• wonderer1
    1.5k
    The supposed "heat death" is an interesting issue. The heat death is the result of entropy which is the natural effect of the passage of time. "Entropy" refers to energy which is unavailable to the system, but cannot be shown to have escaped the system. So by the rules of the conservation law, that energy must still be within the system somehow, only not available to the system.

    This leaves us with the question of, "what form could this energy have?". It is not "energy" as we know "energy", because "energy" is defined as the capacity to do work, and this energy is denied of that capacity. It is only "energy" because the law of conservation dictates that it must be conserved as "energy".
    Metaphysician Undercover

    Typically the form of energy, which shows up as entropic losses of a system, is in the form of heat. There is nothing all that mysterious about such heat energy. It simply becomes difficult to make any use of heat energy when all parts of a system are at nearly the same temperature.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Why do you say above statement is not knowledge of the identity of the first cause? I ask this question because you identify first cause as what acts without limitation in causing the inception of creation.ucarr

    No, I did not claim a first cause is the inception of all creation. A first cause is the inception of a causality chain. The entirety of our universe may very well be explained by several first causes over time culminating in today. A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything. I just noted that there is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause. But once its incepted, it is what it is, which is possibly limited.

    If first cause proceeds without limitation, why do you imply that first cause, acting to cause hydrogen atom, must follow limits that humans use to make sense of the world?ucarr

    To clarify, it is not that humans determine limitations on what can be, it is that identities are imposed limitations on what we call certain things. We do not call an elephant a human for example. Of course, someone could say, "What if a human formed that looked, behaved, and acted exactly as an elephant?"
    I would simply say, "That's just an elephant".

    To your point about a hydrogen atom, we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo. Now, could someone say, "That is really similar to a hydrogen atom and it creates other existences besides itself". Sure. But its not a hydrogen atom as we currently define it, because hydrogen atoms cannot do that. Do you understand that this is mostly a semantics argument? What we call or identify as something does not limit what can be. But definitions limit us to looking at a narrow band of existence and saying, "That existence is the identity we call 'a hydrogen atom'"

    Another thing to understand is that because all things are possible as first causes, its equally possible a hydrogen atom, as we identify it, just forms and exists as normal. There is not the need for anything out there, just as there is not the denial that anything out there is possible. While anything could have been possible, (and would still be as a first cause could happen at any time) what first causes actually happen are part of causality, and discoverable by working up the causal chain. So, if the big bang were a first cause for example, we could work up the chain of causality to find and prove that it is not possible that there was anything prior that caused the big bang.

    You imply that first cause must act logically. Why do you not think that's a limitation upon the actions of first cause? Why do you not think implying first cause must act rationally is not a case of you projecting your logical thinking onto first cause?ucarr

    Because a first cause must act causally. A first cause has no prior cause for existence correct? Which means that a first cause cannot cause another first cause. It causes what it does, therefore what and how it causes something is rational. Only the inception of a first cause, and what it would be, is something which cannot be predicted with certainty.

    Even if you're not talking about cosmic first cause and instead are talking about one of the subsequent first causes, why must cosmic cause acting without limitation incept a subsequent causality that resembles human logical thinking.ucarr

    To detail into this, lets say a hydrogen atom appears as a first cause and causes another hydrogen atom. Whether we observe this or not is irrelevant, it is the reality of the situation. To cause something means there is some rule that indicates why the thing caused happened. Meaning, causal logic will always be in play.

    If a hydrogen atom appears as a first cause then a helium atom appears as a first cause, the hydrogen atom did not cause the helium atom to appear. So you see, it is impossible for something which causes another to be free of causal logic. The first cause is not free of causal logic either, it is the start.

    The following is my paraphrase of something you said earlier: A cause that's the first of all first causes doesn't prohibit subsequent non-cosmic first causes for other things.

    If this is so, then our universe can be filled with a vast number of non-cosmic first causes.
    ucarr

    Correct, that's one possibility if we don't yet know the reality.

    This is similar to saying, "there's a reason for everything that happens." This is a trivial truth agreed upon by the multitudes. "Everything is everything (for a reason)."ucarr

    I don't see that. I think there's a difference between saying, "There's a reason for everything" and then spelling out what that reason is or how it must unfold.

    Why do you not think a universe filled with first causes is a conception of the universe that explodes the following conservation law: matter_mass_energy are neither created nor destroyed.ucarr

    Because that's a law based on what we've observed with the matter that we've seen so far. Its been necessary to do physics. I would say that as an empirical law, this is true. As a logical law, this is not.

    If non-cosmic first causes can pop material objects into the universe from nothing, then the total volume of the mass_matter_energy of the universe is constantly fluctuating instead of remaining constant through conservation.ucarr

    True. We are just assuming its remained constant. This logically is not necessarily the case.

    If you say incept of every new first cause disappears an earlier, established first cause, the problem is solved.ucarr

    No, I'm not saying that. Its possible that some first causes incept then vanish. Its possible that there are first causes that could exist for trillions of years. I'm only asserting that its possible that first causes happened over the time of the universe's inception, and still today. It doesn't mean they did or will, its just possible if we don't know about them
    Does this hold true for the cosmic first cause, with cosmic first cause = the first of the first causes?ucarr

    Yes. If it is the case that there was a 'first' first cause, it may have only existed for a short period of time then vanished. So prior to our universe, there could have been many first causes that blipped in and out of existence making a much more limited impact (or greater!) impact then our own.

    Some characterize axioms as self-evident truths.ucarr

    I do not believe in self-evident truth. Truth is what is. Knowledge is our best logical attempt at capturing what truth is. There is knowledge that is clearly sound, and knowledge that is questionable and likely built on some inductions.

    This characterization is a preface to saying the assumption upon which we're building our working premise lies beyond the reach of experimentation, observation, collection of data, compiling of data statistics, analysis of data and building logical arguments supported by data.ucarr

    I believe some of the things about first causes are beyond experimentation or observation. Since we cannot predict the inception of a first cause, we cannot predict when one will happen. We could, if the first cause were very specific, trace back through causality and arrive at a point in which 'this X' must necessarily have been a first cause. But this must be proven, which means all other potential causes of 'X's inception must be ruled out.

    I hope this answers your questions!
  • Philosophim
    2k
    It seems to me that you can prove that these are the only 3 options, if you assume that logic is linear. Either causality is a ray (it has a beginning), or a line (it goes to infinity in both directions). If you admit the possibility of noneuclidean geometry, then the line could loop back into itself or cross itself (time travel). Actually, I just realized that there are 2 more options: there could be something without causality (a point), or nothing at all. But these other two options are not consistent with our sensory experience.Brendan Golledge

    True. And I never make a claim that my point is empirically proven, its only logic.

    I find it useful, therefore, to assume that there is a first cause, which would be consistent with a creator God, because then I can start to imagine what the purpose of the universe is. I don't see a way forward (with respect to having a moral foundation) if the causality of the universe is infinite.Brendan Golledge

    I have another thread where I'm exploring an objective morality with another fantastic poster, Bob Ross. Its evolved and become more clear than my initial post, but perhaps it might interest you to check it out. Long story short, existence is what is good, and ensuring the most realized and potential existence is what is best. https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/14834/a-measurable-morality/p1
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    A first cause is the inception of a causality chain.Philosophim

    Do you accept the following argument: Since by definition a first cause can't have any derivative first causes, each first cause is a discrete causality chain, and therefore the universe is coming into existence sequentially in time, and thus the big bang and its inception of the entire universe in an instant is wrong.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    I'm not sure it makes any difference, but I think you have left out two options. I think the options are:-
    1. A beginning, but no end (your ray).
    2. An end, but no beginning.
    3. No beginning and no end (your line).
    etc.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    Do you accept the following argument: Since by definition a first cause can't have any derivative first causes, each first cause is a discrete causality chain, and therefore the universe is coming into existence sequentially in time, and thus the big bang and its inception of the entire universe in an instant is wrong.ucarr

    This is really close. Let me break it down to be sure.

