Reason 101 - Pillar 3: Causality

When we begin looking at causes for things, we’re talking about actions.  Whereas the law of identity is an interpretation or a restatement of the verb "to be," the law of causality is an elaboration of the verb "to do."

Let’s rephrase Forrest Gump, "Something is what something does."  In sequence, something does what something is.  That’s the law of causality.  More formally as follows: "The actions of an entity are determined by the nature (identity) of the entity and the nature of the entities that act upon it."

Again, the law of causality may seem intuitively obvious to the casual observer.

But mystics of church and academe through the ages have toiled mightily against causality.  Like a lot of ordinary people, they’d prefer certain actions not have certain consequences, that a dieter can eat his cake and not have it (its calories), too.  :)  Or in politics, say, run up a huge national debt and the people not suffer any hardship in its repayment.

On a practical level, people who adhere to the law of causality recognize that actions have consequences, such as:

  1. productive work is necessary to achieve life and happiness
  2. supernatural explanations do not improve SAT scores
  3. "if the lion lays down with the lamb, the lamb will not get much sleep"(9)

A man of causality, like the man of identity, is known by honesty.

But the honesty is more about awareness of what’s going on, like keeping track of the bean in a shell game.  Making sure the game is straight.  Our guy’s motto is the classic Missouri saying, "Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s rainin’."  He is not easily misled, and he is a man for whom actions speak louder than words., Reason 101

Pillar 1:
Pillar 2:
Pillar 3:
Pillar 4:
Pillar 5:
Pillar 6:
Pillar 7:
Pillar 8:
Pillar 9:
Pillar 10:

Truth vs Application

"if he wants his philosophy to have any practical use"

This is a bit of a misstep in logic because it denies truth as the ultimate value of philosophy. This replaces truth with a personal application. It means that the philosophy is only good if it is useful to the philosopher and thus not a pursuit of truth.

"When we begin looking at causes for things, we’re talking about actions."

Of course we are, but what are those? Are they events? Happenings? Goings on? These are all simply synonyms for something taken for granted. That is the acceptance that our ability to reason about the causes in reality is legitimate. Most people find themselves rather reasonable. In all this you never explained what reason is. It is the ability to recognize causes. However it would be more apt to say that causality depends on reason. Because you will investigate the world until it seems reasonable to you. Even if its all an illusion. There are no reasons for reason or causes for causality. The only argument is for application, for self-interest. Take away the the relevance factor in place of truth and you discover we know nothing.

We construct a mental image of a world. There is by necessity an external world. In order for something to exist it must exist in relation to something else. If you examine the human brain there is no consciousness. It doesn't exist by your standard of existence. Yet it is at the center of your argument. That in order for it to be pleasurable (applicable) to us we must have faith in reason. Then is it not apt to say that something unreasonable exists, namely reason. It is the duality of nature, the very fact that reason exists by virtue of it being unreasonable.

We don't exist in regards to Neuroscience because it only reveals patterns of matter which come and go. There is a brain which remains largely stable but constantly changing. Adapting to new information and representing the world in more detail. By necessity we can never observe subjectivity, nevertheless it is part of reality.

I ultimately accept the argument for application but on different grounds. That one has to submit to the duality of reason and causality. Because we can't understand unreason, we can conceive of it insofar as we can label it, but by labeling it we imply it has that much reason.

There is an inherent paradox in the reason causality duality. It's Ouroboros the serpent biting its own tail. We base our knowledge of actions based on past experience. But reality is ultimately unreasonable to the extent that we don't accept it as being reasonable, that is "causal".

Democritus .. says: By convention hot, by convention cold, but in reality atoms and void, and also in reality we know nothing, since the truth is at bottom.” (Fr. 117, Diogenes Laertius IX, 72).

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.