals reality allows for the logical inference reality so defined has no boundary. Well, a reality with no boundary means the no-physics realm of nothing-then-something inhabits the same continuum inhabited by our everyday reality. This bilateral grounding of no-physics and physics compels you to explain logically how our universe contains a no-physics section and also a physics section without it being a dualist universe.

    Ask as long as you have questions that need answering, its not a problem.Philosophim

    As you see above, I'm doing just that.
  • Ludwig V
    663


    I'm afraid I can't resist some explanation why I can't contribute to this discussion. Paradoxical, I know, but then what's another paradox or two in this environment? You can always ignore me, and I don't complain at that, because my position doesn't take your dialogue forward. So I won't need to disrupt you again.

    Your underlined fragment suggests randomness in the role of the trigger of the singularity's rapid expansion. If that's not assignment of causal agency to randomness, its a talking point that flirts with suchucarr
    I agree with this. The reason why this is so is simple. "Randomness" is being used unself-consciously, without an articulate understanding of how "random" (as opposed to "randomness" which is a misleading application of the grammatical rule that allows us to generate a noun corresponding to an adjective) is used in those applications where it is perfectly comprehensible and meaningful. If you want to extend the meaning of "random" beyond the Big Bang, it has to be done carefully and explicitly.

    I don't think that "random" can be meaningfully extended beyond the Big Bang. Our normal use of "random" applies to events (which can also stand in causal relationships to each other. Ex hypothesi, those don't exist behind/before the Big Bang, so I can't grasp any meaning for it.

    However, your mentions of nothingness, randomness and now potential vaguely suggest they're subject to the gravitational pull of causal status due to our reasoning minds needing talking points to grasp nothing-then-something inception.ucarr
    Exactly. But the need to do that is inherent in the positing of the Big Bang (and another extension beyond the Last Cause is equally inevitable). That's the power of the argument for infinite causal chains. But trying to apply concepts that were developed to apply to what exists after the Big Bang to what (if anything) exists before/behind the Big Bang is extremely problematic and liable to lead nowhere. Whether the mathematicians are doing any better, I can't possibly judge. But I would have thought that their approach stands a better chance than anything that can be made from ordinary language.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    So, nothingness, and randomness join the list of excluded causal prior states.ucarr

    Correct.

    I'm seeking clarification whether potential inhabits the list of the excluded. The simple answer is yes. However, your mentions of nothingness, randomness and now potential vaguely suggest they're subject to the gravitational pull of causal status due to our reasoning minds needing talking points to grasp nothing-then-something inception.ucarr

    Then that is not my intention. I was not aware it would come across like that. Thinking back to when I first fleshed it out, I haven't walked through my initial through process in concluding this, so let me do so now.

    I remember at first thinking, "If anything is possible, then could some things be more possible than another? Not because of some prior cause, but because that's just the way the first cause played out?
    (I know this doesn't make any sense, but just follow the example to see where I arrived in the end)

    So I had a thought experiment. Lets say, if anything is possible, that there is a 40% chance of a universe forming from a big bang, and a 60% chance of a universe forming from a little whisper. I mean, its possible right? But what that also means is its equally possible that there's a 39% chance of a universe forming from a big bang, and a 61% of a big whisper. 38/62, 37/67...and so on.

    In fact, I realized I could imagine any situation with odds, and realize that all odds had the same chance of happening when anything can happen. And if all odds for all possibilities are all possible...that means everything in the mathematical end has the same chance of happening.

    That's one. I'll reiterate again another point I've made before as it was likely brushed over earlier. 'Randomness' as we know it is caused. 'True randomness' is uncaused. Randomness has limitations caused by other existential influences. We use randomness in situations where we have limits, but are missing some information that would lead us to predicting that absolutely necessary conclusion.

    Again, I'll mention a die roll. The outcome of the die is predetermined by the forces that are already there. Unless a first cause happened to get in the way, a die roll will always land predetermined on a particular side. We'll say the one die. Your forces shaking the cup, gravity, friction, the surface of where it landed, and even the air resistance all cause the die to land on the one. We say, "It has a one out of six chance to land on the one," because we cannot measure it accurately ahead of time. But it was always going to land on the one.