    "Do you accept the following argument: Since by definition a first cause can't have any derivative first causes"

    Yes, agreed.

    "Each first cause is a discrete causality chain"

    Results in a discrete causality chain that can intersect with other discrete causality chains, yes.

    "therefore the universe is coming into existence sequentially in time"

    Yes. Just to make sure, this does not preclude other first causes appearing during this time.

    " and thus the big bang and its inception of the entire universe in an instant is wrong."

    No, I want to clearly state that I am not stating "X is an actual first cause". We don't know how many first causes have happened since the big bang. We're not even sure if the big bang itself is a first cause. All we can logically conclude that there must be at least one, and its equally as probable that there could be more than one.

    But to see if I can tackle another idea I see you might be conveying, lets say the big bang was the only first cause. The first cause is the bang. Everything that happens immediately after that is caused by the bang. If no other first causes appeared and had causal associations with what appeared from the big bang, then there would only be one first cause of our universe, the big bang. That of course must be proven.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    I think its clear that we've both said our piece at this point and no further value can be added to the discussion. I think its fair to say we agree to disagree. Catch you in another thread.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    The entirety of our universe may very well be explained by several first causes over time culminating in today.Philosophim

    So, the universe is still growing?

    A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything.Philosophim

    So, a first cause may not trigger a causal chain? Should it instead be called a birth? You imply it's logically possible for the universe to continue growing for a period of time so far unspecified?

    I just noted that there is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause.Philosophim

    But once its incepted, it is what it is, which is possibly limited.Philosophim

    Do you agree you imply a first cause is the means of its own inception? If you agree with this, do you acknowledge you also imply anything is possible? Do you acknowledge all possible inceptions implies contradictory inceptions can coexist, and thus the universe allows existence of paradoxes?

    ...it is that identities are imposed limitationsPhilosophim

    I just noted that there is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause. But once its incepted, it is what it is, which is possibly limited.Philosophim

    These two claims, taken to together, suggest first causes, if self-actualized, impose identities upon themselves. Do you agree this implies the universe comes into being as self-will unlimited?

    Do you agree that if the means of an unprecedented inception is separate from the thing incepted, then the latter is not a first cause? Do you agree that, moreover, in this situation, the means of an unprecedented inception is an immaterial and all-powerful will to create, i.e., a deity?

    I just noted that there is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause.Philosophim

    ...we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo.Philosophim

    How do you explain the above two quotes as non-contradictory?

    How do you explain the last of the two above quotes as being a negation of the central tenet of your thesis: There is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause. Specifically, how do you explain the coming into being of a first cause if not ex nihilo?

    "That is really similar to a hydrogen atom and it creates other existences besides itself". Sure. But its not a hydrogen atom as we currently define it, because hydrogen atoms cannot do that.Philosophim

    Explain how the above is not weakened by the existence of water, as well as the other organic compounds containing hydrogen?

    ...because all things are possible as first causes, its equally possible a hydrogen atom, as we identify it, just forms and exists as normal. There is not the need for anything out there...Philosophim

    Do you agree the above is evidence you think first causes self-caused?

    ...While anything could have been possible, (and would still be as a first cause could happen at any time)...Philosophim

    Do you agree the above is evidence you think the universe allows paradoxes? Do you agree, moreover, that a universe continually growing with new first causes can eventually become filled with paradoxes?

    a first cause must act causallyPhilosophim

    Do you agree the above contradicts:
    A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything.Philosophim

    Do you agree that:
    ...because all things are possible as first causes, its equally possible a hydrogen atom, as we identify it, just forms and exists as normal. There is not the need for anything out there...Philosophim

    And

    I think there's a difference between saying, "There's a reason for everything" and then spelling out what that reason is or how it must unfold.Philosophim

    do not connect because the former does not spell out what the reason is or how first causes unfold? Do you see that, instead, it's presented as a axiom from which your thesis proceeds. As such, it says in effect, eventually everything will be everything because things, like hydrogen, simply are. Do you see that this -- the core of your thesis -- precludes scientific investigation?

    I do not believe in self-evident truth. Truth is what is.Philosophim

    Do you see that in the above quote, immediately following your claim to dis-believe self-evident truths, you support this claim with a self-evident truth: "truth is what it is"?

    I believe some of the things about first causes are beyond experimentation or observationPhilosophim

    Do you see that you, like scientists, sometimes take recourse to things beyond science in order to begin doing science (or philosophy). Science and philosophy are systemically dependent upon axioms.

    Do you accept that some major implications of your thesis include:

    a) the universe allows paradoxes; b) the conservation law re: matter-mass-energy, instead of actually being a law, is merely a plank within a working hypothesis still liable to refutation; c) the universe, because it continues to incept new matter-mass-energy into itself, exists as an open system.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    So, the universe is still growing?ucarr

    I'm not sure what you mean. Does time continue? Yes. Is it necessarily the case that more first causes will happen? No. Is it necessarily the case that first causes won't happen? No.

    So, a first cause may not trigger a causal chain? Should it instead be called a birth?ucarr

    It will always be part of a causal chain the moment after it exists. Just thing of time. At any moment in time, there is something prior that exists within the causal chain of the first cause up to the first cause itself.

    do you acknowledge you also imply anything is possible?ucarr

    I imply that any first cause is plausible. It doesn't mean that any one specific first cause can imagine has actually happened or will actually happen. To specifically state, "This first cause must have happened" requires us to prove it exists/existed.

    Do you acknowledge all possible inceptions implies contradictory inceptions can coexist, and thus the universe allows existence of paradoxes?ucarr

    Lets carefully define what we mean by a contradiction. A contradiction is often defined as "Two things that cannot coexist". So can two things that cannot coexist co-exist? No. Because that's what they are. Would there be things that might seem contrary to us? Yes. But if they both co-exist, they are not contradictions.

    If you mean two things that cancel each other out, sure. Matter and anti-matter for example.

    These two claims, taken to together, suggest first causes, if self-actualized, impose identities upon themselves. Do you agree this implies the universe comes into being as self-will unlimited?ucarr

    No. There is no prior imposition. Its just existence. Does an atom will itself to exist? It is by the forces outside of its control. A first cause does not need to have any imposition, consciousness, or awareness of itself. It simply is. Could a first cause come about that had what you note? Yes. But that is only one possibility, it is not necessary.

    "That is really similar to a hydrogen atom and it creates other existences besides itself". Sure. But its not a hydrogen atom as we currently define it, because hydrogen atoms cannot do that.
    — Philosophim

    Explain how the above is not weakened by the existence of water, as well as the other organic compounds containing hydrogen?
    ucarr

    Because part of the definition of a hydrogen atom is that it can merge with 2 oxygen to create water. This is a set rule. That is part of how we identify a hydrogen atom. If a helium atom joined with two oxygen, it won't make water. That's part of its defined identity by us. If we did not discriminate between a helium and hydrogen atom in our definitions, and called them both a hydrelium atom, we could say such an atom could either become water or not when combined with 2 oxygen. It is our naming that determines how we categorize things, but the reality of what a thing is does not care what we call it.

    I just noted that there is no limitation on what could incept as a first cause.
    — Philosophim

    ...we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo.
    — Philosophim

    How do you explain the above two quotes as non-contradictory?
    ucarr

    I'm going to repost a quote from a few replies back:

    Even if you're not talking about cosmic first cause and instead are talking about one of the subsequent first causes, why must cosmic cause acting without limitation incept a subsequent causality that resembles human logical thinking.
    — ucarr

    To detail into this, lets say a hydrogen atom appears as a first cause and causes another hydrogen atom. Whether we observe this or not is irrelevant, it is the reality of the situation. To cause something means there is some rule that indicates why the thing caused happened. Meaning, causal logic will always be in play.

