## Causation and Coincidence

• 7.3k
@Andrew4Handel

If I recall correctly, causation is defined in terms of spatial contiguity and temporal proximity.

By spatial contiguity I refer to the necessity that cause and effect have to be, well, close together in space. If a billiard ball A is taken to cause the movement of another billiard ball B then first and foremost these two balls can't be on different tables

By temporal proximity I mean that two events, if one is the cause and the other the effect, must be at or nearabout the same time.

My primary concern is about spatial contiguity. Consider the billiard ball example, a favorite, and we see that the for billiard ball A to cause the motion of ball B, the two balls had to be on the same table. However, it's obvious that that alone isn't enough to infer a causation for the distance between these two balls had, for contact forces, to be zero at one point in the chain of events.

Now, think of forces at a distance, e.g magnetism, gravity and electric charge. For these forces to cause an event it isn't necessary for the spatial distance between cause and effect to be zero; they are after all forces that act from a distance. At this point just note that there are forces that act at a distance.

Ergo, given the above, spatial contiguity isn't a necessary feature of causation i.e. it is, not only conceivable but physically possible, for cause and effect to be separated by not only a distance of a hand's length, a distance we're familiar with such types of causation, but also over vast distances a la gravity.

All this leaves us with only one defining feature for causation viz. temporal proximity and the quintessence of temporal proximity is simulatneity/coincidence.

Can we then dismiss ALL events that are temporally simultaneous as having nothing to do with causation for the sole reason of an absence of spatial contiguity?
• 1.3k
I don't think causation has to do primarily with either of those things. I think it has to do more with our recognition of certain events following other events and they don't have to closely follow. Some people have thought that God is the cause of their suffering/pleasure. There is an example that has neither of those proximities. Cause and effect are all a matter of how we imagine the world to be. Though events being close in time and space certainly helps us recognize them more easily as causes.
• 1.4k
Can we then dismiss ALL events that are temporally simultaneous as having nothing to do with causation for the sole reason of an absence of spatial contiguity?

It seems that for an event to cause another event the events have to become connected but with one event/object causing another event/object to alter.

It is hard to pin down what is an object and event and what is is dispositions and causal sphere.

It seems that we use induction to assert causal claims or to negotiate situations where we expect certain regularities for outcomes. If something is simultaneous but far away we are less likely to assert it as a cause.

I think the notion of regularities could replace the notion of cause where you don't assert a final causal explanation but assert a probabilistic outcome.
• 77
The causal criteria referred to is that of David Humes who lived 150 before the birth of modern physics.
I think that according to Relativity even the temporal criterion is not valid.
• 7.3k
I think that according to Relativity even the temporal criterion is not valid
Even if purported cause and effect exist in the same frame of reference? Spatial contiguity if not temporal proximity.
• 7.3k
It seems that for an event to cause another event the events have to become connected but with one event/object causing another event/object to alter.

It is hard to pin down what is an object and event and what is is dispositions and causal sphere.

It seems that we use induction to assert causal claims or to negotiate situations where we expect certain regularities for outcomes. If something is simultaneous but far away we are less likely to assert it as a cause.

I think the notion of regularities could replace the notion of cause where you don't assert a final causal explanation but assert a probabilistic outcome.

:chin:
• 7.3k
I don't think causation has to do primarily with either of those things. I think it has to do more with our recognition of certain events following other events and they don't have to closely follow. Some people have thought that God is the cause of their suffering/pleasure. There is an example that has neither of those proximities. Cause and effect are all a matter of how we imagine the world to be. Though events being close in time and space certainly helps us recognize them more easily as causes.

:chin:
• 877
I can think of countless counterexamples to pretty much everything asserted in the OP.
Distance is not an issue. The moon causes tides without touching them. The sun causes my sunburn at a larger distance.
The dinosaur falling into a tar pit causes me to learn about it when I dig it up millions of years later.

The principle of locality (if you accept it) says that cause and effect must occur within each other's light cones, so that principle would deny for instance spooky action at a distance.
• 366
Fate.

Are all causes and effect with property?

Being bound to a planet (property of some effect) means we are fated to some action.

The effect of property is entangling. The cause of this effect is X loving/parental force.

Time is a procession. It is not void if it is time, therefore you can't void time.
• 7.3k
The principle of locality (if you accept it) says that cause and effect must occur within each other's light cones, so that principle would deny for instance spooky action at a distance.

Hi. Can you elaborate on what you said above?
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