    When something has no prior cause for its existence, its actually truly unpredictable. Its inception is outside of determinism. There is nothing causing a big bang to form. There is nothing preventing a big bang from forming. There is nothing which would neither limit, cause, or incline a first cause to be. It simply is. And the logical consequence of this is that the inception of when, where, what, etc of a first cause is true randomness. Meaning anything is possible.

    Your underlined fragment suggests randomness in the role of the trigger of the singularity's rapid expansion.ucarr

    No, that's not what I'm trying to suggest. I hope the above clarified, but I'll reiterate here. Randomness is not a role. It is a logical way to grasp that the inception of a first cause, what it is, where it forms, etc. are truly unpredictable, outside of determinism, and therefore truly random. Now, once its formed, it is no longer random in what it does. It is constrainted by what it is. But what it is, how it is, and why it is, is all truly random.

    Another thought -- I know you've already addressed it -- is that the pre-big bang of no physics is an utterly different state not only from our world today, but utterly different from the start of the shortest time interval possible post-big bang.ucarr

    If there is something which caused the big bang, then the big bang is not a first cause. I'm only using the big bang as a hypothetical example of a first cause give a more concrete example to the abstract. My argument for "there must be a first cause" is the variable X. When I say, "a photon, the big bang, etc.", I'm just temporarily putting a number like 1 or 2 there so we don't have to keep talking in terms of X all the time. Sometimes this makes things more clear.

    So its not relevant whether or not there is something that caused the big bang. We just keep working up the causal chain and will eventually arrive at a first cause. So to sum, the argument is not addressing any one particular first cause, it is addressing the logic of any first cause.

    I'm still in arrears of understanding how randomness-into-big band is not a partitioning of reality into two utterly distinct states populating a dual reality.ucarr

    Because, and this is entirely understandable, you haven't let go of the need for prior causality. You haven't yet truly considered or understood the idea of what it means for there to be no prior cause. You keep inventing something that's a prior cause, and that's the wrong approach. And that's ok! :) Its a difficult shift. There is no prior cause, means no dualism, no God, no secret mechanism, no slot machine, no sub-quantum field that causes the quantum field, just...nothing. It just is.

    You're speculating about reality having no boundary?
    — ucarr

    I'm just saying that the word 'reality' is really a word that represents all of 'what is'.
    — Philosophim

    You're not answering my question, please do so. I'm pressing this point because saying all of what exists equals reality allows for the logical inference reality so defined has no boundary.
    ucarr

    I'm not sure how this makes reality not have a boundary. Sum up everything that exists and that's the boundary.

    Well, a reality with no boundary means the no-physics realm of nothing-then-something inhabits the same continuum inhabited by our everyday reality.ucarr

    I'll mention this again, but its not a 'no-physics' reality. Its not separate, its just a part of reality. If a first cause was empirically proven, it would simply become part of physics. Physics is an attempt to measure, predict, and understand how forces and matter impact each other. This would just be one extra rule added to it.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Please read my response to ucarr above as I go over 'true randomness' in more detail.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    If I could get my head round your dialogue with @ucarr, I would have intervened before now. But I can't.

    Lets say, if anything is possible, that there is a 40% chance of a universe forming from a big bang, and a 60% chance of a universe forming from a little whisper.Philosophim
    No real meaning has ever been attached to possibilities. If what you are thinking is meaningful, you mean "Let's say, if anything is probable, that there is a 40% chance of a universe forming from a big bang, and a 60% chance of a universe forming from a little whisper." But to assign probabilities, you need to include all possible outcomes, and the total of your assignments must add up to 1.0 and no more. You need to assign a probability to all the "anythings" that you refer to in "if anything is possible". Unless you have a reason to assign different probabilities to different outcomes, you must assign the same probability to all outcomes. (Knowing the outcome doesn't count)

    I think that there are infinitely many possibilities (including the possibility of a Big Bang and a Small Whimper). You cannot assign any special probabilities to either the Big Bang or the Small Whimper. However small a number you assign to each probability, either it will be infinitely small or the total will be infinity. This makes your assignments meaningless.

    One more try...

