2 Causes

Any process which is not completely i.e. from start-to-end, natural, involves 2 causes – the commonsensical cause and the scientific cause. (These aren’t what these names make them seem).

Suppose I dip a cloth in flowing water, it will get wet. Now, if someone asks – why did the cloth become wet? The commonsensical everyday-life answer is that because someone dipped it in flowing water. The scientific cause is – water coming in contact + the materials’ science.

The former has significance because if that action would not have been done, the further steps wouldn’t have taken place – the scientific process wouldn’t have been set in action.

The latter has significance because of the generality of explanation it provides (as well as predictability in other variable scenarios). 

Commonsense cause has to be just at the right spot since one may say that because the cloth was bought from the market the cloth is wet since that is also one step which if wouldnt have been done, the further steps wouldnt have happened, and it would not have become wet. But, at the same time, this might be relevant, in some particular context. So commonsense cause is variable according to context. 

An Analysis of Causality

An Analysis of Causality 

The question ‘why?’ is applicable to any statement ‘S’. To the answer (say, ‘X’) to this question, there are 2 fundamental subtly different questions askable. 

A – Why does X exist?

B – Why is X the reason for S?

Lets arrange this with an example of a real-world event-like scenario.

This goes on…….
  • The As on the extreme left of the pyramid (the blues) taken together will be the Story-chain of WHYs
  • The Bs on the extreme right of the pyramid (the blacks on the extreme right) taken together will be the Laws/principles/theorems/….
  • The As in the middle on the right half (the greens), immediately besides the central vertical line of the diagram, taken together, will be the Chain of “principle-WHYs”

The Bs in the middle on the left hand side (the reds), immediately besides the central vertical line of the diagram, taken together, will be Tautological Commonsense.

Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

An event i.e. the same event, can be the cause of something, as well as the effect of something else. But that doesn’t mean that cause and effect are equivalent elements, in themselves.

Why?

It is not possible to say that X is a cause of anything, till the effect is seen/known or atleast it (the effect) having had crossed the mind (via imagination).

Another way of putting the above is – if you know something to be a cause, you know its effect also. But not vice-versa. 

Hence, in a way of speaking, Cause “requires” Effect along with it; Effect “doesn’t require” Cause along with it.

The very utterance of the word ’cause’ implies that the effect is known/imagined before, to/by the mind.

Commonsense Causality

Commonsense Causality : 

If there is a drastic/distinct change, and there are events seen immediately afterwards, which don’t happen otherwise, for a sufficiently long period, then you tend to attribute those events to that change.

More so if the change is known to / it is possible for the change to, cause those such events.

Logically speaking, it could all be a coincidence. 

A cat enters your house and some time later you find the milk in the kitchen spilled. 

You infer – the cat spilled the milk. 

Here all the conditions are satisfied –  

1) A cat entering a house is a drastic change 

2) milk  is rarely seen spilled otherwise in the house, over a long period 

3) this happened sufficiently soon after the cat entered (not like say after 50 years) 

4) a cat is known to / it is possible for the cat to upset things.

Consider this simplest thing – there is a liquid solution kept in a beaker for very long. You put a drop of a chemical in it and it immediately changes colour. You will attribute the change of colour to the chemical drop being put in. Now, logically arguing, this change in colour could be because of some OTHER factor/change/influence, AFFECTED in the liquid solution JUST AT THE VERY TIME you dropped the chemical drop. 

You can never be certain that A is the cause of B, in real life. 

The basic structure of subjective causality

                   The basic structure of Subjective Causality – 

Whenever we are asked a reason for a phenomenon, we “scan” through the subjective issue and hit at one or two prime reason(s).

Then comes the question of explaining how it is the reason. 

For that, there are 2 chains emanating from this reason – one ‘effects-chain’ and one ‘causes-chain’. 

The effects-chain asks for effects i.e. the question – ‘so what happens with that?’ to the reason, and the causes-chain asks for the causes i.e. the question – ‘Why?’ to the reason. Both lead to an end point and provide an explanation as to how the reason is effectively one for the given phenomenon. (Examples will make all this clear).

The effects-chain is commonsensical; the causes-chain, on the contrary, requires specific domain knowledge.

Examples – 

  1. Why is the US the most prosperous country in the world?

Here one is asking for a reason to a subjective phenomenon.

Here, one scans through the subjective issue and arrives most probably at – it has the best talent in the world. This is the reason.

