What did Wittgenstein mean by saying that

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This topic contains 74 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #30118

    Unseen
    Participant

    … the belief in the causal nexus is a superstition?

    What is the ontological status of a cause, anyway? Are causes real? In what sense?

    #30120

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    A cause is an event, and an effect is a consequence of that event.  Everything has multiple causes.

    One event leads to another.  A cause precedes an effect.  A cause and effect form a sequence of events.

    #30121

    Unseen
    Participant

    A cause is an event, and an effect is a consequence of that event. Everything has multiple causes. One event leads to another. A cause precedes an effect. A cause and effect form a sequence of events.

    So causality has no ontological status. It’s just a way of looking at two events. Sort of like an opinion. Where then is causal necessity?

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #30123

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Is this a case of philosophy delving into physics?

    #30124

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It’s just a way of looking at two events. Sort of like an opinion.

    The two events are linked because one event is a cause (one of many causes) of the other.

    A single cause, I would presume, is necessary (but not sufficient, since everything has multiple causes) for a result that forms in reality.  Reality could not be any other way than the way it is, given the events that preceded it, depending of course how chaotic reality is.

    #30125

    So causality has no ontological status…

    The lack of a question mark at the end of the above sentence has caused me to consider ransacking a library. Wittgenstein and his sentences on the meaning of words!! If only I had some a priori information of the question would its effect be lessened or if not would it have caused a greater lesson?

    #30126

    Unseen
    Participant

    If causality operates with necessity, as most of us probably believe, shouldn’t have more of a reality than just *

    If I drop a bowling ball, I expect it to drop. Is causality more than an expectation based on past experience?

    So, causal statements aren’t facts. Maybe that is what Wittgenstein meant.

    #30127

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If A helps to cause B, then the causality is a fact.

    #30128

    Unseen
    Participant

    If A helps to cause B, then the causality is a fact.

    If. That’s a big if.

    #30129

    _Robert_
    Participant

    If we bound a time period and have an accurate model of a system we can accurately predict the effects based on inputs (causes). However since we don’t know much about t=0 we end up with randomness (to us) and model complexities that can approach infinity in degrees of freedom and thus we have to resort to probabilities (based on data) to predict effects. With this combination of simpler bounded systems and knowledge of probabilities we can launch a rocket to the moon or derive a vaccine for the coronavirus. Maybe. Sometimes. Etc.

    The beliefs of a metaphysicist are immaterial.

    #30130

    Unseen
    Participant

    If we bound a time period and have an accurate model of a system we can accurately predict the effects based on inputs (causes). However since we don’t know much about t=0 we end up with randomness (to us) and model complexities that can approach infinity in degrees of freedom and thus we have to resort to probabilities (based on data) to predict effects. With this combination of simpler bounded systems and knowledge of probabilities we can launch a rocket to the moon or derive a vaccine for the coronavirus. Maybe. Sometimes. Etc.

    Sounds like your answer is that causality isn’t a fact at all, just a useful way of processing facts and formulating predictions. So, then, there’s no necessity involved.

    The beliefs of a metaphysicist are immaterial.

    Only if s/he’s an idealist. (philosophy joke)

    #30131

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Is what you mean, “what is causality?”  If B is a consequence of A, then A helps to cause B.

    #30134

    Unseen
    Participant

    Is what you mean, “what is causality?” If B is a consequence of A, then A helps to cause B.

    No, I’m asking What Wittgenstein meant by calling the belief in causality a superstition. How is it a superstition? What could he have meant by that?

    #30136

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Maybe he couldn’t work out how X causes Y, so he said there is no such thing.

    #30137

    Unseen
    Participant

    Maybe he couldn’t work out how X causes Y, so he said there is no such thing.

    A superstition is not a “no such thing” kind of thing. It is a false or unjustified or unjustifiable belief that could be false despite one’s belief.

    Look at several examples of causality:

    Heating water raises its temperature.

    Cigarettes cause cancer.

    I have a wart that’s causing me pain.

    Tom Steyer is a self-made man. (He caused his own success.)

    These examples of causality are different from each other. They don’t even all obey the temporal succession claim (example: the wart and its pain, as reported, are contemporaneous, not a temporal succession).

    So, what do we know about causality which makes it a fact and not just a belief?

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