    The metaphor of a causal chain is helpful in one respect - each link in the chain is both cause and effect. The 10th link is the cause of the 11th link, and the effect of the 9th link. In the real world, no chain is infinite, but the possibility of another link, both before the first one and after the last one can never be excluded.
    The actual causal chains that we formulate are constructed either in a practical context or in the context of a theory. They are limited in the first case by pragmatic considerations and in the second by the theories we have. So when we construct actual causal chains, there will always be a first cause and a last cause, and these will present themselves as brute facts - we discussed those a while ago.
    Change the context and different possibilities will open up. Remove all context and the system is meaningless. That's why I cannot discuss this in the abstract and had to insist on discussing the first cause we actually know about.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    You need to assign a probability to all the "anythings" that you refer to in "if anything is possible". Unless you have a reason to assign different probabilities to different outcomes, you must assign the same probability to all outcomes.Ludwig V

    Correct. That's what I'm trying to say with the examples.

    The actual causal chains that we formulate are constructed either in a practical context or in the context of a theory. They are limited in the first case by pragmatic considerations and in the second by the theories we have. So when we construct actual causal chains, there will always be a first cause and a last cause, and these will present themselves as brute facts - we discussed those a while ago.Ludwig V

    I did want to note that the conclusion applies to reality, not our knowledge or understanding of reality. "First cause" does not mean, "The start of where we decide to look at the causal chain." There is no human context. The big bang is not a known first cause, it is simply a proposed first cause. To know it is a first cause, we must prove that it is. So far, this has not been done. However, using the big bang as a 'fill in' first cause to get away from abstraction is very helpful and useful to do.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    I did want to note that the conclusion applies to reality, not our knowledge or understanding of reality.Philosophim
    That's a complicated statement. I'm not at all sure that I understand it.

    "First cause" does not mean, "The start of where we decide to look at the causal chain."Philosophim
    Sometimes it means exactly that. When it doesn't, it means "the first cause so far as we can tell".

    There is no human context.Philosophim
    How can there not be a human context when we are discussing it?

    To know it is a first cause, we must prove that it is.Philosophim
    Well, there's a scientific argument about that, so now the burden of proof is on you to prove that it isn't and to explain what would count as a proof.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I haven't walked through my initial through process... so let me do so
    now.
    Philosophim

    The through line of causal logic is crucial.

    If anything is possible, then could some things be more possible than another?Philosophim

    Yes. You're invoking probability.

    I realized I could imagine any situation with odds, and realize that all odds had the same chance of happening when anything can happen.Philosophim

    I'll sound a note of doubt about this on the premise all odds on all things having equal chance of occurrence assumes unlimited time.

    True randomness' is uncaused.Philosophim

    This implies randomness can be contemporary with the first of all first causes, and thus prior to all first causes subsequent to the first of all first causes. The effect of randomness being uncaused is that there are no first causes.

    Also, if true randomness uncaused, as you claim, supports the prediction of certain outcomes, then it is -- your denials notwithstanding -- logical.


    Firstly, when you're propounding your conclusion -- that first cause is possible and logically necessary -- you demand it be understood: unexplainable nothing must be accepted prima facie. This is the before-there's-nothing/after-there's-something transformation. So far, your arguments beg the question: How is there not a chain of causation from nothing to something? You have corrected me on my understanding of it as a chain of causation. You haven't explained why it's not.

    Secondly, when you proceed to your logical argument this is true, your thinking -- like than mine -- does not remove itself from immersion within a logical perception of what you're trying to exclude from logic.

    Your narrative contains a crucial disjunction between your axiomatic declaration of first cause and your exegesis of first cause with telltale rational underpinnings. These telltale rational underpinnings covertly assist you in your assertions of first cause's reality.

    The point of disjunction happens when the causal chain reaches its last position prior to the location of first cause and the location of first cause. The gap stands between first cause on one side of the disjunction and second cause on the other side of the disjunction. First cause is not connected to the causal chain you claim it causes. The gap separating the leader from its followers is the gap between no-physics and physics.

    Since you're talking about first cause causing a causal chain following after it, you have to bridge across first cause to second cause that bridges across to third cause, etc. You can't start building your bridge if first cause inhabits a realm no other existing thing inhabits. For this reason, whenever you attempt to talk logically about first cause causing second cause and so on, you have to covertly bring in logical connectors linking first cause to second cause.