    If a hydrogen atom appears as a first cause then a helium atom appears as a first cause, the hydrogen atom did not cause the helium atom to appear. So you see, it is impossible for something which causes another to be free of causal logic. The first cause is not free of causal logic either, it is the start.
    Philosophim

    To state something arises 'ex nihilo' is to state it arises without prior cause. If a first cause, causes something else to appear it does not appear 'ex nihilo'. It arises due to the first cause, and not simply from nothing.

    a first cause must act causally
    — Philosophim

    Do you agree the above contradicts:
    A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything.
    — Philosophim

    I think there's a difference between saying, "There's a reason for everything" and then spelling out what that reason is or how it must unfold.
    — Philosophim
    ucarr

    No, can you add a little more to what you mean here?

    Do you agree that:
    ...because all things are possible as first causes, its equally possible a hydrogen atom, as we identify it, just forms and exists as normal. There is not the need for anything out there...
    — Philosophim

    does not spell out what the reason is or how first causes unfold? Do you see that, instead, it's presented as a axiom from which your thesis proceeds. As such, it says in effect, eventually everything will be everything because things, like hydrogen, simply are.
    ucarr

    No, I don't see that conclusion at all. First causes have no prior cause for their existence, yet what they cause can be traced back to that first cause. There is great meaning in cause, which we use today. None of what I'm stating invalidates the scientific method.

    Do you see that this -- the core of your thesis -- precludes scientific investigation?ucarr

    No. I believe it may be possible in some instances for us to find a first cause scientifically. The bar for doing so of course is very high, and may be impossible in some situations. I also believe the consideration of first causes as a plausibility should be something to think about. But at the end of the day because the bar is so high, we keep looking for prior causes first.

    I do not believe in self-evident truth. Truth is what is.
    — Philosophim

    Do you see that in the above quote, immediately following your claim to dis-believe self-evident truths, you support this claim with a self-evident truth: "truth is what it is"?
    ucarr

    Let me clarify. "Self-evident" means "human's can grasp them without needing to prove them". I do not believe in that. I believe in knowledge as the best logical means we have to make claims about reality that are not contradicted by the truth in our use. Truth exists despite what we conclude or think. If you've read my knowledge paper I linked you in another thread, you'll know what I mean.

    As for axioms, I believe axioms must be proven, not 'given'. An axiom should be extremely easy to prove, and generally is something that no one has ever been able to demonstrate as false.

    Do you accept that some major implications of your thesis include:

    a) the universe allows paradoxes
    ucarr

    No, as covered above.

    b) the conservation law re: matter-mass-energy, instead of actually being a law, is merely a plank within a working hypothesis still liable to refutationucarr

    Yes, but all laws exist this way. Laws are generally so time tested and above reproach that we do not need to call them theories anymore. However, no law is immutable.

    c) the universe, because it continues to incept new matter-mass-energy into itself, exists as an open system.ucarr

    No. I've said this several times now and its very important that you understand this. I am not saying, "X first cause happened, will happen, or has happened". Its possible, but it must be proven. It is equally as possible that no other first causes have happened, or will happen. You cannot predict if a first cause will happen. You must conclusively prove that a specific first cause has happened to say it has.

    Let me sum it as simple as possible: "All possibilities does not mean any one thing happened or will happen". The only way to see what happened is to prove it. The only way to see what will happen is to live through it. I make no claims that any one particular first cause happened, only that its logically necessary that there must have been at least one.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    At any moment in time, there is something prior that exists within the causal chain of the first cause up to the first cause itself.Philosophim

    With this claim how are you not deconstructing the central premise of your thesis?

    To specifically state, "This first cause must have happened" requires us to prove it exists/existed.Philosophim

    Are you saying knowledge of a first cause can only be empirical, not a priori? So, this gives your claim the status of a proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of truth?

    Lets carefully define what we mean by a contradiction. A contradiction is often defined as "Two things that cannot coexist". So can two things that cannot coexist co-exist? No. Because that's what they are. Would there be things that might seem contrary to us? Yes. But if they both co-exist, they are not contradictions.Philosophim

    This is correct reasoning, but it suggests your claim needs to be altered to: Any logical first cause is possible. Again, this adds nothing to the database of established knowledge.

    A first cause does not need to have any imposition, consciousness, or awareness of itself. It simply is.Philosophim

    Again, this is either self-causation or eternal existence without creation.

    ...its not a hydrogen atom as we currently define it, because hydrogen atoms cannot do that.ucarr

    Re: a hydrogen atom creating existences other than itself: it's not creation absolute, but hydrogen plays an essential role in causing the existence of many compounds. Chemistry tells us elementary particles, like stem cells, can be re-purposed across the spectrum of the periodic chart. So, nitrogen -- even as a first cause -- is not really a unique thing. That's because nitrogen, which has, like hydrogen, neutrons, protons and electrons, consists of types of stuff already extant. As a birth, its a new arrangement of familiar stuff.

    .we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo.ucarr

    You're not talking about causation of something within an established causal chain, such as our sun assembling hydrogen atoms within its elements-generating furnace. If you were, you wouldn't have used the verb: create.

    The first cause is not free of causal logic either, it is the start.Philosophim

    This is more evidence you imply first causes are self-caused.

    ...a first cause must act causallyPhilosophim

    Do you agree the above contradicts:
    A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything.
    Philosophim

    No, can you add a little more to what you mean here?Philosophim

    You've saying a cause, first or otherwise, must act causally. So why do you also say (per the above quote) that it isn't necessary that a cause be able to to anything, which is a way of saying it's not compelled to act causally. Do you mean if it acts, it must act causally? If so, can you call something a first cause if it does nothing?

    I think there's a difference between saying, "There's a reason for everything" and then spelling out what that reason is or how it must unfold.Philosophim

    Do you agree that:
    ...because all things are possible as first causes, its equally possible a hydrogen atom, as we identify it, just forms and exists as normal. There is not the need for anything out there...
    ucarr

    None of what I'm stating invalidates the scientific method.Philosophim

    As I understand you, your main claim is that first causes can happen sequentially in time. When describing these phenomena, you say vague things such as: a hydrogen atom forms ex nihilo, or you say even vaguer things such as: a hydrogen atom as first cause simply is, or There is no prior imposition. Its just existence. Does an atom will itself to exist? It is by the forces outside of its control. This is axiomatic jargon, not science. An example of scientific support for your argument might be something along the lines of saying: Because our phenomenal universe is open, it can continually increase its total volume of matter-mass-energy by absorbing such from other universes populating the multi-verse. Moreover, we know this because by calculating the total volume of dark matter within our universe at distant points in time from its inception to the present day, we see the total volume of dark matter steadily increasing.

    I believe it may be possible in some instances for us to find a first cause scientifically.Philosophim

    Can you elaborate some specific details pertaining to how cosmologists can go about finding a first cause?

