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Encyclopedia > Causality

Causality or causation denotes the relationship between one event (called cause) and another event (called effect) which is the consequence (result) of the first. [1] Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Derived from public domain images featured at: http://commons. ... A result is the final consequence of a sequence of actions or events (broadly incidents and accidents) expressed qualitatively or quantitatively, being a loss, injury, disadvantage, advantage, gain, victory or simply a value. ...


This informal understanding suffices in everyday usage, however the philosophical analysis of causality or causation has proved exceedingly difficult. The work of philosophers to understand causality and how best to characterize it extends over millennia. In the western philosophical tradition explicit discussion stretches back at least as far as Aristotle, and the topic remains a staple in contemporary philosophy journals. Though cause and effect are most often held to relate events, other candidates include processes, properties, variables, facts, and states of affairs; which of these comprise the correct causal relata, and how best to characterize the nature of the relationship between them, has as yet no universally accepted answer, and remains under discussion. For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Look up event in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Illustration of a physical process: a geyser in action. Process (lat. ... The word property, in philosophy, mathematics, and logic, refers to an attribute of an object; thus a red object is said to have the property of redness. ... In computer science and mathematics, a variable (IPA pronunciation: ) (sometimes called a pronumeral) is a symbolic representation denoting a quantity or expression. ... For the trade organisation, see Federation Against Copyright Theft. ... State of affairs has some technical usages in philosophy, as well as being a phrase in everyday speech in English. ...


According to Sowa (2000),[2] up until the twentieth century, three assumptions described by Max Born in 1949 were dominant in the definition of causality: Max Born (December 11, 1882 in Breslau – January 5, 1970 in Göttingen) was a mathematician and physicist. ...

  1. "Causality postulates that there are laws by which the occurrence of an entity B of a certain class depends on the occurrence of an entity A of another class, where the word entity means any physical object, phenomenon, situation, or event. A is called the cause, B the effect.
  2. "Antecedence postulates that the cause must be prior to, or at least simultaneous with, the effect.
  3. "Contiguity postulates that cause and effect must be in spatial contact or connected by a chain of intermediate things in contact." (Born, 1949, as cited in Sowa, 2000)

However, according to Sowa (2000), "relativity and quantum mechanics have forced physicists to abandon these assumptions as exact statements of what happens at the most fundamental levels, but they remain valid at the level of human experience."[2] For other uses, see Phenomena (disambiguation). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

History

Hindu philosophy

The Upanishads (namely Chandogya Upanishad, Sarva Sara Upanishad and Mandukya Upanishad) and some other texts (namely Brahma Sutras, Yoga Vashishta, Avadhuta Gita and Ashtavakra Gita) mention causality. However, causality therein is limited to explanations of the creation of the universe. The idea of causality is not itself the subject of study in these scriptures. The Upanishads (उपनिषद्, Upanişad) are part of the Hindu Shruti scriptures which primarily discuss meditation and philosophy and are seen as religious instructions by most schools of Hinduism. ... The Chandogya Upanishad is one of the main ten Upanishads of Hinduism. ... MāndÅ«kya Upanishad is one of the shortest Upanishads, that form of the revealed, so called metaphysical, parts of the Vedic texts, the Vedas. ... The Brahma sÅ«tras, also called Vedānta SÅ«tras, constitute the Nyāya prasthāna, the logical starting point of the Vedānta philosophy (Nyāya = logic/order). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The ancient scriptures and commentaries on these scriptures have the following common themes with regard to causation:

  • "Cause is the effect concealed, effect is the cause revealed" which is also expressed as "Cause is the effect unmanifested, effect is the cause manifested"[3]
  • Effect is same as cause only.[4]

Western philosophy

Aristotle

In Metaphysics and Posterior Analytics, Aristotle said: "All causes of things are beginnings; that we have scientific knowledge when we know the cause; that to know a thing's existence is to know the reason why it is". This formulation set the guidelines for subsequent causal theories by specifying the number, nature, principles, elements, varieties, order of causes as well as the modes of causation. Aristotle's account of the causes of things is a comprehensive model. Aristotle's theory enumerates the possible causes which fall into several wide groups, amounting to the ways the question "why" may be answered; namely, by reference to the material worked upon (as by an artisan) or what might be called the substratum; to the essence, i.e., the pattern, the form, or the structure by reference to which the "matter" or "substratum" is to be worked; to the primary moving agent of change or the agent and its action; and to the goal, the plan, the end, or the good that the figurative artisan intended to obtain. As a result, the major kinds of causes come under the following divisions: Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... Posterior Analytics (or Analytica Posteriora) is a text by Aristotle. ... This article is about the philosopher. ...

