Causal closure & naturalism

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Indrajala
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Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:03 pm

In contemporary science there is a widely held idea of "causal closure" which posits "that any mental and biological causes must themselves be physically constituted, if they are to produce physical effects. It thus gives rise to a particularly strong form of ontological naturalism, namely the physicalist doctrine that any state that has physical effects must itself be physical." (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/)

Having pondered this for some years I've come to wonder a few things, but we'll start with one point.

- If language and cognition of it is at least partly non-physical (the qualia of it), then we have a non-physical causative force, no? For instance, if someone suddenly announces they will kill you in a language you do not understand, there is no increased heart rate, but then if someone says it in a language you understand, there are numerous measurable physical reactions that result. There is nothing inherent in the sound waves reaching the ear that prompt this reaction. It is the experience or qualia with respect to cognized language that prompts the physical bodily reaction.

This of course assumes language is non-physical and not encoded in the brain as might be suggested. Clearly the brain as an organ has a part to play in reception of the data, but then the experience and projection of language at a distance (such as issuing an order and another person physically responding to it), at least as I see it, are not material processes.

If causal closure is rejected, then it opens up the space for all kinds of non-physical causes acting on physical processes. I think this is important as Buddhist because Buddhist traditions throughout history have all rejected materialism in whatever form it held and moreover it is a prevailing ideology in our present day at odds with basic Buddhadharma like karma and rebirth.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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futerko
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:44 pm


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Indrajala
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:57 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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futerko
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:18 pm


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Indrajala
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:35 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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futerko
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:58 pm


Jnana
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Jinzang » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:23 am

The argument for causal closure that I am aware of rests on the assumption that any cause and effect relationship depends on an exchange of energy. But this is simply false. Broad gives the example of a pendulum bob on a string in "Mind and its Place in Nature". Another example is the gravitational force of the Earth keeping the moon in orbit. Neither involves an exchange of energy.
In any case the laws of physics are not cause and effect laws, they are conservation laws and gauge theories. If we are arguing that everything is reducible to physics, dragging in cause and effect seems an odd way to argue it.
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Indrajala
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:42 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:46 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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futerko
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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby futerko » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:42 am


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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Jnana » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:42 am

BTW, there are other alternatives that can accommodate causal closure of the physical that don't entail physicalism. For example, Gregg Rosenberg's Liberal Naturalism, which is a panexperientialist neutral monism. He doesn't reject causal closure of the physical, but argues that physics doesn't offer a complete picture of causation, i.e. physics doesn't provide a theory of causation. Thus, he rejects physicalism (and he rejects epiphenomenalism and interactionist dualism as well).

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Re: Causal closure & naturalism

Postby Astus » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:09 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.




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