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The San Francisco Philosophy Group Message Board › On The Causal Closure of The Physical Domain--a basic principle of physical

On The Causal Closure of The Physical Domain--a basic principle of physical science

James H.
user 13603321
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 129
The physical causal closure principle: If a physical event has a cause at time t, it has a physical cause that occurs at t.

This is a plausible principle that I think most physical scientists accept. But what justifies it? I think the best argument is empirical, not metaphysical (in fact, I can’t think off hand of a metaphysical argument for it). The empirical argument is an inductive one:

When we have discovered that a physical event has had a cause at t, we have also discovered that it had a physical cause at t.
Therefore, all physical events that have a cause at t are physical events that have a physical cause at t.

Obviously, like any empirical generalization, the physical causal closure principle is subject to disconfirmation, and is therefore revisable. I don’t see that as a problem. We should be open to the possibility that there might be some physical event that has as its cause a nonphysical cause: for example, intentional action. However, I can see why some might be worried about this view. If it’s possible that some physical event has as its cause a nonphysical cause, then we have no a priori reason to rule out as not subject to serious consideration the hypothesis that some physical event has as its cause a supernatural cause. And there will be no shortage of such hypotheses, given man’s penchant for superstitious thinking. But I don’t think we need to have an a priori reason. Empirical reasons are enough.
Brandon C.
user 13625235
Weirton, WV
Post #: 24
Worry less about empiricism (which has no deserving place as of yet in our lives), and far less about ontology here (the reason empiricism has no deserving place as of yet). At the core of the issue isn't the event or the results that link it to the event, but the underlying ideology ruling our approach to separating mathematics and what we call engineering and physics in the first place. The three need combined, not merely merged in separate but usefully cross-applied applications. Only then should one go back and fool around with medieval questions such as this or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Think the Byzantines made good progress in this arena. Funny how the renaissance didn't really beyond Galileo. Took distant Englishmen to start fracturing the mold..... a fractured mold indeed, but one we're still trapped deep inside of peering out through the cracks of. I can see the crumbling edges of it- wiggle against it to loosen it up, and am confronted by the scared and ignorant attempts of many to seal it back up again to maintain the old supposed victories over the old orders and the new superstitions.

Empiricism hasn't a leg to stand on in our current system- someday I think it will be much more widely accepted once it becomes more and more common sense. It's not all that natural right now, we don't quite know what to do with it.... we take it more of a creed and a tribal fetish than as a legitimate process. Notice how very little impact it has in your daily happenings- in your own decision cycles?

Leave to Aristotle what is Aristotle, and take up what is your own. I am willing to bet if I sat down for a month, following you around, much of the philosophy you claim to wouldn't show much evidence in your everyday decisions. What does? This is crucial, and this strikes at the heart of honesty. Takes honesty to tackle such questions.
James H.
user 13603321
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 172
Basic lessons on how to philosophically reason WELL. We have a disagreement about proposition P. First, advising me to not have some sort of mental state (“worry less about….”) is no good argument for your position P. Second, telling me that my position on P just expresses an “ideology” is no good argument for your position on P. Third, telling me that my position on P is somehow related to a “medieval question” (that is, when you think of my position, you think: medieval; like when you think of bathrooms, you think of toilets) is no good argument for your position on P. These are kindergarten principles of reasoning. The rest of what you say just repeats the same pattern of mistakes.
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