Now the ‘effects-chain’ from this, to provide an explanation as to how (by asking the question – ‘so what happens with that?’) is obvious – commonsensical. How having the best talent leads to the country being prosperous is straightforward, and doesn’t require literally stating the steps.

Now the ‘causes-chain’ from the reason to provide an explanation as to how (by asking the question – ‘why?’) (why does the US have the best talent?) requires a bit of specific domain knowledge, which in this case is – open door policy. The open door policy is one of the steps in the chain explaining why the US has the best talent, in connection with the given broader phenomenon of the US being the most prosperous country in the world.

  1. What makes Sachin Tendulkar such a great batsman?

 Here, there are 2 reasons – talent and sheer hard-work. 

The first reason – talent : How being talented leads to being a great batsman is commonsense. Why he is talented requires a bit of domain knowledge – heredity/in-born excellent hand-eye coordination skills/flexible arms/…etc. 

The second reason – hard-work : How hard-work leads to being a great batsman is commonsense. Why he is hard-working requires specific domain knowledge, like his coach’s early influence. 

The definition of ’cause’

The definition of ‘Cause’ – 

If the converse of a statement relating A and B is not necessarily true, then it (the pair A and B) is like a cause-effect pair. 

(This is since occurrence of a cause implies an effect, but the occurrence of the effect doesn’t necessarily imply the occurrence of that cause).

If the converse of a statement relating A and B is necessarily true, then A and B are like equivalent events. 

(since, for example, equality of 3 sides of a triangle implies the equality of the 3 angles of the triangle and vice versa, make the ‘equality of 3 sides’ and the ‘equality of 3 angles of a triangle’ equivalent).

So 2 events being a cause-effect pair is the complement of them being equivalent.

So we can use the above statement to define a cause or an effect or a cause-effect pair as : 

If 2 events always accompany each other, and they aren’t equivalent, then they are a cause-effect pair.

A Paradox

Consider this statement – John gave a ball to Jack. 

Now, by the above, we understand that Jack accepted it (passively).

But from the ball’s reference frame, Jack came towards the ball proactively and took/held the ball. This can be described as active. 

So the same event can be described in 2 completely different ways, depending upon the physical reference frame, with Jack as the subject. How Jack took the ball is dependent upon the physical reference frame.

Now, the ways the mind works while accepting something passively, and coming towards something actively and holding it / taking it, are clearly different. So the way the mind works is dependent upon the physical reference frame!

But from both the reference frames, ‘THE MIND’ of Jack should be and is no different.

How do you explain this?

Proof that ‘Meaning’ exists

Why is A=A?

Suppose I want to identify something. I will say, pointing to something, “is it this?” There are only 2 possibilities – that pointed to thing is the thing or something else i.e. it is not.

That leads to (now that we have two things – the thing picked up and the thing checked against) the concepts of SAME & DIFFERENT, corresponding to the answers YES (that thing is it) or NO (that thing isn’t it) respectively, to the question above.

If they are the same, it is that thing itself (we exclude the possibility of an exactly similar other sample since no two different things i.e. one thing and another thing, can be same in all respects; some parameter about them has to be different, say, time or place of birth or the birth-giver or whatever); if different, it is not that thing. 

So, the underlined part above means that if A=B, then B is A itself. If B is A itself, then A=B => A=A.

We all say that a ball is a ball; a shirt is a shirt….etc. which is the “first” meaning of anything. The above (A=A), shows that this “first” meaning, and thereby, conceptually speaking meaning, itself, exists. (That is, there is something like meaning).

The definition of Meaning

We ask the question commonly in everyday life, to something – “what does that mean?” “What does it mean?” ….

Meaning of something is the commonsensical extent of implication, of that thing.

Consider this statement – 

John gave a ball to Jack.

Now, consider the word ‘GAVE’. 

There are 3 ‘levels of implication’ from it.

LEVEL 1 – immediately near it – the definition of GAVE :

The physical mechanical description of the action of giving.

LEVEL 3 – far away from it – a faraway implication of GAVE : 

Say, so and so changes took place in the muscle joints. OR the brain worked in a certain way to enable the action. These are very advanced. (There will be many such).

&

*LEVEL 2* – somewhere at a commonsensically decided distance from it, along the line of implication :

Ownership of ball got transferred OR location of the ball changed.

These 2 implications of LEVEL 2, are the answer to the question – ‘what does it mean?’ to the event – John gave a ball to Jack. They are the MEANING of the event. They are commonsense. They are at “just the right level”.