  • The material cause is that "raw material" from which a thing is produced as from its parts, constituents, substratum, or materials. This rubric limits the explanation of cause to the parts (the factors, elements, constituents, ingredients) forming the whole (the system, structure, compound, complex, composite, or combination) (the part-whole causation).
  • The formal cause tells us what, by analogy to the plans of an artisan, a thing is intended and planned to be. Any thing is thought to be determined by its definition, form (mold), pattern, essence, whole, synthesis, or archetype. This analysis embraces the account of causes in terms of fundamental principles or general laws, as the intended whole (macrostructure) is the cause that explains the production of its parts (the whole-part causation).
  • The efficient cause is that external entity from which the change or the ending of the change first starts. It identifies 'what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed' and so suggests all sorts of agents, nonliving or living, acting as the sources of change or movement or rest. Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this analysis covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent, agency, particular causal events, or the relevant causal states of affairs.
  • The final cause is that for the sake of which a thing exists, or is done - including both purposeful and instrumental actions. The final cause, or telos, is the purpose, or end, that something is supposed to serve; or it is that from which, and that to which, the change is. This analysis also covers modern ideas of mental causation involving such psychological causes as volition, need, motivation, or motives; rational, irrational, ethical - all that gives purpose to behavior.

Additionally, things can be causes of one another, reciprocally causing each other, as hard work causes fitness, and vice versa - although not in the same way or by means of the same function: the one is as the beginning of change, the other is as its goal. (Thus Aristotle first suggested a reciprocal or circular causality - as a relation of mutual dependence, action, or influence of cause and effect.) Also; Aristotle indicated that the same thing can be the cause of contrary effects - as its presence and absence may result in different outcomes. In speaking thus he formulated what currently is ordinarily termed a "causal factor," e.g., atmospheric pressure as it affects chemical or physical reactions. The Material Cause, that out of which the statue is made, is the marble or bronze. ... Formal cause is a concept used by Aristotle, and originates from the idea of the form by Plato and Socrates. ... The efficient cause is a philosophical concept proposed by Aristotle. ... Purpose is deliberately thought-through goal-directedness. ...


Aristotle marked two modes of causation: proper (prior) causation and accidental (chance) causation. All causes, proper and incidental, can be spoken as potential or as actual, particular or generic. The same language refers to the effects of causes; so that generic effects assigned to generic causes, particular effects to particular causes, and operating causes to actual effects. It is also essential that ontological causality does not suggest the temporal relation of before and after - between the cause and the effect; that spontaneity (in nature) and chance (in the sphere of moral actions) are among the causes of effects belonging to the efficient causation, and that no incidental, spontaneous, or chance cause can be prior to a proper, real, or underlying cause per se.


All investigations of causality coming later in history will consist in imposing a favorite hierarchy on the order (priority) of causes; such as "final > efficient > material > formal" (Aquinas), or in restricting all causality to the material and efficient causes or, to the efficient causality (deterministic or chance), or just to regular sequences and correlations of natural phenomena (the natural sciences describing how things happen rather than asking why they happen).


Causality, determinism, and existentialism

The deterministic world-view is one in which the universe is no more than a chain of events following one after another according to the law of cause and effect. To hold this worldview, as an incompatibilist, there is no such thing as "free will". However, compatibilists argue that determinism is compatible with, or even necessary for, free will. Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ... For other uses, see Universe (disambiguation). ... A world view (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung (pronounced ) Welt is the German word for world, and Anschauung is the German word for view or outlook. It implies a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. ... Compatibilism, also known as soft determinism and most famously championed by Hume, is a theory which holds that free will and determinism are compatible. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... Compatibilism, also known as soft determinism and most famously championed by Hume, is a theory which holds that free will and determinism are compatible. ...


Learning to bear the burden of a meaningless universe, and justify one's own existence, is the first step toward becoming the "Übermensch" (English: "overman" or "superman") that Nietzsche speaks of extensively in his philosophical writings. Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ...


Existentialists have suggested that people have the courage to accept that while no meaning has been designed in the universe, we each can provide a meaning for ourselves. Existentialism is a philosophical movement which claims that individual human beings create the meanings and essence of their own lives. ...


Though philosophers have pointed out the difficulties in establishing theories of the validity of causal relations, there is yet the plausible example of causation afforded daily which is our own ability to be the cause of events. This concept of causation does not prevent seeing ourselves as moral agents. This article is about the use of the moral in storytelling. ...


Logic

Necessary and sufficient causes

A similar concept occurs in logic, for this see Necessary and sufficient conditions

Causes are often distinguished into two types: Necessary and sufficient. This article discusses only the formal meanings of necessary and sufficient causal meanings see causation. ...


Necessary causes:


If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.


Sufficient causes:


If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x.


J. L. Mackie argues that usual talk of "cause", in fact, refers to INUS conditions (insufficient and non-redundant parts of unnecessary but sufficient causes). For example; consider the short circuit as a cause of the house burning down. Consider the collection of events, the short circuit, the proximity of flammable material, and the absence of firefighters. Considered together these are unnecessary but sufficient to the house's destruction (since many other collection of events certainly could have destroyed the house). Within this collection; the short circuit is an insufficient but non-redundant part (since the short circuit by itself would not cause the fire, but the fire will not happen without it). So the short circuit is an INUS cause of the house burning down. For other people named John Mackie, see John Mackie. ... Causality or causation denotes the relationship between one event (called cause) and another event (called effect) which is the consequence (result) of the first. ...