    The central flaw in your thesis appears to be inconsistency (between the no-physics realm and the physics realm). In your attempt to assert a no-logic realm as the start of a logical realm, you encounter the gnarly problem of explaining logically the non-logical inception of logic. Its easy to claim a no-logic realm causes a logic realm if you keep the two realms separated in a dualistic reality. The problem with this option is that the claim of a causal link must be taken as an article of faith.

    Your first cause thesis is plagued by the same inconsistency devil plaguing theism and the big bang.
  • ucarr
    1.1k
    I think that there are infinitely many possibilities (including the possibility of a Big Bang and a Small Whimper). You cannot assign any special probabilities to either the Big Bang or the Small Whimper. However small a number you assign to each probability, either it will be infinitely small or the total will be infinity. This makes your assignments meaningless.Ludwig V

    :up:
  • Philosophim
    2k
    I did want to note that the conclusion applies to reality, not our knowledge or understanding of reality.
    — Philosophim
    That's a complicated statement. I'm not at all sure that I understand it.
    Ludwig V

    If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, the air still vibrates with the fall. We don't need someone to hear the vibration of the air for the air to vibrate.

    "First cause" does not mean, "The start of where we decide to look at the causal chain."
    — Philosophim
    Sometimes it means exactly that. When it doesn't, it means "the first cause so far as we can tell".
    Ludwig V

    No, a first cause is not an opinion. It is a truth. A first cause can have no prior cause for its existence. This is independent of whether we discover its existence or not. If we claim something is a first cause, it must be proven that there was no prior cause for its existence. It is not a belief. If for example we discovered something we had claimed was a first cause, did in fact have a prior cause, we would have been mistaken in calling it a first cause.

    To know it is a first cause, we must prove that it is.
    — Philosophim
    Well, there's a scientific argument about that, so now the burden of proof is on you to prove that it isn't and to explain what would count as a proof.
    Ludwig V

    Sure. For something to be proven as a first cause, all other possible prior causality must be ruled out. One theory about the big bang is that prior to it, there existed the big crunch. Basically all matter was sucked into itself, then exploded out again. That possibility would need to be proven false to claim that the big bang was a first cause.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    If anything is possible, then could some things be more possible than another?
    — Philosophim

    Yes. You're invoking probability.
    ucarr

    No. That was the entire point. You even thumbed up Lucas's quote which agreed with mine.

    I realized I could imagine any situation with odds, and realize that all odds had the same chance of happening when anything can happen.
    — Philosophim

    I'll sound a note of doubt about this on the premise all odds on all things having equal chance of occurrence assumes unlimited time.
    ucarr

    Lets clarify a difference here. Given infinite time, all things that are possible WILL happen. That's not what I'm stating. I'm stating that there is no way to predict at any any particular moment in time if a first cause will incept, and what it will be.

    True randomness' is uncaused.
    — Philosophim

    This implies randomness can be contemporary with the first of all first causes, and thus prior to all first causes subsequent to the first of all first causes. The effect of randomness being uncaused is that there are no first causes.
    ucarr

    This implies no such thing. I've mentioned several times randomness is not a cause. Its a descriptor to understand the inception of first causes entails. I feel like we're back sliding here. :) Remember, nothing causes a first cause. If you think I'm saying anything prior causes a first cause, know that I am not.

    Also, if true randomness uncaused, as you claim, supports the prediction of certain outcomes, then it is -- your denials notwithstanding -- logical.ucarr

    Again, you're attributing randomness as some cause. Its not a cause. Its not a thing. Its a descriptor. Its a logical conclusion that we realize once we understand a first cause cannot be caused by anything prior.

    Firstly, when you're propounding your conclusion -- that first cause is possible and logically necessary -- you demand it be understood: unexplainable nothing must be accepted prima facie.ucarr

    I don't demand it be accepted prima facie. I have an argument that leads to a conclusion. Go find the summary if you need. If you want to critique the argument, critique the argument. Please don't throw accusations without addressing the argument.

    So far, your arguments beg the question: How is there not a chain of causation from nothing to something?ucarr

    There is no question begging. If we label an egg as "The first dinosaur egg", and it is true, can there be a dinosaur egg that exists prior to the first dinosaur egg? No. This is not begging the question, this is just a logical consequence of the term "first".