    "Self-evident" means "human's can grasp them without needing to prove them". I do not believe in that.Philosophim

    Can you provide a proof for:
    truth is what it isPhilosophim

    As for axioms, I believe axioms must be proven, not 'given'.Philosophim

    You should consult your dictionary, unless you want to start a conversation explaining how you're redefining "axiom."

    c) the universe, because it continues to incept new matter-mass-energy into itself, exists as an open system.ucarr

    No. I've said this several times now and its very important that you understand this. I am not saying, "X first cause happened, will happen, or has happened". Its possible, but it must be proven. It is equally as possible that no other first causes have happened, or will happen. You cannot predict if a first cause will happen. You must conclusively prove that a specific first cause has happened to say it has.Philosophim

    I make no claims that any one particular first cause happened, only that its logically necessary that there must have been at least one.Philosophim

    Since you think first causes are logically necessary, why do you say they're possible instead of saying they're necessary? Consider this tautology: all bachelors are unmarried men. Can you describe a set in which first causes are necessary members by definition?
  • jgill
    3.5k
    I'm not sure it makes any difference, but I think you have left out two options. I think the options are:-
    1. A beginning, but no end (your ray).
    2. An end, but no beginning.
    3. No beginning and no end (your line).
    etc.
    Ludwig V

    I tried dealing with 1. and 2. earlier, in mathematical analogues, but there was no interest. I could easily deal with 3. as well, but that takes the thread away from the spectacular leap from a first cause being something imaginable to an existential realm.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    At any moment in time, there is something prior that exists within the causal chain of the first cause up to the first cause itself.
    — Philosophim

    With this claim how are you not deconstructing the central premise of your thesis?
    ucarr

    A causes B causes C is a causal chain. Every point within that chain has a prior point except the first cause.

    To specifically state, "This first cause must have happened" requires us to prove it exists/existed.
    — Philosophim

    Are you saying knowledge of a first cause can only be empirical, not a priori? So, this gives your claim the status of a proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of truth?
    ucarr

    The logical conclusion is that there must be at least one first cause. But if I'm going to claim, "This X is a first cause", it must be proven empirically, or with unwavering evidence. Meaning if I claimed "This atom is a first cause", I would need to prove it.

    This is correct reasoning, but it suggests your claim needs to be altered to: Any logical first cause is possibleucarr

    A fine suggestion, but I'm not going to change it to that because I don't think its necessary and it would confuse other people. Sometimes you can't win with phrasing alone, you just have to walk through what things mean.

    A first cause does not need to have any imposition, consciousness, or awareness of itself. It simply is.
    — Philosophim

    Again, this is either self-causation or eternal existence without creation.
    ucarr

    I don't use the term self-causation because that can convey the intent that the first cause actively caused itself. That's not what I'm saying here. Second, a first cause does not need to be eternal. As I mentioned before, a first cause could appear and dissipate later. Its best to keep it simple. It just is. It exists without prior cause.

    .we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo.
    — ucarr

    You're not talking about causation of something within an established causal chain, such as our sun assembling hydrogen atoms within its elements-generating furnace. If you were, you wouldn't have used the verb: create.
    ucarr

    I am talking about causation of something within an established causal chain. If I recall you were using the word create, so I followed suit. Creation is one form of causation. Just use causation if you don't like creation.

    The first cause is not free of causal logic either, it is the start.
    — Philosophim

    This is more evidence you imply first causes are self-caused.
    ucarr

    Again, this is not what is intended. A first cause does not cause itself. A first cause is not caused by anything. Its just there. Its extremely simple, don't overcomplicate it by adding in the term 'self'. :)

    A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything.
    — Philosophim

    No, can you add a little more to what you mean here?
    — Philosophim

    You've saying a cause, first or otherwise, must act causally. So why do you also say (per the above quote) that it isn't necessary that a cause be able to to anything, which is a way of saying it's not compelled to act causally.
    ucarr

    Ucarr, you keep pulling this sentence out of context. Let me clarify the context so you understand what this is referring to.

    You said: "Why do you say above statement is not knowledge of the identity of the first cause? I ask this question because you identify first cause as what acts without limitation in causing the inception of creation."

    You were implying that a first cause had to be the inception of all creation. You were implying to me that it had to be a particular way.

    I replied with:
    "No, I did not claim a first cause is the inception of all creation. A first cause is the inception of a causality chain. The entirety of our universe may very well be explained by several first causes over time culminating in today. A first cause does not necessitate that it be able to do anything."

    The "anything" just meant that it did not have to be anything in particular like the inception of all creation.

    So no, I'm not saying that its not compelled to act causally or anything else outside of the context of the above subject.

    When describing these phenomena, you say vague things such as: a hydrogen atom forms ex nihilo, or you say even vaguer things such as: a hydrogen atom as first cause simply is, or There is no prior imposition.ucarr

    This is not vague. This is what it is. Nothing then something. There's nothing else. Vagueness would assume I'm implying something else right? I'm not.

    Does an atom will itself to exist? It is by the forces outside of its control.ucarr

    No. No will. No self. No other. Nothing then something. That's it.

    This is axiomatic jargon, not science.ucarr

    This is a logical conclusion, not jargon. Jargon would imply I'm just throwing words together without thought care, or definitions. There may be a little language barrier between us that we're working out Ucarr, so don't get frustrated yet. :)

    Its also never purported to be science. Its logically necessary there be at least one first cause. I'm not claiming any empirical fact of "X (Insert whatever variable you want) is the/a first cause". I'm not saying the big bang is or isn't a first cause for example. I'm just noting what a first cause is, that one is logically necessary, and what we can conclude from that being true.

    I believe it may be possible in some instances for us to find a first cause scientifically.
    — Philosophim

    Can you elaborate some specific details pertaining to how cosmologists can go about finding a first cause?
    ucarr

    Certainly.

    1. All forms of prior causality must be ruled out. This is extremely demanding.
    2. To rule out all forms of prior causality, all prior events to the first cause should indicate that X should not happen, and yet it does.

    Can you provide a proof for:
    truth is what it is
    — Philosophim
    ucarr

    Sure. A man believes to the point that he knows he can fly if he jumps off a 50 story building. He jumps. The truth is, he cannot. To not detract from what we're doing here however, you may want to visit my other work on knowledge. https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/14044/knowledge-and-induction-within-your-self-context/p1

    As for axioms, I believe axioms must be proven, not 'given'.
    — Philosophim

    You should consult your dictionary, unless you want to start a conversation explaining how you're redefining "axiom."
    ucarr

    I did not introduce the word axiom in the discussion. You brought it up and I was just noting I believe that nothing is self-evident but must be worked through. I'm not sure this line of thinking is anything more important than an aside, though, so may be an irrelevant to the scope of the discussion.

    Since you think first causes are logically necessary, why do you say they're possible instead of saying they're necessary?ucarr

    No, I think it is necessary there is at least one first cause. Its possible that there are more. I think your confusion is you think I'm ascribing something like a self, or a will, or something else that causes the first cause to first be. There is nothing prior. Without any prior cause for a first cause to exist, there can be no predetermination or influence. It is the definition of real chaos. Not limited randomness. Absolute, unpredictable, anything goes randomness.

    To clarify, "randomness" is just a mathematical approach we take when we are limited in our ability to measure or observe all the causes that go into an outcome until after the outcome is finished. A die roll is not 'truly random'. It has sides and obeys the physics and forces upon it. If we could dissect and observe every bit of force that would impact the object ahead of time, we would always know the outcome of the die. We say "1 in six" chance of any side popping up only because we can't know ahead of time what will pop up. But its all causal.

    True randomness has nothing to measure. There are no prior constraints. There's no set up. There's nothing, then something. That's a first cause. Completely unpredictable and unlimited as what it could be before it happens.
  • Philosophim
    2k
    I could easily deal with 3. as well, but that takes the thread away from the spectacular leap from a first cause being something imaginable to an existential realm.jgill

    Does it? What caused 3? What caused the line to be drawn that particular way instead of any other way? And if there is nothing that caused it to be drawn that particular way, then what prevents another line from being drawn a different way?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.3k
    I tried dealing with 1. and 2. earlier, in mathematical analogues, but there was no interest. I could easily deal with 3. as well, but that takes the thread away from the spectacular leap from a first cause being something imaginable to an existential realm.jgill

    I dealt with the existential realm, but there was no interest in that either. So where does that leave us?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    ...there is something prior that exists within the causal chain of the first cause up to the first cause itself.ucarr

    Okay, for the record, this isn't you intending to say something exists prior to the first cause? Can you restate your intended meaning; I don't know how to read your above quote except as you saying something exists prior to the first cause.

