Friday, July 07, 2023

The Logical consequences of either caring about or ignoring 'What Is Truth?' - causality & its effects (g)

Logic, which Aristotle developed upon his Metaphysics, and Analytics, guides us in how to use reason methodically in relation to what is real and true. The point is to methodically identify and eliminate contradictions from our assumptions and to show us where we need to flesh out the abstractions we haven't taken notice of. I won't attempt to go further into that here either, but keep in mind that being objective is not ignoring our subjective thoughts & feelings, it is grounding them in what is real and true. The substance of this, and of the preceding judgments, form the foundation of all Western thought, both Greco/Roman and Judeo/Christian (see especially Proverbs 8-14 for starters), which explicitly or implicitly rests upon them.
Causality & its effects parts a-g
pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
pt d: Causation Squared...
pt e: Distracting you with...
pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
pt g: Logical consequences of....

When we're able to understand that the subject of our thinking, conforms to that aspect of reality that is the object of our thoughts, we recognize that reality is intelligible to us and affirm our relation to what is real and true. That is so far from being a small thing. Metaphysics is the science of those first principles, and its role is not to play word games, but to put you in closer contact with and understanding of, what is real and true, and the life that recognizes, abides by, and resonates most with them, is a life that surer to be well worth living, than one who is ignorant of that.

The person that is surprised and confused by the events of 'one damn thing after another', is living in a very different world from the person who has an understanding of the principles behind the causes of those things, and their own role in them.

The attention we give to metaphysical fundamentals, enables our thinking to become and remain firmly grounded in reality, and by respecting what can and cannot be known through it, our knowledge is able to lead to a wisdom that is rooted in what is real and true and worthy of knowing, and enables us to live lives that are worth living. That same ground is also a fertile one for developing a scientific understanding of what is, and how and why that understanding can best be utilized.

The conscious attention to that 'Why' will lead you into ethical considerations of what you should and should not do, all of which presupposes a link between the thoughts and questions you're thinking them within, and about - AKA: What Is Truth.

With that in mind, it's worth considering what telling or ignoring or living by lies, does to the very heart of yourself, and the life you are in reality living.

Those who are arrayed against reality, whether the Sophists of 2,500 years ago (see the Socratic dialog: Gorgias), or the Woke of today, begin and center their attacks upon metaphysics, in order to separate our thoughts from what is real and true. As Josef Pieper put it in his excellent 'Abuse of Power - Abuse of Language',
“..."The sophists’’, he says, “‘fabricate a fictitious reality.”’ That the existential realm of man could be taken over by pseudorealities whose fictitious nature threatens to become indiscernible is truly a depressing thought. And yet this Platonic nightmare, I hold, possesses an alarming contemporary relevance. For the general public is being reduced to a state where people not only are unable to find out about the truth but also become unable even to search for the truth because they are satisfied with deception and trickery that have determined their convictions, satisfied with a fictitious reality created by design through the abuse of language..."
Modernist propaganda aside, it's important to be mindful that the scientific method did not arise from Descartes' Method of Doubt - more often than not, once the clutter of doubt is brushed away from the journals of actual scientists, you find that it wasn't arrived at by faking arbitrary doubts (more often than not, those are what slowed them down), nor even from Francis Bacon's questionable effort to one-up Aristotle with his 'Great Instauration', but through the careful application of good honest questions, many of which Aristotle had asked long before them).

What actually led to the first scientific experiments in modern times, as I noted here some time ago, began centuries earlier, with two clergymen who were steeped in the philosophy and religion of Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian civilization. Beginning with Robert Grosseteste, followed later by Roger Bacon, between the 1100-1200's, who, believing that God's creation is good, and intelligible, and worth knowing, they judged that it would be worth the time to apply their metaphysical understanding of reality to the particulars of the world they found themselves within, both to further their understanding and appreciation of it, and in the belief that the practice would surely bring the types of benefits that predictably accompany a greater knowledge and understanding of what is real and true.

Those first principles of methodical reasoning in conjunction with careful action, and the examination of the results, are what these two clergymen were the first to put into practice as proto-scientists, and as their methods were grasped, it guided and improved our knowledge and experience in such a way as to become the general scientific method, which has been summed up as,
"...a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and the need for independent verification. He recorded the manner in which he conducted his experiments in precise detail so that others could reproduce and independently test his results..."
, or for everyday use, methodically questioning and verifying the answers your questions logically lead you to. Rinse. Repeat.

But always the point is to learn what is in reality true, to the degree the context warrants, and to do so by respecting what is true. To sum up,
  • Reality is intelligible and available to us all,
  • What is in reality true, is true no matter who or how many wish to believe otherwise,
  • Through methodical reasoning, we are better able to understand and uncover what is true, and what is false,
  • Judgments can be shown to be objectively True, by how well they conform our subjective thoughts, to the object of reality, which enables them to be intelligibly communicated to others,
  • Metaphysics precedes and guides our reasoning, the logical method, and scientific fact, are dependent upon, and do not contradict, metaphysical truths
The reason for pointing all of this out, is that Modernity has been willfully attacking and denying every point - not by argument... at least not anymore, but instead by evasion and by force of lies, and that sequence has absolutely insinuated itself into every aspect of what is taught to our students in our schools today - and not just by the *Woke*. For that reason, we're going to chew up a good chunk of HTML in looking at how the floorboards of reality have been (pretended to be) torn up & out from under us, by the pharisees of modernity.

Next up - Laundering the unreal through Epistemology.