    If its true that something is a first cause in a causation chain, then no prior cause can come before it. Nothing does not cause something, because nothing is...nothing. Its just a state prior to the first causes inception.

    The point of disjunction happens when the causal chain reaches its last position prior to the location of first cause and the location of first cause.ucarr

    I don't understand this. Can you try a second pass on it?

    The gap stands between first cause on one side of the disjunction and second cause on the other side of the disjunction. First cause is not connected to the causal chain you claim it causes. The gap separating the leader from its followers is the gap between no-physics and physics.ucarr

    I don't understand this either. Use the example I gave earlier. A -> B -> C. A is the first cause in the causal chain. Everything flows after. What is lacking in this example?

    Since you're talking about first cause causing a causal chain following after it, you have to bridge across first cause to second cause that bridges across to third cause, etc.ucarr

    A first cause does not follow anything. Again, if you ever find yourself thinking, "This caused the first cause" stop. Nothing does. I don't imply anything ever does. Thinking that something can cause a first cause is a complete contradiction.

    For this reason, whenever you attempt to talk logically about first cause causing second cause and so on, you have to covertly bring in logical connectors linking first cause to second cause.ucarr

    How is A -> B -> C covert? I don't quite understand your point here.

    In your attempt to assert a no-logic realm as the start of a logical realm, you encounter the gnarly problem of explaining logically the non-logical inception of logic. Its easy to claim a no-logic realm causes a logic realm if you keep the two realms separated in a dualistic reality.ucarr

    There is no other realm ucarr. There is no "randomness" realm. There is no dualism. The conclusion that there is nothing to influence how, what, or when a first cause will incept is simply a logical conclusion we can reach once we realize there is no prior cause to it.

    Please try again ucarr. Stop putting something into nothing. :) There is no prior cause to a first cause.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, the air still vibrates with the fall. We don't need someone to hear the vibration of the air for the air to vibrate.Philosophim
    That's a very good example. "A cloud of philosophy condensed in a drop of grammar", as Wittgenstein would say. In this case, condensed in the definitions of two words - "sound" and "vibration".
    I'm sure you know that the decision to exclude sounds, colours, tastes, smells, etc from physics was taken in the 17th century (first by Boyle, I believe) on the grounds that they are not amenable to mathematical representation. At the time, it was probably a sensible decision. But it set up a philosophical conundrum that has lasted from that day to this with no solution in sight.
    So, you see, the conceptual framework that we apply to reality makes a difference to what reality we grasp. (I don't say it makes a difference to what is real. By definition, it doesn't.)
    You prioritize the framework of physics in your intellectual life, but in your everyday life you have no problem knowing where sounds are and often what makes them and no problem knowing what colour the table is (and when it seems to be a colour that it isn't "really"). Neither has priority. Both are useful.

    One theory about the big bang is that prior to it, there existed the big crunch.Philosophim
    I didn't know about that. I'm not surprised. I have never believed that the Big Bang was the end of the story. It doesn't make any difference to our problem, does it? But it does confirm my view that the first cause is a moving target, not a fixed point.

    No, a first cause is not an opinion. It is a truth. A first cause can have no prior cause for its existence. This is independent of whether we discover its existence or not.Philosophim
    Well, of course it is a truth. By definition. But you have also specified conditions for its discovery that seem to exclude the possibility of ever discovering it, except as a temporary phenomenon of whatever theory we devise.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    So, you see, the conceptual framework that we apply to reality makes a difference to what reality we grasp. (I don't say it makes a difference to what is real. By definition, it doesn't.)Ludwig V

    Right. I'm not claiming that whether we can identify a first cause or not, it would still exist.

    I didn't know about that. I'm not surprised. I have never believed that the Big Bang was the end of the story. It doesn't make any difference to our problem, does it? But it does confirm my view that the first cause is a moving target, not a fixed point.Ludwig V

    What we believe is a first cause is likely a moving target. If we can prove any one particular thing is a first cause, then it would be no more of a moving target than anything else we prove.

    Well, of course it is a truth. By definition. But you have also specified conditions for its discovery that seem to exclude the possibility of ever discovering it, except as a temporary phenomenon of whatever theory we devise.Ludwig V

    No, not a temporary phenomenon, but a hard proof. The bar to reach this is of course, extremely high. In many cases of first causes, its impossible to prove. I do not view this as a bad thing.