    A causes B causes C is a causal chain. Every point within that chain has a prior point except the first cause.Philosophim

    I don't know how to read this except as a contradiction to the statement I addressed directly above.

    The logical conclusion is that there must be at least one first cause.Philosophim

    How can you justify logically the existence of a first cause that simply is? This statement tries to make explicit that nothing causal or sequential is involved in the appearance of a first cause, but logic is specifically concerned with justifiable connections linking things together.

    I don't use the term self-causation because that can convey the intent that the first cause actively caused itself. That's not what I'm saying here.Philosophim

    I think you imply self-causation in the case of a first cause. Since, by definition, nothing causal leads to a first cause, it follows implicitly that a first cause, if not eternal and uncaused, causes the inception of itself. What else could be the agency of the inception of a first cause if not itself?

    ...we do not identify a hydrogen atom as being able to create ex nihilo.Philosophim

    What about a first-cause hydrogen atom? Doesn't it have to incept ex nihilo? Let me repeat my earlier question in a different way: Doesn't every first-cause entity have to self-incept ex nihilo? If not by self-inception, how do first-cause entities incept? Perhaps you'll say: "We don't know." If you play that card, then you have to stop saying first causes are logically necessary. How can you claim to know the logical necessity of existence of an entity whose agency of existence is totally mysterious?

    Again, this is not what is intended. A first cause does not cause itself. A first cause is not caused by anything. Its just there. Its extremely simple, don't overcomplicate it by adding in the term 'self'. :)Philosophim

    Firstly, what you write -- regardless of the intentions in your head -- controls the content of your communication.

    Secondly, from the limitations you impose: a) not self-caused; b) not caused by anything else; c) possibly extant, it follows logically that your first-cause entities, if they exist, have always existed. Given your limitations, can you name any other possibilities?

    Let's look at your first-cause entities from a slightly different angle: with your description, they're not eternal, and thus they must begin. If there's a point where something doesn't exist, and then a later point when it does exist, its logically necessary that this something began to exist by some means. How else can we understand the transition from nothing to something? If you say first-cause entities have no causation whatsoever, and yet are not eternal, then you're positing a universe wherein science is not possible. We both know that's not our universe. So, it follows that your thesis is inconsistent with the universe we know. Moreover, your two limitations -- a) not caused; b) not eternal -- are inconsistent with each other. Finally, by the two previous arguments, first cause as you define it is self-contradictory: not caused means no beginning; no beginning but not always existing means not beginning to exist, so existing means not not beginning to exist, which means not not caused...


    No will. No self. No other. Nothing then something. That's it.Philosophim

    There is nothing prior.Philosophim

    anything goes randomnessPhilosophim

    True randomness has nothing to measure. There are no prior constraints. There's no set up. There's nothing, then something. That's a first cause. Completely unpredictable and unlimited as what it could be before it happens.Philosophim

    Why is true randomness -- completely unpredictable and unlimited, but active -- not the cause of what you call first cause? But it is: something, then nothing.

    How is true randomness intelligible as a named activity if its nothing? Nothing cannot have a name.

    How can what you call first cause be the resultant of intelligible activity if there's no causation? There's nothing to look at but the ultimate pretense of looking at.

    How can you detect and measure levels of unpredictability and freedom from limitation with nothing unpredictable and unlimited? Rohrschach Test.

    How can you perceive nothing then something with nothing temporal or existential or directional? If time is not essential then: Nothing then something is the cheating liar homunculus in the randomness.

    Since every link in a causal chain is sourced in nothing, there's ultimately no distinction between first cause and links in a causal chain. The artificial partitioning into a causal chain is the abyss calling the nothing by a name unhearable.

    There are no constraints in nothing, so constraint and causality cannot erase the signature of nothing stamped upon them.

    Randomness won't countenance links in a causal chain, so talk of links in causal chains is distraction which cannot distract from Wittegenstein's silence.
  • jgill
    3.5k
    I missed option 2Brendan Golledge

    ,
  • Philosophim
    2k
    ...there is something prior that exists within the causal chain of the first cause up to the first cause itself.
    — ucarr

    Okay, for the record, this isn't you intending to say something exists prior to the first cause? Can you restate your intended meaning; I don't know how to read your above quote except as you saying something exists prior to the first cause.
    ucarr

    Ucarr, the context of the statement is implying the first cause of that specific chain. Not the 'first' first cause ever. Let me be clear and unambiguous. A first cause cannot be caused by something prior. So if you ever think I'm saying that, know that I'm not and you've misread the intent.

    A causes B causes C is a causal chain. Every point within that chain has a prior point except the first cause.
    — Philosophim

    I don't know how to read this except as a contradiction to the statement I addressed directly above.
    ucarr

    If the start of a causal chain is a first cause A, the following results are caused by the previous set of existence. Potentially we could have many first causes, chain 1, 2, 3, etc. and they would all follow this pattern.

    The logical conclusion is that there must be at least one first cause.
    — Philosophim

    How can you justify logically the existence of a first cause that simply is?
    ucarr

    That's the entire point of the post. :D I thought you assumed the logic leading to this conclusion was correct, then asking about the consequences of it. I'll summarize it 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.

    It is impossible for there to not be at least one first cause. Therefore we know that first causes are possible, and have no reason for their existence besides the fact they exist.

    I think you imply self-causation in the case of a first cause. Since, by definition, nothing causal leads to a first cause, it follows implicitly that a first cause, if not eternal and uncaused, causes the inception of itself.ucarr

    This may just be a language issue. There is no prior or external cause. Typically saying, "self-cause" implies that there is first a self, then a cause. That's not what I'm intending. There is no conscious or outside intent. It just is. That is the answer. Nothing more.

    What about a first-cause hydrogen atom? Doesn't it have to incept ex nihilo?ucarr

    Yes.

    Let me repeat my earlier question in a different way: Doesn't every first-cause entity have to self-incept ex nihilo?ucarr

    Yes.

    a) not self-caused; b) not caused by anything else; c) possibly extant, it follows logically that your first-cause entities, if they exist, have always existed.ucarr

    It is possible that a first cause has always existed, yes.

    Given your limitations, can you name any other possibilities?ucarr

    Yes. A first cause may have existed for five minutes and vanished, however its causal influence persists to today. Perhaps a first cause appeared as a big bang, and the result is a universe. Perhaps a first cause will appear for a nanosecond then disappear. There are no limitations.

    Let's look at your first-cause entities from a slightly different angle: with your description, they're not eternal, and thus they must begin.ucarr

    No. They can be eternal. Nothing external caused their existence.

    If there's a point where something doesn't exist, and then a later point when it does exist, its logically necessary that this something began to exist by some means. How else can we understand the transition from nothing to something?ucarr

    Its illogical to claim that something which has nothing prior that caused its existence, has nothing prior that caused its existence. Only the minds rebellion based on previous experience thinks otherwise. You understand the transition because it happened. That's it. That's the start of causality and the end of our questions up the causal chain.

    If you say first-cause entities have no causation whatsoever, and yet are not eternal, then you're positing a universe wherein science is not possible.ucarr

    Incorrect. We just have to keep open that possibility that a first cause could happen. As I've mentioned, proving that any particular one thing is a first cause is a very high bar to reach. As soon as one proven element of external causality comes into play, what we're looking at can't be a first cause.

