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Akilah

In regards to self-causality

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Now, I want to first make definition of that concept "cause"; for it seems to me that qua verb, a cause is the act of a thing creating another thing; e.g., when men say, "a dog barks" he means that the dog is creating bark(s). And so, cause qua noun identifies a thing that is the creator of another, as it is; and so, e.g., the dog is the cause of a bark (the dog creates barks)--and philosophy is the cause of history; i.e., it is only be means of philosophy that history exists, for philosophy creates history. And here, creation is the act of putting a thing into existence. 

And so, in regards to those things that are--what seems to me to be a peculiarity--self-caused, these are things which create themselves by no other means than themselves; however, I want to make clear here that I do not mean final causality in the Aristotelian conception of it; i.e., these here derive from my own original thinking on the matter. For in regards to the universe, a man may say, "the universe has a cause"; however, in the sense by which men seem to mean "cause" modernly would amount an extension of deterministic cause (i.e., that all things are the effects of other things; that all things are caused by previous things) as by whatever inclination they have in them, they conflate the concepts of determinism and causality with each other--they think determinism is causality and that causality necessitates determinism and so it goes. And so, when a man says, "the universe has a cause" their mind immediately hastens without doubt to conclude some other thing outside the universe as the cause of the universe; and in this lies the illumination in regards to the actual nature of determinism; for determinism is the rejection of but a single kind or species of cause; i.e., the rejection of self-causality. When we investigate the three modernly popular conceptions or positions on free will, we see that they all share this common premise of deterministic causality; i.e., both the determinist, compatibilist, and the libertarian accept without suspicion the deterministic premise of causality (that all things are effects of, or caused by previous things; for them, this is what it means to be a cause, and what causality is). But it is this premise of which I precisely call into question: are all things really caused by previous, other things? Or is there a class of things which need not to be caused by previous things? And therefore, in regards to the universe, the consistent determinist would then need to point to some mystic, supernatural entity which caused the universe (determinism leads us directly into mysticism, not on account of choice, but necessarily despite the determinists position that he is scientifically inclined, it couldn't be more untrue).

 

However, my primary question would be in regards to the kinds of things that would be self-caused (i.e., what kinds of things are self-caused?); I can imagine that the most rudimentary constituents of matter (of particles or whatever they are) would necessarily be self-caused as they cannot be analyzed further. 

And finally, in regards to free will, it seems that (just by means of observation) that the act of making a choice itself devoid of any content of that choice is self-caused--i.e., it is indeed caused (just as everything else is), but it exists by means of itself. 

Edited by Akilah

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While going over this, it brought to mind part of Galt's Speech:

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

If the word created is substitute for cause it yields this:

The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are created by entities. The nature of an action is created and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.

This leaves causality untouched, lest be introduced a law of creativity.

Does this strike near to what you are implying?

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I agree with the insight that determinism holds everything and anything can be a cause except for a person causing something about himself.  Determinists will even explain how persons can deterministically affect other persons by means of oppression or inflicting poverty or violence but will not accept a person deterministically affecting himself.  It is fallacious reasoning.

Self-causation applies to the actions and attributes of things that already exist.  An elementary particle or field is called into existence by a prior cause even if it is simple and cannot be analyzed into parts.  Even people are created biologically by prior parents.  The concept of a Universe which refers to everything must include its own cause, and so the Universe is self-caused by the principle that the set of all sets includes itself.

Finally, choices are to people as barks are to dogs.  Choices do not cause themselves.  Choices are actions, actions of prior existing entities, the people that make them.

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AKilah

 

Be careful not to ascribe causality (or self-causality) to the instantaneous metaphysical existence of anything. 

An electron does not cause its own metaphysical existence, it simply IS, neither do I cause myself to EXIST (at this very instant) by my act of sitting, I simply at this moment AM.

 

A cause presupposes an effect and an effect presupposes a change or action of at least some kind.

So generally speaking, changes or actions are what are caused, not metaphysical existence of things as such.  Conversion of energy into matter or the reverse, changes in orientation, position, velocity, configurations, and functions of natural constituents.  A leaf rots or a tree falls, or a star explodes.. all changes have causes.  The changes are caused (or self-caused), not the sheer existence of the natural stuff which undergoes those changes.

Not all change requires a cause even though all causes presuppose some change... a grain of sand flying through space. HAD a cause, but nothing causes it to continually BE or to continue to fly... it simply IS.

Of course my current state of being, the particular configuration of my constituents were caused (parents, evolution, atomic element formation in stars)... and my actions have causes (brain activity, neural signaling, biochemical reactions in muscles), but my metaphysical existence is not self-caused in the instant... I simply metaphysically AM.  This in no way contradicts the fact that I had to act yesterday in order to be alive today, or that if I do not act at all right now I will soon be dead (after I stop breathing... ). 

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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