Causality contrasted with conditionals

Conditional statements are not statements of causality. Since many different statements may be presented using "If...then..." in English, they are commonly confused; they are distinct, however. Look up conditional in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


For example all of the following statements are true interpreting "If... then..." as the material conditional:

  1. If George Bush was president of the United States in 2004, then Germany is in Europe.
  2. If George Washington was president of the United States in 2004, then Germany is in Europe.
  3. If George Washington was president of the United States in 2004, then Germany is not in Europe.

The first is true since both the antecedent and the consequent are true. The second is true because the antecedent is false and the consequent is true. The third is true because both the consequent and antecedent are both false. These statement are trivial examples. Of course, none of these statements express a causal connection between the antecedent and consequent, but they are true because they do not have the combination of having both true antecedent and false consequent. An antecedent is the first half of a hypothetical proposition. ... A consequent is the second half of a hypothetical proposition. ...


The ordinary indicative conditional seems to have some more structure than the material conditional - for instance, none of the three statements above seem to be correct under an ordinary indicative reading, though the first is closest. But the sentence The indicative conditional is the logical operation given by statements of the form If A then B in ordinary English (or similar natural languages). ...

  • If Shakespeare didn't write Macbeth then someone else did.

seems to be true, even though there is no straightforward causal relation (in this hypothetical situation) between Shakespeare's not writing Macbeth and someone else's actually writing it.


Another sort of conditional, known as the counterfactual conditional has a stronger connection with causality. However, not even all counterfactual statements count as examples of causality. Consider the following two statements: A counterfactual conditional (sometimes called a subjunctive conditional) is a logical conditional statement whose antecedent is (ordinarily) taken to be contrary to fact by those who utter it. ...

  1. If A were a triangle, then A would have three sides.
  2. If switch S were thrown, then bulb B would light.

In the first case it would not be correct to say that A's being a triangle caused it to have three sides, since the relationship between triangularity and three-sidedness is one of definition. It is actually the three sides that determine A's state as a triangle. Nonetheless, even interpreted counterfactually, the first statement is true.


Theories

Counterfactual theories

The philosopher David Lewis notably suggested that all statements about causality can be understood as counterfactual statements.[5][6][7] So, for instance, the statement that John's smoking caused his premature death is equivalent to saying that had John not smoked he would not have prematurely died. (In addition, it need also be true that John did smoke and did prematurely die, although this requirement is not unique to Lewis' theory.) David K. Lewis David Kellogg Lewis (September 28, 1941 – October 14, 2001) is considered to have been one of the leading analytic philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century. ... A counterfactual conditional (sometimes called a subjunctive conditional) is a logical conditional statement whose antecedent is (ordinarily) taken to be contrary to fact by those who utter it. ...


Translating causal into counterfactual statements would only be beneficial if the latter were less problematic than the former. This is indeed the case, as is demonstrated by the structural account of counterfactual conditionals devised by the computer scientist Judea Pearl (2000).[8] This account provides clear semantics and effective algorithms for computing counterfactuals which, in contrast to Lewis' closest world semantics does not rely on the ambiguous notion of similarity among worlds. For instance, one can compute unambiguously the probability that John would be alive had he not smoked given that, in reality, John did smoke and did die. The quest for a counterfactual interpretation of causal statements is therefore justified. A counterfactual conditional (sometimes called a subjunctive conditional) is a logical conditional statement whose antecedent is (ordinarily) taken to be contrary to fact by those who utter it. ... Judea Pearl is a computer science professor at UCLA. He was one of the pioneers of Bayesian networks and the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence. ...


One problem Lewis' theory confronts is causal preemption. Suppose that John did smoke and did in fact die as a result of that smoking. However, there was a murderer who was bent on killing John, and would have killed him a second later had he not first died from smoking. Here we still want to say that smoking caused John's death. This presents a problem for Lewis' theory since, had John not smoked, he still would have died prematurely. Lewis himself discusses this example, and it has received substantial discussion (cf.[9][10][11]). A structural solution to this problem has been given in [Halpern and Pearl, 2005].[12]


Probabilistic causation

Interpreting causation as a deterministic relation means that if A causes B, then A must always be followed by B. In this sense, war does not cause deaths, nor does smoking cause cancer. As a result, many turn to a notion of probabilistic causation. Informally, A probabilistically causes B if A's occurrence increases the probability of B. This is sometimes interpreted to reflect imperfect knowledge of a deterministic system but other times interpreted to mean that the causal system under study has an inherently chancy nature. Philosophers such as Hugh Mellor[13] and Patrick Suppes[14] have defined causation in terms of a cause preceding and increasing the probability of the effect. (Additionally, Mellor claims that cause and effect are both facts - not events - since even a non-event, such as the failure of a train to arrive, can cause effects such as my taking the bus. Suppes, by contrast, relies on events defined set-theoretically, and much of his discussion is informed by this terminology.) Put simply, causal determinism expresses the belief that every effect has a cause, and therefore science, pursued diligently enough, will explain all natural phenomena and thus produce a TOE (Theory of Everything). ... The cigarette is the most common method of smoking tobacco. ... Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these to spread, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion, or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis (where cancer cells are transported through the bloodstream or lymphatic system). ... Hugh Mellor (D. H. Mellor) is an Australian-born British philosopher. ... Patrick Colonel Suppes (b. ...


