What is 'causally closed' and does it imply materialism?
PIT2 said:What is 'causally closed' and does it imply materialism?
Causal Closure Over Observables
September 23rd, 2006 — Peter
One of the assumptions of materialism is that the physical world is completely causally closed. Even though this proposition is well supported by evidence some would doubt it (perhaps reasoning that causal closure is broken only in rare cases, and thus explaining why it hasn’t been revealed by our scientific investigations). What is impossible to doubt, however, is that the universe of observable phenomena is casually closed. And if we define as physical that which is observable, which not a radical suggestion, this in turn implies that the physical world is completely casually closed.
From this reasoning we conclude that, by our notions of observable and cause, the observable world must be completely causally closed. And if we define as material that which is observable then the material world is also completely causally closed. Some may object, saying that there are no material causes for observable conscious states, and hence that we can’t claim the observable is identical with material. This would be a problem if we allowed all conscious experience to count as observable, however, as presented here, we can take as observable to mean only those phenomena observed with our outward-directed senses, and the causal closure holds just as well. And from that we could deduce by observing other people that our conscious states really do have a basis in the material / observable, or that they are unobservable by our outward-directed senses but have no causal powers (they are epiphenomenal). And if we reject epiphenomenalism (see here) then we can conclude that the mind really is identical with some material phenomena.
Is this really so firmly established?What is impossible to doubt, however, is that the universe of observable phenomena is casually closed.
PIT2 said:Is this really so firmly established?
What about things such as gravity, the discrepancy between qm and general relativity, dark matter, black holes, consciousness, and anything else we don't understand?
perhaps reasoning that causal closure is broken only in rare cases, and thus explaining why it hasn’t been revealed by our scientific investigations...
UMB said:Certainly I seem to observe gravity all the time, not directly, but indirectly
Of course but id rather reason from the situation as it is, and not from some desired situation.baywax said:because we haven't been able to explain, observe or otherwise understand certain events in the universe dosn't mean they won't be understood at a later date through better technology or process.
Material is described here as 'what is observable', i don't see how the existence of something observable means that anything that caused it is observable aswell?Let's say gravity is X and mass is A and the effects of gravity are B.
We observe A and we observe B and these two observables lead us to a conclusion of X yet we cannot observe X. Is X material or what?
PIT2 said:Material is described here as 'what is observable', i don't see how the existence of something observable means that anything that caused it is observable aswell?
For a system to be causally closed means that all events within that system have a cause and effect relationship. This means that everything that happens within the system can be explained by the interactions of elements within the system and no outside influence is required to explain the events.
No, causally closed does not necessarily mean that everything is predetermined. While all events within the system have a cause and effect relationship, this does not necessarily mean that these events were predetermined. Some systems, such as chaotic systems, may exhibit unpredictable behavior even though they are causally closed.
Causally closed systems are often associated with determinism, as the cause and effect relationships within the system imply a predetermined outcome. However, not all causally closed systems are deterministic, as some may exhibit chaotic or probabilistic behavior.
No, causally closed and materialism are not the same concepts. Materialism is the philosophical belief that everything in the universe can be explained by physical matter and interactions, while causally closed refers to the cause and effect relationships within a system. While materialism often assumes causally closed systems, not all causally closed systems adhere to materialistic beliefs.
Yes, a system can be causally closed without adhering to materialistic beliefs. For example, some philosophers argue that mental events, such as thoughts and emotions, may have causal powers within a system and do not necessarily require physical matter for causation. This challenges the assumption that all causally closed systems are materialistic.