    We both know that's not our universe.ucarr

    No we don't.

    Finally, by the two previous arguments, first cause as you define it is self-contradictory: not caused means no beginning; no beginning but not always existing means not beginning to exist, so existing means not not beginning to exist, which means not not caused...ucarr

    Not caused doesn't mean a first cause doesn't have a beginning. The beginning is the first cause itself. Two seconds from now a first cause atom could potentially appear then disappear. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end.

    Why is true randomness -- completely unpredictable and unlimited, but active -- not the cause of what you call first cause?ucarr

    True randomness is a description to understand the possibilities of a first cause. It is not a thing that exists that causes first causes. Just like saying a dice has a 1/6 chance of landing on one side, does not mean our created odds caused it to land on that side.

    How can you perceive nothing then something with nothing temporal or existential or directional? If time is not essential then: Nothing then something is the cheating liar homunculus in the randomness.ucarr

    I did not understand this question, could you clarify please?

    Since every link in a causal chain is sourced in nothing, there's ultimately no distinction between first cause and links in a causal chain.ucarr

    I don't see how you conclude this. If a causal chain is A -> B -> C, B causes C, A causes B, but nothing causes A. That's a clear distinction.

    There are no constraints in nothing, so constraint and causality cannot erase the signature of nothing stamped upon them.

    Randomness won't countenance links in a causal chain, so talk of links in causal chains is distraction which cannot distract from Wittegenstein's silence.
    ucarr

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here either, could you go into more detail ucarr? Thanks.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    This may just be a language issue. There is no prior or external cause. Typically saying, "self-cause" implies that there is first a self, then a cause. That's not what I'm intending. There is no conscious or outside intent. It just is. That is the answer. Nothing more.Philosophim
    Too right. From my point of view, this discussion suffers because it sets out to discuss metaphysics, which seems to be interpreted as discussing the issues unself-consciously, that it, without paying attention to the tools that are being used - the language. I am not dogmatic about linguistic philosophy, but that doesn't mean that attention to the language-game is not relevant.

    That's the start of causality and the end of our questions up the causal chain.Philosophim
    I'm afraid that the rules of the game can give you the start, but not the end of the questions. There is always scope for that.

    Why is true randomness -- completely unpredictable and unlimited, but active -- not the cause of what you call first cause? But it is: something, then nothing.ucarr
    You mean that randomness that is not an unknown explanation is the only "true" randomness. What makes it true, as opposed to an illusion?

    Randomness won't countenance links in a causal chain, so talk of links in causal chains is distraction which cannot distract from Wittegenstein's silence.ucarr
    Wittgenstein's silence in the Tractatus is defined against a very limited concept of what can be said - that is, of what "saying" is. Fortunately, there are more expansive views available. How far he took advantage of them in the later philosophy to say something that that cannot be said is an interesting question. One does notice, however, that his use of language is no longer limited by that early account of language.

    I dealt with the existential realm, but there was no interest in that either. So where does that leave us?Metaphysician Undercover
    I'm not sure it is a question of interest or not, rather than a question of understanding or not.

    We seem to have a range of philosophical approaches in play and a certain frustration because none of them seems to generate a constructive discussion. And so the nature of philosophy is called into question. What, exactly is at issue? What counts as a solution?

    I don't know the answers. Perhaps we need to start from there, rather than a fixed position - which we all seem to have.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    That's the entire point of the post. :D I thought you assumed the logic leading to this conclusion was correct, then asking about the consequences of it. I'll summarize it 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.

    It is impossible for there to not be at least one first cause. Therefore we know that first causes are possible, and have no reason for their existence besides the fact they exist.
    Philosophim

    You're saying the domain of this conversation is a logical examination of what follows within a causal chain in the wake of its first cause?

    There is no prior or external cause. Typically saying, "self-cause" implies that there is first a self, then a cause. That's not what I'm intending. There is no conscious or outside intent.Philosophim

    I'm guessing you're excluding consideration of self-organizing, complex systems that are not conscious.

    ts illogical to claim that something which has nothing prior that caused its existence, has nothing prior that caused its existence. Only the minds rebellion based on previous experience thinks otherwise. You understand the transition because it happened. That's it. That's the start of causality and the end of our questions up the causal chain.Philosophim

    I'm guessing you're saying first causes can only be interacted with as givens. There's no way to approach a first cause mentally. The only mental reaction possible to the existence of a first cause is acceptance of it as a given, as an unsearchable fact.

    Its illogical to claim that something which has nothing prior that caused its existence, has nothing prior that caused its existence.Philosophim

    Is this your description of circular reasoning?

    If you say first-cause entities have no causation whatsoever, and yet are not eternal, then you're positing a universe wherein science is not possible.ucarr

    IncorrectPhilosophim

    Since first causes author causal chains, their just-ising into existence erects an impenetrable partition around the origins of our univese. If just-ising is the dead-end of physics and its examinations, then, yes, the domain of causality post-first-cause suspports science. However, the fundamentals as first causes are beyond reach of science. This renders post-causality science permanently incomplete.

    Permanently incomplete science demotes it to local laws ultimately shrouded in mystery, and thus these local laws, having no metaphysical grounding, amount to little more than conjecture. Not knowing ultimate sources, local science must countenance the possibility that mysteries beyond the partition are really magic dissembling as science.

    We just have to keep open that possibility that a first cause could happen.Philosophim

    Maybe this sentence exemplifies one of those language problems you've mentioned. Something happening means -- under normal circumstances -- an energetic, animate phenomenon employing forces and materials within a surrounding material environment. Something happening by just-ising from nothing seems to preclude energy, animation, forces and material, not to mention an environment of similar composition.

    This might be the point where the homunculus in your argument is hiding out. When you exhort the reader to instantaneously accept the just-ising into being as a something divorced from everything save nothing, you're cryptically doing away with physics-yet-magically-assuming-it because you present without explanation some means of a human perceiving this change out of nothingness with his/her powers of perception intact, or is QM entanglement of observer/object not in effect with observation of a first cause aborning?

    Virtual particles pop out of a vacuum attached to a QM universe. Moreover, they have physical causes.

    We both know that's not our universe.ucarr

    No we don't.Philosophim

    You seem to be implying a priori knowledge permanently partitioned from empirical experience of ultimate causes and therefore uncorroborated independently are sufficient for belief in unsearchable first causes.

    Not caused doesn't mean a first cause doesn't have a beginning.Philosophim

    Are you sure an unsearchable beginning doesn't dovetail with eternal existence? If just-ising into being is unsearchable, how can we know its not eternal? You seem to be ignoring that human perception of just-ising empirically assumes real physics, something you magically dispense with in your pure randomness.

    True randomness is a description to understand the possibilities of a first cause. It is not a thing that exists that causes first causes.Philosophim

    It sounds like a hypothetical conjecture that excludes physics. If true randomness has no relationship with first causes, why do you even mention it? You need it to think about first causes, but having no physics, inception of first causes have nothing to do with us. It seems likely your use of randomness facilitates circular reasoning within your head.

    Now, you're going to say first causes might govern our lives through the causal chains they author. Well, you have another homunculus transporting first causes across the bridge from no-physics to physics. I don't expect you can explain how no-physics shakes hands with physics. No, you can't. That's why you must say first causes do just-ising as their way to enter our world.

    How can you perceive nothing then something with nothing temporal or existential or directional?ucarr

    I did not understand this question, could you clarify please?Philosophim

    Since first causes just-is their way into our world, there's no physics -- time, matter or vectors -- attached to their arrival. Sounds like a priori speculation without possibility of corroboration.