The establishing of cause and effect, even with this relaxed reading, is notoriously difficult, expressed by the widely accepted statement "correlation does not imply causation". For instance, the observation that smokers have a dramatically increased lung cancer rate does not establish that smoking must be a cause of that increased cancer rate: maybe there exists a certain genetic defect which both causes cancer and a yearning for nicotine; or even perhaps nicotine craving is a symptom of very early-stage lung cancer which is not otherwise detectable. Correlation implies causation, also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for with this, therefore because of this) and false cause, is a logical fallacy by which two events that occur together are claimed to be cause and effect. ...


In statistics, it is generally accepted that observational studies (like counting cancer cases among smokers and among non-smokers and then comparing the two) can give hints, but can never establish cause and effect. However, qualitative causal assumptions (e.g., absence of causation between some variables) may permit the establishment of some cause effect relationships from observational studies.[15] This article is about the field of statistics. ...


The gold standard for causation here is the randomized experiment: take a large number of people, randomly divide them into two groups, force one group to smoke and prohibit the other group from smoking, then determine whether one group develops a significantly higher lung cancer rate. Random assignment plays a crucial role in the inference to causation because, in the long run, it renders the two groups equivalent in terms of all other possible effects on the outcome (cancer) so that any changes in the outcome will reflect only the manipulation (smoking). Obviously, for ethical reasons this experiment cannot be performed, but the method is widely applicable for less damaging experiments. One limitation of experiments, however, is that whereas they do a good job of testing for the presence of some causal effect they do less well at estimating the size of that effect in a population of interest. (This is a common criticism of studies of safety of food additives that use doses much higher than people consuming the product would actually ingest.) In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, of (or from) trying) is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ...


That said, under certain assumptions, parts of the causal structure among several variables can be learned from full covariance or case data by the techniques of path analysis and more generally, Bayesian networks. Generally these inference algorithms search through the many possible causal structures among the variables, and remove ones which are strongly incompatible with the observed correlations. In general this leaves a set of possible causal relations, which should then be tested by designing appropriate experiments. If experimental data is already available, the algorithms can take advantage of that as well. In contrast with Bayesian Networks, path analysis and its generalization, structural equation modeling, serve better to estimate a known causal effect or test a causal model than to generate causal hypotheses. In probability theory and statistics, the covariance between two real-valued random variables X and Y, with expected values and is defined as: where E is the expected value. ... In statistics, path analysis is a type of multiple regression analysis. ... A Bayesian network (or a belief network) is a probabilistic graphical model that represents a set of variables and their probabilistic dependencies. ... In computer science and mathematics, a variable (IPA pronunciation: ) (sometimes called a pronumeral) is a symbolic representation denoting a quantity or expression. ... Positive linear correlations between 1000 pairs of numbers. ... In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, of (or from) trying) is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ... In mathematics, computing, linguistics, and related disciplines, an algorithm is a finite list of well-defined instructions for accomplishing some task that, given an initial state, will terminate in a defined end-state. ...


For nonexperimental data, causal direction can be hinted if information about time is available. This is because (according to many, though not all, theories) causes must precede their effects temporally. This can be set up by simple linear regression models, for instance, with an analysis of covariance in which baseline and follow up values are known for a theorized cause and effect. The addition of time as a variable, though not proving causality, is a big help in supporting a pre-existing theory of causal direction. For instance, our degree of confidence in the direction and nature of causality is much clearer with a longitudinal epidemiologic study than with a cross-sectional one.


Derivation theories

The Nobel Prize holder Herbert Simon and Philosopher Nicholas Rescher[16] claim that the asymmetry of the causal relation is unrelated to the asymmetry of any mode of implication that contraposes. Rather, a causal relation is not a relation between values of variables, but a function of one variable (the cause) on to another (the effect). So, given a system of equations, and a set of variables appearing in these equations, we can introduce an asymmetric relation among individual equations and variables that corresponds perfectly to our commonsense notion of a causal ordering. The system of equations must have certain properties, most importantly, if some values are chosen arbitrarily, the remaining values will be determined uniquely through a path of serial discovery that is perfectly causal. They postulate the inherent serialization of such a system of equations may correctly capture causation in all empirical fields, including physics and economics. Herbert Alexander Simon (June 15, 1916 – February 9, 2001) was an American political scientist whose research ranged across the fields of cognitive psychology, computer science, public administration, economics, management, and philosophy of science and a professor, most notably, at Carnegie Mellon University. ... Nicholas Rescher (born July 15, 1928 in Hagen, Germany) is an American philosopher, affiliated for many years with the University of Pittsburgh, where he is currently University Professor of Philosophy and Chairman of the Center for the Philosophy of Science. ...


Manipulation theories

Some theorists have equated causality with manipulability.[17][18][19][20] Under these theories, x causes y just in case one can change x in order to change y. This coincides with commonsense notions of causations, since often we ask causal questions in order to change some feature of the world. For instance, we are interested in knowing the causes of crime so that we might find ways of reducing it.


