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Re: garbling

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  • louise
    Mary, Thanks for your research work and selection. It is a clarifying excerpt, and a useful site in general. Good to know you re here to help steady the
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 3, 2009
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      Mary,

      Thanks for your research work and selection. It is a clarifying
      excerpt, and a useful site in general. Good to know you're here to
      help steady the ship, as once again the list weathers a storm.

      Louise

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.josie59" <mary.josie59@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > We must carefully disambiguate causality from its close relatives
      > certainty, determinism, necessity, and predictability.
      >
      > We have causality in the world, in the sense that for every event
      we
      > can always find preceding events that contributed to the outcome.
      But
      > some events involve an irreducible randomness or chance. They are
      > unpredictable, uncertain, and indeterministic. We can describe such
      > events with the ancient concept of the uncaused cause or causa sui.
      >
      > Although almost all philosophers became language philosophers in the
      > twentieth century, they have been notoriously sloppy with
      definitions
      > of philosophical terminology. They have been especially confused
      when
      > they attempt to prove things with logic and language about the
      world.
      >
      > For example, they like to say that if determinism is false,
      > indeterminism is true. This is of course logically correct. Strict
      > causal determinism with a causal chain of necessary events back to
      an
      > Aristotelian first cause is indeed false, and modern philosophers
      know
      > it, though most hold out hope that the quantum mechanical basis of
      > such indeterminism will be disproved someday and declare themselves
      > agnostic.
      >
      > These agnostic philosophers go on to argue that the principle of
      > bivalence requires that since determinism and indeterminism are
      > logical contradictories, only one of them can be true. The law of
      the
      > excluded middle allows no third possibility. Now since neither
      > determinism nor indeterminism allow the kind of free will that
      > supports moral responsibility, they claim that free will is
      > unintelligible or an illusion. This is the standard argument against
      > free will.
      >
      > Finally, despite their claim that professional philosophers are
      better
      > equipped than scientists to make conceptual distinctions and
      evaluate
      > the cogency of arguments, they have confounded the concepts
      of "free"
      > and "will" into the muddled term "free will" despite the clear
      > warnings from John Locke that this would lead to confusion. Locke
      said
      > very clearly, as had some ancients like Lucretius, it is not the
      will
      > that is free (in the sense of undetermined), it is the mind.
      >
      > The practical empirical situation is much more complex than such
      > simple black and white logical linguistic thinking can comprehend.
      > Despite quantum uncertainty, there is clearly adequate determinism
      in
      > the world, enough to permit the near-perfect predictions of
      celestial
      > motions, and good enough to send men to the moon and back. But this
      > "near" (Honderich) or "almost" (Fischer) determinism is neither
      > absolute nor required in any way by logical necessity, as Aristotle
      > himself first argued against the determinist atomists.
      >
      > The core idea of causality is closely related to the idea of
      > determinism. But we can have causality without determinism. We call
      it
      > "soft" causality. The departure from strict causality is very slight
      > compared to the miraculous ideas usually associated with the "causa
      > sui" (self-caused cause) of the ancients.
      >
      > Causality is a rhetorical tool, It is ad hoc reasoning to identify
      > preceding events that contributed to a current event. We can always
      > find a reason (λόγος) or reasons for
      events, leading to the ancient
      > dictum "every event has a cause."
      >
      > And certainty, necessity, and predictability are all closely related
      > to determinism, but they have their main applicability in slightly
      > different fields - mathematics, logic, and physics - which gives
      rise
      > to ambiguity when used outside those fields.
      >
      > Certainty is a powerful idea that has mesmerized philosophers, and
      > especially religious leaders, throughout the ages. Belief in
      absolute
      > and certain truth has all too often justified the most inhumane
      > behavior toward those not sharing that truth and that belief.
      >
      > Certainty is the case of a mathematical probability equal to one.
      >
      > Necessity is often opposed to chance. In a necessary world there is
      no
      > chance. Everything that happens is necessitated. In our real
      physical
      > world nothing is necessary. There is nothing logically true of the
      world.
      >
      > Necessity is just a useful tool as part of our deductive reasoning
      in
      > logic, where chance is theoretically non-existent.
      >
      > Predictability is a characteristic of law-governed phenomena. When
      the
      > laws are expressible as mathematical functions of time, knowledge of
      > the initial conditions at some time allows us to predict the
      > conditions at all later (and retrospectively earlier) times.
      >
      > Predictability in like circumstances is the key to the
      > hypothetical-deductive method of experimental science.
      >
      > Excerpt from:
      > http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/disambiguation.html
      >
      > Mary
      >
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