Causation can’t not be real…

…if for no other reason than that any argument against causality presupposes that it will effect a change of mind in hearers/readers.

Humeans say that a thing’s causal role in the world is just a verbal placeholder based on human convention. The Aristotelian argument is much ‘tighter’ than that. It’s very nearly a deductive argument. I’m going to try to lay it out as I understand it, but I can already tell I will probably mangle or omit some premises.

1. Any cause C intrinsically contains its effect E. Such a C we shall call an effector C(E). AXIOM

2. If a cause C does not intrinsically contain its effect E, then C is not the proper cause of E (i.e. C is not the effector C(E)). AXIOM

3. Causes and effects exist. Causality is real (otherwise no logical entailment holds and even arguments against causality fail retorsively). AXIOM

4. Every thing T is known in virtue of its effects E(T) (otherwise how could T even be perceived, i.e. how could T causally impinge upon our senses?). AXIOM

5. From 1, 3 and 4, it follows that there exist things T(C(E)) that properly causally contain at least one effect E. MODUS PONENS

6. From 1 and 5 it follows that causation can only be real if things exist precisely as effectors T(C(E)). That is, causality per se can only be real if causes contain their effects. MODUS PONENS

7. This intrinsic possession of proper effects E:p we call final causation C:f. DEFINITION

8. If things T did not intrinsically cause their proper effects T(C(E)), then anything whatsoever E* would result from any prior sate of affairs C(*T). PREMISE

9. It is not the case that any and every thing T follows from anything C(*T); certain effects E follow certain C, based on the nature certain things N(T).

10. From the above, it follows that we can account for the reality of causation can only be real in virtue of the fact that causes C exhibit final causality C:f.


About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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