These theories have been criticized on two primary grounds. First, theorists complain that these accounts are circular. Attempting to reduce causal claims to manipulation requires that manipulation is more basic than causal interaction. But describing manipulations in non-causal terms has provided a substantial difficulty. A circular definition is one that assumes a prior understanding of the term being defined. ...


The second criticism centers around concerns of anthropocentrism. It seems to many people that causality is some existing relationship in the world that we can harness for our desires. If causality is identified with our manipulation, then this intuition is lost. In this sense, it makes humans overly central to interactions in the world. Anthropocentrism (Greek άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, κέντρον, kentron, center), or the human-centered principle, refers to the idea that humanity must always remain the central concern for humans. ...


Some attempts to save manipulability theories are recent accounts that don't claim to reduce causality to manipulation. These account use manipulation as a sign or feature in causation without claiming that manipulation is more fundamental than causation.[15][21]


Process theories

Some theorists are interested in distinguishing between causal processes and non-causal processes (Russell 1948; Salmon 1984).[22][23] These theorists often want to distinguish between a process and a pseudo-process. As an example, a ball moving through the air (a process) is contrasted with the motion of a shadow (a pseudo-process). The former is causal in nature while the latter is not.


Salmon (1984)[22] claims that causal processes can be identified by their ability to transmit an alteration over space and time. An alteration of the ball (a mark by a pen, perhaps) is carried with it as the ball goes through the air. On the other hand an alteration of the shadow (insofar as it is possible) will not be transmitted by the shadow as it moves along.


These theorists claim that the important concept for understanding causality is not causal relationships or causal interactions, but rather identifying causal processes. The former notions can then be defined in terms of causal processes.


Fields

Science

Using the scientific method, scientists set up experiments to determine causality in the physical world. Certain elemental forces such as gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and electromagnetism are said to be the four fundamental forces which are the causes of all other events in the universe. The issue of to what degree a scientific experiment is replicable, however, has been often raised but rarely addressed[citation needed]. The fact that no experiment is entirely replicable questions some core assumptions in science. Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... In the scientific method, an experiment (Latin: ex- periri, of (or from) trying) is a set of observations performed in the context of solving a particular problem or question, to support or falsify a hypothesis or research concerning phenomena. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... The strong interaction or strong force is today understood to represent the interactions between quarks and gluons as detailed by the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). ... The weak interaction (often called the weak force or sometimes the weak nuclear force) is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature. ... Electromagnetic interaction is a fundamental force of nature and is felt by charged leptons and quarks. ...


In addition, many scientists in a variety of fields disagree that experiments are necessary to determine causality. For example, the link between smoking and lung cancer is considered proven by health agencies of the United States government, but experimental methods (for example, randomized controlled trials) were not used to establish that link. This view has been controversial. In addition, many philosophers are beginning to turn to more relativized notions of causality. Rather than providing a theory of causality in toto, they opt to provide a theory of causality in biology or causality in physics. This page lists English translations of several Latin phrases and abbreviations, such as and . ...


Physics

Main article: Causality (physics)

Causality is hard to interpret to ordinary language from many different physical theories. One problem is typified by the moon's gravity. It isn't accurate to say, "the moon exerts a gravitic pull and then the tides rise." In Newtonian mechanics gravity, rather, is a law expressing a constant observable relationship among masses, and the movement of the tides is an example of that relationship. There are no discrete events or "pulls" that can be said to precede the rising of tides. Interpreting gravity causally is even more complicated in general relativity. Another important implication of Causality in physics is its intimate connection to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (see the fluctuation theorem). Quantum mechanics is yet another branch of physics in which the nature of causality is somewhat unclear. Causality describes the relationship between causes and effects, and is fundamental to all natural science, especially physics. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Classical mechanics. ... For a less technical and generally accessible introduction to the topic, see Introduction to general relativity. ... The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the universal law of increasing entropy. ... The fluctuation theorem (FT) is a theorem from statistical mechanics dealing with the relative probability that the entropy of a system which is currently away from thermodynamic equilibrium (maximum entropy) will increase or decrease over a given amount of time. ... For a less technical and generally accessible introduction to the topic, see Introduction to quantum mechanics. ...


Engineering

A causal system is a system with output and internal states that depends only on the current and previous input values. A system that has some dependence on input values from the future (in addition to possible past or current input values) is termed an acausal system, and a system that depends solely on future input values is an anticausal system. A causal system is a system that depends only on the current and previous inputs. ... For other uses, see System (disambiguation). ... An acausal system is a system that depends on both the past and the future. ...


Biology and medicine

A. B. Hill built upon the work of Hume and Popper and suggested that the following aspects of an association be considered in attempting to distinguish causal from noncausal associations: 1) strength, 2) consistency, 3) specificity, 4) temporality, 5) biological gradient, 6) plausibility, 7) coherence, 8) experimental evidence, and 9) analogy.[24] This article is about the philosopher. ... Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, FRS, FBA, (July 28, 1902 – September 17, 1994), was an Austrian and British[1] philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics. ...