    I wonder if its been lost in the discussion, but I am not once claiming, "This X is a first cause." I'm just noting that it is logically necessary that at least one first cause exist.

    Here's the summary of the argument again. If we don't know whether our universe has finite or infinite chains of causality A -> B -> C etc...

    Lets say there's a finite chain of causality. What caused a finite causal chain to exist instead of something else? There is no prior reason, it simply is.

    Lets say there's an infinite chain of causality. What caused an infinite causal chain to exist instead of something else? There is no prior reason, it simply is.
  • Ludwig V
    663


    Yes. I don't think we'll really get anything out of going through all that again. Nor do I think we'll get further than our partial agreement. I'm just trying to articulate my own take on it.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    In thinking on causality, I have concluded that the nature of existence necessitates a "first cause". The definition and justification of this conclusion are written below. This may be a little abstract for some at first, so please ask questions if certain portions need some clarity. I welcome all criticism!Philosophim
    I've skimmed the thread, and most of it is over my little pointy head. But one sticking point seems to be confusing a logical First Cause (of some resulting chain of events) with an objective Thing or God operating in space-time. But your responses sound like what you have in mind is much more abstract & subjective, and more like a First Principle*1. That's simply a philosophical/mathematical concept, as contrasted with a physical/material object. And a mereological distinction is that the hypothetical Cause is not a part of the system of secondary causes & effects. The analogy I like to use is a pool-shooter, who stands outside the table and bouncing balls. :smile:

    *1. First Principle :
    In philosophy and science, a first principle is a basic proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. First principles in philosophy are from first cause attitudes and taught by Aristotelians, and nuanced versions of first principles are referred to as postulates by Kantians.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_principle
  • Philosophim
    2k
    My apologies for initially missing this Gnomon!

    But one sticking point seems to be confusing a logical First Cause (of some resulting chain of events) with an objective Thing or God operating in space-time.Gnomon

    Correct. People seem to think I'm using this to claim the existence of some specific first cause like the Big Bang, God, etc. I am not, and note that doing so would be an extremely difficult burden of proof.

    That's simply a philosophical/mathematical concept, as contrasted with a physical/material object.Gnomon

    Also correct!

    And a mereological distinction is that the hypothetical Cause is not a part of the system of secondary causes & effects. The analogy I like to use is a pool-shooter, who stands outside the table and bouncing balls. :smile:Gnomon

    I'm only going to tweak this a bit for clarification. You may not be implying this, I just want to be clear that a first cause as proven here is not outside of our universe, but a necessary existent within our universe. The balls on the pool table are not separate from the pool shooter. The entirety of the interaction is part of the universe.

    Finally, I think I did indeed deduce this from the propositions put forward here. So I wouldn't call it a first principle. Then again, I think everything needs to be deduced or proven in some way.
  • Gnomon
    3.5k
    I'm only going to tweak this a bit for clarification. You may not be implying this, I just want to be clear that a first cause as proven here is not outside of our universe, but a necessary existent within our universe. The balls on the pool table are not separate from the pool shooter. The entirety of the interaction is part of the universe.Philosophim
    My Poolshooter analogy was intended to illustrate that the Initial Cause was a separate sub-System outside the sub-system affected. Not necessarily outside of the known universe. Unless, there are no other (isolated) physical sub-systems, in which case the causal effects would apply to the whole universe, without exception. And the First Cause would have to be Meta-Physical (i.e. not subject to physical laws).

    So, if we are assuming that the chain of causation applies everywhere in the interconnected universe, then your immanent Cause could be its own Effect. For example the Cue ball is on the table, and can be impacted by the 8 ball. That's why my unique First Cause, or Causal Principle, is assumed to be off the table, outside the system affected.

    However, some have postulated that, in a Multiverse of multiple self-contained cause & effect systems, our local 'verse was impacted by another verse, causing the Effect we call the Big Bang. But of course, evidence for an eternal chain of 'verses is unavailable from inside our own system. So, I prefer not to specify where the imaginary Poolshooter is standing, and just call him an abstract-but-necessary Principle. :smile:
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