    I don't see how you conclude this. If a causal chain is A -> B -> C, B causes C, A causes B, but nothing causes A. That's a clear distinction.Philosophim

    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? If the source of something is nothing, how can it cause anything other than what caused it, nothingness? Yes, this is a logical argument, but you've stipulated that logic pertains within the causal chain. To continue, if nothing becomes something and causes subsequent somethings, how can you claim causal supervenience across a causal chain? Don't you have to maintain that original nothingness in order to claim supervenience? If so, then causal chains are really nothing. On the other hand, if you break the causal chain of nothing-to-something (you said it first: (from= causal) nothing to just-isness), how does first cause continue causality? Didn't Hume say something akin to this?

    Randomness won't countenance links in a causal chain, so talk of links in causal chains is distraction which cannot distract from Wittegenstein's silence.ucarr

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here either, could you go into more detail ucarr? Thanks.Philosophim

    Your first causes from nothing might be invoking Wittgenstein's silent vigil over what cannot be spoken of.
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    You mean that randomness that is not an unknown explanation is the only "true" randomness. What makes it true, as opposed to an illusion?Ludwig V

    On the contrary, I'm suggesting true randomness cannot be contemplated because it deranges the foundational order of thinking.

    Wittgenstein's silence in the Tractatus is defined against a very limited concept of what can be said - that is, of what "saying" is.Ludwig V

    Suppose I succeed in stopping my internal dialogue, have I earned a nod from Walter White?
  • Philosophim
    2k
    You're saying the domain of this conversation is a logical examination of what follows within a causal chain in the wake of its first cause?ucarr

    I'm saying at least one first cause is logically necessary, and the consequences of that being so.

    There is no prior or external cause. Typically saying, "self-cause" implies that there is first a self, then a cause. That's not what I'm intending. There is no conscious or outside intent.
    — Philosophim

    I'm guessing you're excluding consideration of self-organizing, complex systems that are not conscious.
    ucarr

    I'm not including or excluding anything but defining what a first cause is, and what that means for us.

    I'm guessing you're saying first causes can only be interacted with as givens. There's no way to approach a first cause mentally. The only mental reaction possible to the existence of a first cause is acceptance of it as a given, as an unsearchable fact.ucarr

    If you have discovered and proven something is a first cause, then yes. There's nothing else to consider about what caused it to exist.

    Its illogical to claim that something which has nothing prior that caused its existence, has nothing prior that caused its existence.
    — Philosophim

    Is this your description of circular reasoning?
    ucarr

    No. If there is a first X in a causal chain, there cannot be something prior which causes that first X.
    A -> B -> C A is the first. You can't then say 1 -> A because then A was never the first, 1 was. This is about discovery, this is about what actually is first, whether we know that its first or not.

    If just-ising is the dead-end of physics and its examinations, then, yes, the domain of causality post-first-cause suspports science. However, the fundamentals as first causes are beyond reach of science. This renders post-causality science permanently incomplete.ucarr

    Correct on the first part, but it doesn't render it permanently incomplete. Finding limits is part of completeness. Science is just as often about asserting what we cannot know as much as what we can know.

    Are you sure an unsearchable beginning doesn't dovetail with eternal existence?ucarr

    Positive. Our ability to know it is irrelevant to what it is. Its entirely possible a first cause could start to exist at any time. That would be its beginning. If one does, has, or will, whether we discover it or not does not deny its logical possibility and then existent reality.

    Something happening by just-ising from nothing seems to preclude energy, animation, forces and material, not to mention an environment of similar composition.ucarr

    Correct. Its not that all of these things can't incept, its just that nothing else causes them to incept.

    When you exhort the reader to instantaneously accept the just-ising into being as a something divorced from everything save nothing, you're cryptically doing away with physics-yet-magically-assuming-it because you present without explanation some means of a human perceiving this change out of nothingness with his/her powers of perception intact, or is QM entanglement of observer/object not in effect with observation of a first cause aborning?ucarr

    In my many replies I've been very consistent about this. Remember when you asked me, "Can there be a hydrogen atom that can do things that a hydrogen atom can't?" Recall what I said. I noted that a hydrogen atom is defined as having particular properties. If it doesn't have those properties, its not a hydrogen atom, its something else by our definitions.

    Physics is a tool of definitions and measurements that are consistently applied to the world. The possibility of first causes does not destroy what physics is. It may amend it, as all discoveries do. Yes, a first cause is a logical consideration. But it must be proven. We can't just go about saying, "That's a first cause because we don't understand it." Not understanding it means it might be a first cause, but only after exhausting all possible causal influences which could have caused that thing to exist.

    Regardless, a small adjustment to physics is not a reason to deny a logical conclusion. A logical conclusion is what it is. We don't deny it simply because we don't like what results from it. We have to deny it by showing there's a flaw in the logic, or accepting it and adapting.

    You seem to be implying a priori knowledge permanently partitioned from empirical experience of ultimate causes and therefore uncorroborated independently are sufficient for belief in unsearchable first causes.ucarr

    Can you break this up a bit so I can understand this better? I'm not quite sure what you're saying here.

    It sounds like a hypothetical conjecture that excludes physics. If true randomness has no relationship with first causes, why do you even mention it?ucarr

    Because its the logical consequence of nothing coming from something. There is nothing to push, or restrict anything which is not caused by anything else. A restriction is an outside cause. Same with a push. Lets look at it this way. If a first cause was 60% likely to be an atom, and 40% likely to be a photon, there would be the question, "What causes these odds?" Meaning we're not really looking at a first cause.

    Since a first cause has no prior cause, there is no outside cause that states, "This is more likely/less likely to appear. This must exist at this time." There are not outside causes, so no outside rules that shape or limit what a first cause can be.

    Think about it another way Ucarr. Why does reality exist at all? Was there anything outside of reality which caused reality? Of course not. Meaning there was nothing that ruled that it had to be this way.

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

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

    Now, you're going to say first causes might govern our lives through the causal chains they author.ucarr

    Ucarr, something I've noticed is you say I'm implying or asserting things that I have not implied or asserted. Try to avoid this in the future please. If you believe my logic leads somewhere, just point out how you think it leads there.

    Since first causes just-is their way into our world, there's no physics -- time, matter or vectors -- attached to their arrival. Sounds like a priori speculation without possibility of corroboration.ucarr

    Its just a logical conclusion, not an empirical assertion. Just like Einstein hypothesized the theory of relativity and his math checked out, it wasn't until they could test it that it could be considered empirically verified. I have never claimed this has been empirically verified, only logically necessary.

    Now, if a first cause is ever empirically verified, it would then be a theory in physics. Right now its just a logical assertion. That's pretty much what philosophy does.

    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.

    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.

    To continue, if nothing becomes something and causes subsequent somethings, how can you claim causal supervenience across a causal chain? Don't you have to maintain that original nothingness in order to claim supervenience? If so, then causal chains are really nothingucarr

    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. :)

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here either, could you go into more detail ucarr? Thanks.
    — Philosophim

    Your first causes from nothing might be invoking Wittgenstein's silent vigil over what cannot be spoken of.
    ucarr

    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.

    On the contrary, I'm suggesting true randomness cannot be contemplated because it deranges the foundational order of thinking.ucarr

    It simply causes us to consider something we have not considered before. This does not disrupt thinking or logic. Its merely a continuation and updating of what we can consider.
  • jgill
    3.5k
    Virtual particles pop out of a vacuum attached to a QM universe. Moreover, they have physical causes.ucarr

    Have any of these mathematical conveniences ever been detected?
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    Virtual particles pop out of a vacuum attached to a QM universe. Moreover, they have physical causes.
    — ucarr

    Have any of these mathematical conveniences ever been detected?
    jgill

    Casimir effect:

    The typical example is of two uncharged conductive plates in a vacuum, placed a few nanometers apart. In a classical description, the lack of an external field means that there is no field between the plates, and no force would be measured between them.[13] When this field is instead studied using the quantum electrodynamic vacuum, it is seen that the plates do affect the virtual photons which constitute the field, and generate a net force[14] – either an attraction or a repulsion depending on the specific arrangement of the two plates. Although the Casimir effect can be expressed in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, it is best described and more easily calculated in terms of the zero-point energy of a quantized field in the intervening space between the objects. This force has been measured and is a striking example of an effect captured formally by second quantization.[15][16]
  • jgill
    3.5k
    Although the Casimir effect can be expressed in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, it is best described and more easily calculated in terms of the zero-point energy of a quantized field in the intervening space between the objects.