Psychology

The above theories are attempts to define a reflectively stable notion of causality. This process uses our standard causal intuitions to develop a theory that we would find satisfactory in identifying causes. Another avenue of research is to empirically investigate how people (and non-human animals) learn and reason about causal relations in the world. This approach is taken by work in psychology. Reflective equilibrium is a state of balance or coherence among a set of beliefs arrived at by a process of deliberative mutual adjustment among general principles and particular judgments. ... Psychological science redirects here. ...


Attribution


Attribution theory is the theory concerning how people explain individual occurrences of causation. Attribution can be external (assigning causality to an outside agent or force - claiming that some outside thing motivated the event) or internal (assigning causality to factors within the person - taking personal responsibility or accountability for one's actions and claiming that the person was directly responsible for the event). Taking causation one step further, the type of attribution a person provides influences their future behavior. Attribution theory is a social psychology theory developed by Fritz Heider, Harold Kelley, Edward E. Jones, and Lee Ross. ... The word theory has a number of distinct meanings in different fields of knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. ... Attribution is concept in social psychology. ... Almanac · Categories · Glossaries · Lists · Overviews · Portals · Questions · Site news · Index Art | Culture | Geography | Health | History | Mathematics | People | Philosophy | Science | Society | Technology Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written by its users in over 200 languages worldwide. ... Accountability is a concept in ethics with several meanings. ...


The intention behind the cause or the effect can be covered by the subject of action (philosophy). See also accident; blame; intent; and responsibility. Action, as a concept in philosophy, is what an agent can do, as for instance humans as agents can do. ... A railing accidentally collapses at a college football game, spilling fans onto the sidelines An accident is something going wrong unexpectedly. ... To blame is to hold another person or group responsible for perceived faults, be those faults real, imagined, or merely invented for pejorative purposes. ... Intent in law is the planning and desire to perform an act. ... Look up responsibility in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Causal powers


Whereas David Hume argued that causes are inferred from non-causal observations, Immanuel Kant claimed that people have innate assumptions about causes. Within psychology, Patricia Cheng (1997)[25] attempted to reconcile the Humean and Kantian views. According to her power PC theory, people filter observations of events through a basic belief that causes have the power to generate (or prevent) their effects, thereby inferring specific cause-effect relations. The theory assumes probabilistic causation. This article is about the philosopher. ... Kant redirects here. ... Patricia W. Cheng (born 1952) is a leading researcher in cognitive psychology who works on human reasoning. ...


Causation and salience


Our view of causation depends on what we consider to be the relevant events. Another way to view the statement, "Lightning causes thunder" is to see both lightning and thunder as two perceptions of the same event, viz., an electric discharge that we perceive first visually and then aurally.


Naming and causality


While the names we give objects often refer to their appearance, they can also refer to an object's causal powers - what that object can do, the effects it has on other objects or people. David Sobel and Alison Gopnik from the Psychology Department of UC Berkeley designed a device known as the blicket detector which suggests that "when causal property and perceptual features are equally evident, children are equally as likely to use causal powers as they are to use perceptual properties when naming objects".


Humanities

History

In the discussion of history, events are often considered as if in some way being agents that can then bring about other historical events. Thus, the combination of poor harvests, the hardships of the peasants, high taxes, lack of representation of the people, and kingly ineptitude are among the causes of the French Revolution. This is a somewhat Platonic and Hegelian view that reifies causes as ontological entities. In Aristotelian terminology, this use approximates to the case of the efficient cause. The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (IPA: ) (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher and, with Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, one of the representatives of German idealism. ... Reification, also called hypostatization, is treating a concept, an abstraction, as if it were a real, concrete thing. ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ...


Law

Main article: causation (law)

According to law and jurisprudence, legal cause must be demonstrated in order to hold a defendant liable for a crime or a tort (ie. a civil wrong such as negligence or trespass). It must be proven that causality, or a 'sufficient causal link' relates the defendant's actions to the criminal event or damage in question. Causation is the bringing about of a result, and in law it is an element in various tests for legal liability. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... For the jurisprudence of courts, see Case law. ... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ... Not to be confused with torte, an iced cake. ...


Religion and theology

Cosmological argument


One of the classic arguments for the existence of God is known as the "Cosmological argument" or "First cause" argument. It works from the premise that every natural event is the effect of a cause. If this is so, then the events that caused today's events must have had causes themselves, which must have had causes, and so forth. If the chain never ends, then one must uphold the hypothesis of an "actual infinite", which is often regarded as problematic, see Hilbert's paradox of the Grand Hotel. If the chain does end, it must end with a non-natural or supernatural cause at the start of the natural world -- e.g. a creation by God. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Existence of God. ... The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ... Hilberts paradox of the Grand Hotel was a mathematical paradox about infinity presented by German mathematician David Hilbert (1862 – 1943): In a hotel with a finite number of rooms, it is clear that once it is full, no more guests can be accommodated. ...


Sometimes the argument is made in non-temporal terms. The chain doesn't go back in time, it goes downward into the ever-more enduring facts, and thus toward the timeless. While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existing for an infinite, i. ... While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existing for an infinite, i. ...


Two questions that can help to focus the argument are:

  1. What is an event without cause?
  2. How does an event without a cause occur?

Critics of this argument point out problems with it. The cosmological argument is a metaphysical argument for the existence of God, traditionally known as an argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, and also as an uncaused cause argument. ...


