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Old 05-03-2008, 11:00 PM
Jay J Jay J is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Little Rock, AR
Posts: 436
Default Re: Science Saturday: Brains and Gavels

Hi Bloggin,

Well it's taken me lot longer to reply than I predicted. Sorry about that. I got caught up in some other stuff and have gradually been thinking about what to say.

First, on the essay you've responded to:

I feel I should have been more specific about what I was using the argument for. I feel badly that you wrote as much as you did in response, since I was operating under the assumption that "DMR" was still on the shelf and I had hoped that my declaration that I would have gone a lot further than the writer would communicate what I was hoping to. I can see that I either should have been allot more specific or I should not have posted about the essay.

So maybe what I say in the remainder of this post will make it more clear what I saw as relevant in the essay I referred to, or maybe it won't. I hope at least it will be relevant to your other post, and I feel more confident that it will pertain to our overall discussion.

I've been thinking about how you said that determinism is not the same thing as fatalism, and I think that might be the crux, or nugget, I've been looking for. I heard through the grapevine that one of my Professors said recently that the type of causation posited in determinism may not be the kind we (or at least I) typically think of. When the word causation is used, it is commonly imagined that some preceding event happens in such a way to *coerce* something into happening. "Influence" here would be too soft a word. When I hear that determinism says that only one outcome is possible, I imagine "coercive" causation.

That got me to thinking about how you've stated that determinism is not necessarily fatalism, and I wondered if something similar was at play. Perhaps it would be best to just ask a couple of questions before we move any further. Sorry to dodge much of what you've recently wrote, but I think we *must* have some fundamentally different ideas about what we're arguing about if we haven't at least identified the source of the disagreement after discussing it for so long.

1) You mentioned that a good account of causation would include something like, 'everything in the universe at time A causes everything in the universe at time B.' I think this means that the state of the world at a particular time causes the state of the world at a future time.

I think I agree, but I also think we can talk about more local causes, like the wind from a tornado causing the destruction of a house.

Do you think it makes sense to talk about these more local causes, so long as we keep the total picture in mind?

2) My understanding of causation is basically that when cause "C" happens, effect "E" MUST take place. This is more or less a coercive account. Is this your understanding?

Last edited by Jay J; 05-04-2008 at 05:00 AM..
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