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First Principles

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

If they are illusions (not as they seem) then I can't say my pride is justified or warranted.

Which in turn are a product of brain chemistry, which in turn is a product of our immediate and distant past environment. which in turn are a product of the cosmos. I don't think we are disagreeing here.

All this is or seems fair enough … and to me seems to agree with pride is not warranted. We can focus on the subjectivity and end of the day pretty much any opinion (including ours) is subjective, this does not mean some opinions are not a more accurate reflection of reality than others.

For example Burl's recent comment to Paul about spoon feeding to me seems to fall into this general category of self justification. Clearly self-justification is an illusion, and to be fair, at times we all fall prey to this. In terms of self-justification, excessive use of this behaviour is not conducive to self-preservation.

Yes.  And I would be in agreement  that excessive use of the behavior of self-justification is not really conducive to self-preservation despite its assumed intention by the mind that it is.

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OK back tracking a little and hearing a lot of silent agreement 🙂 

Assumptions I have to make 1 to 3 and 4 is a consequence.

  1. I exist and by extension, we exist as well.
  2. A universe exists beyond me (and us).
  3. That my (our) experience is a reflection of that universe, though our "reflections" might not be totally accurate or possibly complete
  4. Consequently we need to take our conclusions with possibly a pinch of salt.

There seem to be three possibilities. The universe ticks to the beat of causality, it does not tick to causality or perhaps it is some combination. My interpretation of Joseph's two cents is the universe is more of a megalithic tock rather than ticks. For the moment I'll treat this as point 2 below. I really don't know how to tease the two apart or if it in deed matters at this stage.

  1. If causality is false we don't cause anything so consequently we are not in any sense responsible for any consequences of actions we take.
  2. If causality is true our actions are a result prior cause then we are responsible in the sense of proximate cause. Being morally responsible is a non sequitur because we could not have done otherwise. 
  3. If it some combination of the one and two does not seem to let us of the hook. 

Lets look at 1 to 3 in slightly more detail. 

  1. If the lack of cause is true, then our pride and joy are not warranted in that our child did not cause their success nor did we influence their success. So in summary if cause is false, we don't cause our actions, we don't help, hurt or insult other people, other people are not helped, hurt by us or in deed insulted by other people's actions. ie This lack of cause could be due to the universe coming into existence in a solid block, so to speak. Apparently some interpretations of General Relativity would be consistent with this view. I must admit I find this view does not seem to fit reality. We can't help asking ourselves what causes cause and effect to seem so real, of course this question is a non sequitur if cause is false. And is it a coincidence that our scientific explanations of the mechanics of existence seem to work?
  2. On a day to day basis we certainly are unaware of our underlying causality that lead to the bulk of our actions. We might be aware of somethings that have caused our emotions for example …  But we don't choose to be happy in any normal sense of the word. We are completely oblivious to the underlying mechanisms (the ticks or the tock) on a moment to moment basis. Though we may have an general understanding that there are mechanistic causes are in place, if not the details. So if our child does well, the underlying causes stretch back in the causal mesh beyond a point where our child or us as parents are responsible. For example are we responsible for our child's intelligence? Well genetics certainly plays a small (at least). Is the child responsible for its genetics? Education also plays a small part in intelligence, is the child responsible for the quality of the teacher, class or her support at home? Well we might argue the child is responsible for the discipline she might exert on herself? Really? Again there is a genetic component to this plus the support she gets at home at school to exert this discipline. In short we can follow the causal mesh/chain and it ends up being luck … good or bad.
  3. If it is a mixture of one and two? Does not seem to help us much. Quantum phenomena can be seen as uncaused (inaccurately I think). The quantum phenomena itself simply becomes a cause itself (even though its probability of occurring is fashioned by the universe). So in 2 we might derive that existence is predetermined, and extremely uncomfortable position from some; but in case 3 it is not predetermined but things re not much better (or at least for those who are worried by such a universe). Here we seem to be "determined" and at the whim of some cosmic dice shaker. 

I'll stop here for the moment.


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I agree with assumptions 1 to 3 and consequence number 4, but I don't fully comprehend the limited 3 possibilities.

Although the universe might not 'tick' to the beat of causality, are you saying that means that no causality can exist in our day to day because of us?  We don't 'cause' anything?

And I don't quite understand how even if the universe is not ticking to causality that means that we are not responsible for the actions we take.  The universe ticks whether we like it or not, but I don't follow how it not ticking to causality means that we are not responsible for the consequences of our actions.

Similarly, I understand how if there is causality then all is pre-determined.  That seems a giant step to saying if there is causality, then all must be causality and not just some.

So then if we do come to a combination of both, what is the hook? 

Sorry, I must admit that this is not my specialty! :)

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