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romansh

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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On 2/20/2019 at 2:24 AM, PaulS said:

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?

No Paul, I am trying to say that if there is no causality then there is no ticking (or perhaps no tock). If causality is false the I cannot be a cause and as a result I cannot be responsible in either sense of the two major uses of the word. I personally do not believe this, but there are scientific interpretations that comport with this view.

On 2/20/2019 at 2:24 AM, PaulS said:

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.

I agree

But here we then discuss the nature of that responsibility. All the causes appear to be lined up in a mesh like structure that extend to points before we can be responsible for our actions. As  two year-olds in what sense are we responsible for our actions? As we grow up are we responsible for our genetics, our parents skills, our predisposition to learn, our predispositions in general, the environment we find ourselves in.  Ultimately, it is just luck that I had the parents I had, the skill to cope at school, the intelligence to go to university, marry the wife I did, etc.

Sure I can considered a proximate cause ie a focal point of my actions. That does not mean my actions should not be contained if they are found undesirable.

On 2/20/2019 at 2:24 AM, PaulS said:

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.

This I think depends on the nature of the causality. If that causality is probabilistic then existence is not predetermined. Our determined existence depends on what I call partly in jest a cosmic dice shaker. The probability of events occurring depends on the state of the universe. 

The hook is, mixing in probability does not save us from being proximate causes. Moral responsibility just does not make sense other than as tool to manipulate others and perhaps even ourselves.

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On 2/25/2019 at 2:07 AM, romansh said:

No Paul, I am trying to say that if there is no causality then there is no ticking (or perhaps no tock). If causality is false the I cannot be a cause and as a result I cannot be responsible in either sense of the two major uses of the word. I personally do not believe this, but there are scientific interpretations that comport with this view.

Okay.  Tks.

On 2/25/2019 at 2:07 AM, romansh said:

I agree

But here we then discuss the nature of that responsibility. All the causes appear to be lined up in a mesh like structure that extend to points before we can be responsible for our actions. As  two year-olds in what sense are we responsible for our actions? As we grow up are we responsible for our genetics, our parents skills, our predisposition to learn, our predispositions in general, the environment we find ourselves in.  Ultimately, it is just luck that I had the parents I had, the skill to cope at school, the intelligence to go to university, marry the wife I did, etc.

I don't think a two-year old is 'responsible' in the sense that they made a choice or that they should be blamed for what they caused, but they are responsible in the sense that they caused that something to result.  

On 2/25/2019 at 2:07 AM, romansh said:

Sure I can considered a proximate cause ie a focal point of my actions. That does not mean my actions should not be contained if they are found undesirable.

This I think depends on the nature of the causality. If that causality is probabilistic then existence is not predetermined. Our determined existence depends on what I call partly in jest a cosmic dice shaker. The probability of events occurring depends on the state of the universe. 

The hook is, mixing in probability does not save us from being proximate causes. Moral responsibility just does not make sense other than as tool to manipulate others and perhaps even ourselves.

I'm struggling with how you're explaining 'causality'.  To me the universe may not be resultant of any driving 'cause', but cause and effect does exist in our universe.  Are we on the same page?

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18 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't think a two-year old is 'responsible' in the sense that they made a choice or that they should be blamed for what they caused, but they are responsible in the sense that they caused that something to result.  

I would agree with the above statement. The two year old might be a proximate or immediate cause of a spilt glass of milk say: at what age might we hold a child blameworthy of the spilt milk? The short answer for most of us would be it depends. But if I were to (unintentionally) spill the milk why would I be more blameworthy than say a two year old; other than expectations of those around me. 

Now if I or a two year old had a temper tantrum and spilt the milk in a fit. Are we blameworthy? Children have not had these tantrums trained (conditioned, programmed, educated, habituated) out of them. Some of us still have tantrums. We might expect an adult not to have tantrums but at some point we transfer the blame from the circumstance to the person.

I suppose I could spill the milk in some psychopathic manner. In what way I am responsible for my psychopathy?

The point is we draw some arbitrary film around a person at a given moment and handle the contents of that film differently. What is a consist way to handle the contents the film?

19 hours ago, PaulS said:

I'm struggling with how you're explaining 'causality'.  To me the universe may not be resultant of any driving 'cause', but cause and effect does exist in our universe.  Are we on the same page?

I agree the universe might not be the result of any cause. It might be just one cause … ie Joseph's point of view (if I understand correctly).

But I think I agree with your quote. Though the word "driving" in your sentence is interesting … it does sort of vaguely imply a direction.

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

I would agree with the above statement. The two year old might be a proximate or immediate cause of a spilt glass of milk say: at what age might we hold a child blameworthy of the spilt milk? The short answer for most of us would be it depends. But if I were to (unintentionally) spill the milk why would I be more blameworthy than say a two year old; other than expectations of those around me. 

Now if I or a two year old had a temper tantrum and spilt the milk in a fit. Are we blameworthy? Children have not had these tantrums trained (conditioned, programmed, educated, habituated) out of them. Some of us still have tantrums. We might expect an adult not to have tantrums but at some point we transfer the blame from the circumstance to the person.

I suppose I could spill the milk in some psychopathic manner. In what way I am responsible for my psychopathy?

The point is we draw some arbitrary film around a person at a given moment and handle the contents of that film differently. What is a consist way to handle the contents the film?

I think we agree concerning 'blame' but what I am trying to understand is that is this incident not causality?  That is, the two year old (or the adult) who unintentionally spills the milk (or intentionally spills it) is still causing an effect to which the universe responds.  So aren't we being a cause to how the universe continues to unfold?

8 hours ago, romansh said:

I agree the universe might not be the result of any cause. It might be just one cause … ie Joseph's point of view (if I understand correctly).

But I think I agree with your quote. Though the word "driving" in your sentence is interesting … it does sort of vaguely imply a direction.

It does imply a direction - forwards.  The universe in my view can only go forwards, not backwards.

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