A question related to this argument is which came first, The chicken or the egg? The chicken or the egg is a reference to the causality dilemma which arises from the expression which came first, the chicken or the egg? Since the chicken emerges from an egg, and the egg is laid by a chicken, it is ambiguous which originally gave rise to the other. ...


Karma


Karma is the belief held by some major religions that a person's actions cause certain effects in the current life and/or in future life, positively or negatively. For other uses, see Karma (disambiguation). ... This article is about the theological concept. ...


For example, if a person always does good deeds then it is believed that he or she will be "rewarded" for his or her behavior with fortunate events such as avoiding fatal accident or winning the lottery. If he or she always commits antagonistic behaviors, then it is believed that he will be punished with unfortunate events.


Reverse causality


Destiny might be considered reverse causality in that a cause is predated by an effect; e.g., "I found a twenty dollar bill on the ground because later I would need it." For other uses, see Destiny (disambiguation). ...


Some modern religious movements have postulated along the lines of philosophical idealism that causality is actually reversed from the direction normally presumed, [citation needed] and that causality does not proceed inward, from external random causes toward effects on a perceiving individual, but rather outward, from a perceiving individual's causative mental requests toward responsive external physical effects that only seem to be independent causes. Such thought gives rise to new causality principles such as the doctrine of responsibility assumption. A new religious movement or NRM is a term used to refer to a religious faith, or an ethical, spiritual or philosophical movement of recent origin that isnt part of an established denomination, church, or religious body. ... This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedias quality standards. ... Responsibility assumption is a doctrine in the spirituality and personal growth fields holding that each individual has substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that befall them in their life. ...


See also

Statistics:

Philosophy: A causal loop diagram(CLD) is a diagram that aids in visualizing how interrelated variables affect one another. ... The Markov condition for a Bayesian network states that the any node in a Bayesian network is conditionally independent of its nondescendents, given its parents. ... Condition of possibility is a philosophical concept first used by Kant. ... Correlation does not imply causation is a phrase used in the sciences and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not imply there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the two. ... The first statistician to consider a methodology for the design of experiments was Sir Ronald A. Fisher. ... “Random” redirects here. ... The Rubin Causal Model (RCM) is an approach to the statistical analysis of cause and effect based on the framework of RCM is named after its originator, Donald Rubin, Professor of Statistics at Harvard University. ...

Psychology and Medicine: Etiology (alternately aetiology, aitiology) is the study of Greek words aitia = cause and logos = word/speech) is used in philosophy, physics and biology in reference to the causes of various phenomena. ... The chicken or the egg is a reference to the causality dilemma which arises from the expression which came first, the chicken or the egg? Since the chicken emerges from an egg, and the egg is laid by a chicken, it is ambiguous which originally gave rise to the other. ... Determinism is the philosophical proposition that every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. ... The efficient cause is a philosophical concept proposed by Aristotle. ... Purpose is deliberately thought-through goal-directedness. ... Free-Will is a Japanese independent record label founded in 1986. ... A predestination paradox, also called either a causal loop, or a causality loop and (less frequently) either a closed loop or closed time loop, is a paradox of time travel that is often used as a convention in science fiction. ... The Material Cause, that out of which the statue is made, is the marble or bronze. ... Mills Methods are five methods of induction described by philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1843 book A System of Logic. ... This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... An ontological paradox is a paradox of time travel that questions the existence and creation of information and objects that travel in time. ... The West Wing, see Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (The West Wing). ... For the notion of proximate cause in law, see proximate cause. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Sociology: Adverse effect, in medicine, is an abnormal, harmful, undesired and/or unintended side-effect, although not necessarily unexpected, which is obtained as the result of a therapy or other medical intervention, such as drug/chemotherapy, physical therapy, surgery, medical procedure, use of a medical device, etc. ... Force Dynamics is a semantic category that describes the way in which entities interact with reference to force. ... In health care, including medicine, a clinical trial (synonyms: clinical studies, research protocols, medical research) is a process in which a medicine or other medical treatment is tested for its safety and effectiveness, often in comparison to existing treatments. ... Ancient Greek painting in a vase, showing a physician (iatros) bleeding a patient. ... // In its original application, nocebo had a very specific meaning in the medical domains of pharmacology, and nosology, and aetiology. ... The technical term placebo is precisely applied in the specialized medical domains of pharmacology, nosology, and aetiology to denote the pharmacologically inert, dummy simulator of an active drug that serves as a scientific control in clinical trials designed to determine the clinical efficacy of that particular drug. ... A so-called sugar pill is a pill containing no medical ingredient; this pill is given to half of the subjects of a double-blind drug trial. ... A scientific control augments integrity in experiments by isolating variables as dictated by the scientific method in order to make a conclusion about such variables. ... A person is deemed to be suggestible if they accept and act on suggestions by others. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Physics: Granger causality is a technique for determining whether one time series is useful in forecasting another. ... In statistics, linear regression is a regression method that models the relationship between a dependent variable Y, independent variables Xi, i = 1, ..., p, and a random term ε. The model can be written as Example of linear regression with one dependent and one independent variable. ... A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