    Thanks. Those little buggers are elusive. It might take a virtual device to detect their presence.
  • Ludwig V
    663
    On the contrary, I'm suggesting true randomness cannot be contemplated because it deranges the foundational order of thinking.
    @ucarr
    It simply causes us to consider something we have not considered before. This does not disrupt thinking or logic. Its merely a continuation and updating of what we can consider.
    Philosophim

    I'm not sure what the foundational order of thinking is or even whether there is one. But it is true that we are so reluctant to accept "no cause" that we try to corral it by speaking of probability, which at least establishes a sort of order in the phenomena.

    The fact that we can consider something does not prove that it exists or even that it could exist, so that does not get us far. We can even accept that Pegasus might exist, but we all know very well that it doesn't, any more than dragons do. In the case of first causes, the evidential bar is so high, that it is more plausible by far to believe that it will never be met, except in the context of a specific theory, which is far from conclusive.

    Suppose I succeed in stopping my internal dialogue, have I earned a nod from Walter White?ucarr
    I'm afraid you have me there. I don't know whether you mean the actor or the civil rights activist. But I don't think Wittgenstein meant that. He didn't say there was any problem about asserting well-formed propositions, did he? Certainly, he didn't succeed in stopping his own internal dialogue - I'm not even sure that he tried. Maybe a Zen monk?
  • Philosophim
    2k
    In the case of first causes, the evidential bar is so high, that it is more plausible by far to believe that it will never be met, except in the context of a specific theory, which is far from conclusive.Ludwig V

    Exactly, well said Ludwig!
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I'm saying at least one first cause is logically necessary, and the consequences of that being so.Philosophim

    Is the following rephrasing acceptable: At least one cause and its causal chain are necessary.

    There is no prior or external cause. Typically saying, "self-cause" implies that there is first a self, then a cause. That's not what I'm intending. There is no conscious or outside intent.Philosophim

    I'm guessing you're excluding consideration of self-organizing, complex systems that are not conscious.ucarr

    I'm not including or excluding anything but defining what a first cause is, and what that means for us.Philosophim

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

    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.

    If there is a first X in a causal chain, there cannot be something prior which causes that first X. A -> B -> C A is the first. You can't then say 1 -> A because then A was never the first, 1 was. This is about discovery, this is about what actually is first, whether we know that its first or not.Philosophim

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

    You can't... say 1 -> A because then A was never the first, 1 was.Philosophim

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

    Finding limits is part of completeness.Philosophim

    Do you agree with this interpretation: This claim needs to be investigated as a possible false analogy. Argument: It's one thing to find the systemic limits of a discipline such as science. It's another thing to suppose a permanent partition within a discipline: first causes author causal chains, but they cannot be investigated because they simply are. 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. 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.

    *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.

    Are you sure an unsearchable beginning doesn't dovetail with eternal existence?ucarr

    Positive. Our ability to know it is irrelevant to what it is. Its entirely possible a first cause could start to exist at any time. That would be its beginning. If one does, has, or will, whether we discover it or not does not deny its logical possibility and then existent reality.Philosophim

    Our ability to know it is irrelevant to what it is.Philosophim

    Interpretation - Our ability to know is irrelevant to what we know. Supposition - This claim ignores QM entanglement.

    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.

    Something happening by just-ising from nothing seems to preclude energy, animation, forces and material, not to mention an environment of similar composition.ucarr

    Its not that all of these things can't incept, its just that nothing else causes them to incept.Philosophim

    Something-from-spontaneously-occurring-self-organization preserves the laws of physics; something from nothing seems to violate physical laws: such a phenomenon suggests incept of energy to animate the creative process and energy suggests mass transformed to create the energy and mass transformed suggests energy to transform the mass...

    ...a small adjustment to physics is not a reason to deny a logical conclusionPhilosophim

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

    The possibility of first causes does not destroy what physics is.Philosophim

    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.

    You seem to be implying a priori knowledge permanently partitioned from empirical experience of ultimate causes and therefore uncorroborated independently is sufficient for belief in unsearchable first causes.ucarr

    You do maintain the standard of empirical proof of first causes. Nonetheless, you firmly assert their possibility. Since all you have at present is speculation via reasoning, I think it germane to the vetting process to invoke arguments like the one about conservation laws being preserved within a closed system. It's your job to explain logically how something-from-nothing happens. 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 that's first cousin to street vernacular: "Hey, man. I don't know what else I can tell ya. It is what it is."

    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. By using this dodge, you don't have to do any explaining of specific changes to known physics concepts that would have to be adjusted for the advent of empirical proof of first causes. You claim to support empirical proof of first causes, but you show no inclination to do any of the work entailed.

    Normally, a priori theorems get vetted by the concepts established in the pertinent field. You preclude this vetting process by fixing on a theorem that specifically defines its subject as something that its pertinent field -- physics -- cannot investigate. By excluding causation as a whole from any examination of first causation, you dump the conversation into the field of Kant's noumenal ontology, a field that excludes not only science but knowledge in general.

    It sounds like a hypothetical conjecture that excludes physics. If true randomness has no relationship with first causes, why do you even mention it?ucarr

    Because its the logical consequence of nothing coming from something.Philosophim

    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.

    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.

    Why does reality exist at all? Was there anything outside of reality which caused reality? Of course not. Meaning there was nothing that ruled that it had to be this way.Philosophim

    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:

    Why are we in the reality we observe? The simple answer: It's because we observe it. I'm saying what's real to us is a matter of perspective. We ask a natural question: Why is our reality what we perceive? The answer is that we ask the question because we're able to ask it. Even if we speculate about another kind of reality, we ask why it's not our reality because we're able to speculate about it.

    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, 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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    Your first causes from nothing might be invoking Wittgenstein's silent vigil over what cannot be spoken of.ucarr

    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.

    On the contrary, I'm suggesting true randomness cannot be contemplated because it deranges the foundational order of thinking.ucarr

    It simply causes us to consider something we have not considered before. This does not disrupt thinking or logic. Its merely a continuation and updating of what we can consider.Philosophim

    It doesn't disrupt thinking or logic because it's thinking about randomness, not randomness.
  • jgill
    3.5k


    This thread is like a causal chain. What would you say about its first cause(s)?
  • ucarr
    1.1k


    I'm not sure what the foundational order of thinking is or even whether there is one.Ludwig V

    Note - "foundational order" is a pun with two senses: 1) the order inherent in thinking is foundational to the human identity; 2) the essence of thinking is its natural orderliness

    I feel inclined to claim that order is thinking. Following this line, I want to say the world appears to us orderly because it's rendered to our awareness through our thinking. An idealist wants to establish the world is only ordered through thinking.

    Neuroscience has no conjectures about the superstructure of neuronal communications?

    But it is true that we are so reluctant to accept "no cause" that we try to corral it by speaking of probability, which at least establishes a sort of order in the phenomena.Ludwig V

    Consider the following sentence: Origin boundary ontology is a gnarly puzzle.

    Is it sufficiently suggestive to give you a clear impression of what it's trying to communicate?

    Are you inclined to believe origin stories must discard causation at the start point?
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