General In physics and cosmology, the anthropic principle states that we should take into account the constraints that our existence as observers imposes on the sort of universe that we could observe. ... Point attractors in 2D phase space. ... A chain reaction is a sequence of reactions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions. ... The grandfather paradox is a paradox of time travel, first described by the science fiction writer René Barjavel in his 1943 book Le Voyageur Imprudent (The Imprudent Traveller).[1] The paradox is this: Suppose a man traveled back in time and killed his biological grandfather before the latter met the... Schrödingers Cat: When the nucleus (bottom left) decays, the Geiger counter (bottom centre) may sense it and trigger the release of the gas. ... A causal system is a system that depends only on the current and previous inputs. ... In signal processing, a causal filter is one whose output depends only on past and present inputs. ...

References

  1. ^ Random House Unabridged Dictionary
  2. ^ a b Processes and Causality by John F. Sowa, retrieved Dec. 5, 2006.
  3. ^ Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and Yoga Vashishta.
  4. ^ Sankaracharya's commentary on Bhagvad Gita
  5. ^ Lewis, David. (1973) "Causality." The Journal of Philosophy 70:556-567.
  6. ^ Lewis, David. (1979) "Counterfactual Dependence and Time's Arrow" Noûs 13: 445-476.
  7. ^ Lewis, David. (2000) "Causation as Influence" The Journal of Philosophy 97: 182-197.
  8. ^ Pearl, Judea (2000). Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference, Cambridge University Press
  9. ^ Bunzl, Martin. (1980) "Causal Preemption and Counterfactuals." Philosophical Studies 37: 115-124
  10. ^ Ganeri, Jonardon, Paul Noordhof, and Murali Ramachandran. (1996) "Counterfactuals and Preemptive Causation" Analysis 56(4): 219-225.
  11. ^ Paul, L.A. (1998) "Problems with Late Preemption" Analysis 58(1): 48-53.
  12. ^ Halpern and Pearl (2005), "Actual Causality," Part I, British Journal of Philosophy of Science, 56:843-887.
  13. ^ Mellor, D.H. (1995) The Facts of Causation, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-19756-2
  14. ^ Suppies, P. (1970) A Probabilistic Theory of Causality, Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company
  15. ^ a b Pearl, Judea (2000) Causality, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-77362-8
  16. ^ Simon, Herbert, and Rescher, Nicholas (1966) "Cause and Counterfactual." Philosophy of Science 33: 323–40.
  17. ^ Collingwood, R.(1940) An Essay on Metaphysics. Clarendon Press.
  18. ^ Gasking, D. (1955) "Causation and Recipes" Mind (64): 479-487.
  19. ^ Menzies, P. and H. Price (1993) "Causation as a Secondary Quality" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (44): 187-203.
  20. ^ von Wright, G.(1971) Explanation and Understanding. Cornell University Press.
  21. ^ Woodward, James (2003) Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-515527-0
  22. ^ a b Salmon, W. (1984) Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World. Princeton University Press.
  23. ^ Russell, B. (1948) Human Knowledge. Simon and Schuster.
  24. ^ Hill, A. B. (1965). "The environment and disease: association or causation?". Proc R Soc Med 58: 295-300. 
  25. ^ Cheng, P.W. (1997). "From Covariation to Causation: A Causal Power Theory." Psychological Review 104: 367-405.

Other references

  • Judea Pearl (2000) Causality: Models of Reasoning and Inference [1] Cambridge University Press ISBN-13: 978-0521773621
  • Spirtes, Peter, Clark Glymour and Richard Scheines Causation, Prediction, and Search, MIT Press, ISBN 0-262-19440-6
  • Abdoullaev, A. (2000)The Ultimate of Reality: Reversible Causality, in Proceedings of the 20th World Congress of Philosophy, Boston: Philosophy Documentation Centre, internet site, Paideia Project On-Line: http://www.bu.edu/wcp/MainMeta.htm
  • Green, Celia (2003). The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Oxford Forum. ISBN 0-9536772-1-4 Includes three chapters on causality at the microlevel in physics.

External links

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

General

  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Causation
  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Causation in Law
  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Causation in History

  Results from FactBites:
 
Causality (physics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (641 words)
Causality describes the relationship between causes and effects, and is fundamental to all natural science, especially physics.
This is equivalent to the statement that the cause and its effect are separated by a timelike interval, and the effect belongs to the future light cone of its cause.
A careful analysis of the phenomena is needed, and the outcome slightly depends on the chosen interpretation of quantum mechanics: this is especially the case of the experiments involving quantum entanglement that require Bell's Theorem for their implications to be fully understood.
Causality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4509 words)
Causality is the centerpiece of the universe and so the main subject of ontology; for comprehending the nature, meaning, kinds, varieties, and ordering of cause and effect amounts to knowing the beginnings and endings of things, to uncovering the implicit mechanisms of world dynamics, or to having the fundamental scientific knowledge.
Representing the current understanding of causality as the relation of cause and effect, this covers the modern definitions of "cause" as either the agent or agency or particular events or states of affairs.
Destiny might be considered reverse causality in that a cause is predated by an effect, i.e.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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