Facts are only as stubborn as you are - causality & its effects (f)

They say that 'Facts don't lie!', which may be 'true enough', but it ignores the fact that neither do facts tell the truth, and those liars who understand how little people suspect that facts can be used to tell lies, arrange their selected facts and the context they are presented within, to lie all day long for them - or maybe you haven't heard the phrase 'Lies, damn lies, and statistics'? What gives you the power to perceive and understand when facts are being used to lie to you, is metaphysics in general, and causality in particular, and when they aren't properly attended to, we fall under the power of what is being left out of or excluded from our mind.

Causality & its effects parts a-g
pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
pt d: Causation Squared...
pt e: Distracting you with...
pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
pt g: Logical consequences of....
One thing that phrasing the is/ought question as Hume did (see previous) *accomplishes*, is to put your thoughts upon the path that the modernists now habitually travel, which is the means for getting away with asserting causeless causes, as they've done since following down the pathway of thinking that Descartes first put them on, and the effect that's had has been in reducing the pre-modern understanding of causation, down & away from the four open ended causes of Aristotle's approach, towards the two dead-ended materialistic 'answers', which are what make it exceedingly easier to fake facts, than it is to fake & violate principles.

However counter-intuitive that may seem, you can check it for yourself by borrowing one from the playbook of our sophistical college professors:
  • Is it easier to imagine flaming grass and ice that sinks, or married bachelors and four sided triangles?
See what I mean? No?

I'm betting that you had no problem imagining the fake facts of the first items - like ice sinking - than attempting to fake a concept and principle (or did you somehow visualize a four-sided triangle?). And if you continue on down that path, as college professors have been teaching their students to for well over a century, you quickly and easily begin not only incorporating the ability to fake facts as needed into your thinking, but the person who's (unwittingly) practiced at it, will find it the simplest of things to go along with the faking of observable facts (or perhaps you missed the whole 'Masks are useless/You must wear masks!/No one forced anyone to wear masks' episode of the Covid years'?).

Well, without getting epistemologically ahead of ourselves (that's for future posts), what that question acquires its 'legitimacy' through, is the Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy (be very wary of it), and it's been used as a key tool of professional Sophists (AKA: College Professors) for at least a century now, to get students to question, doubt, and abandon, what had been their deepest convictions, as well as their ability to understand and reasonably support their beliefs. The first thing to point out about it, is that the pose, that there is a 'Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy', is itself a lie. There's no such thing. What that is, is a single concept or fact or principle, juxtaposed with a composite of numerous other concepts, facts, and/or principles, with one or more falsehoods embedded into them, with which they then equivocate upon as if it were simply another individual fact/concept/principle.

To be 'fair', the name and cursory description of 'Analytic/Synthetic' hints at that being what it is, the forming together of multiple concepts, facts, and/or principles, but that is admitted to only on the surface (surprise), and having cursorily said so, they go on to use the reference as a means of not only invalidating the composite concepts (which is what makes our ability to think so powerful), but as a means of separating you and your mind, from reality, and from that ultimate composite: Truth.

Make no mistake, if you were to isolate the essentials of the false concept of ice sinking under normal contexts, that would be every bit as unimaginable as a four-sided triangle or an married bachelor (another favorite example of theirs), but by artfully phrasing it as they do, they get away with epstimecide ( to turn one of their own terms against them: the murder of sound thinking), as easy as pie.

What a proper understanding and application of Aristotle's four causes would provide (and quickly expose and banish the Analytic/Synthetic dichotomy ploy), even with the more material matters, Ice, for instance, is a means of closely securing your conceptual understanding of a physical variable, to its identity, and how and why they behave as they do within a given context, and that attention to the relation between immaterial concept and physical reality to reveal the principles by which they are properly understood, which makes it logically difficult to arbitrarily treat them as ludicrous as imagining ice that sinks or a four-sided triangle. And when viewed in that light, the suggestion to use an invalid images, to guide legitimate reasoning, begins to reveal something disturbing in the request.

By simply neglecting and ignoring that pre-modern approach to understanding what you know, your knowledge and thinking quickly becomes conceptually anorexic and incapable of facing up to the rigors of reality, and the conceptual muddle you are left with to take notice of, becomes painfully easy to populate your 'imagination' with appearances only, as if thinking were nothing more than a process for scribbling out mental cartoons, where one shape labeled 'ice', is able to 'sink' into other shapes labeled 'water', and in your absence of awareness of those facts, concepts, and principles that are and should be every bit as impossible to 'imagine' as a four-sided triangle, you and your mind becomes separated from what is real, and true, and beautiful, and right.

Notice that this is not at all the same thing as engaging the imagination by asking listeners to imagine sinking ice or impossible geometry in the service of a story - not at all. That's not the case or the intent of the Sophist who'd request you to 'imagine' unimaginable falsehoods as legitimate standards and landmarks of an 'educated' mode of thinking; they do so as a means of destabilizing your ability to think coherently, with the intent to separate your understanding, from reality, so that the sophist can 'have their way' with you. By that means of drilling such an absence of true thinking into the thoughts in our modern minds, it becomes exceedingly easy to imagine even your own actions, as being the thoughtless reactions of a purely material body pinballing through the environment. In that scenario, your thinking is easily deformed into a manner where 'you' and your 'thoughts', become meaningless side-effects of that process, and in accepting that, modern minds find themselves easily taking the final step of denying what actually is materially causeless: Free Will, unaware that even the thought of 'you', has been taken from you.

FWIW, that's not a process of 'enlightenment', but one of endarkenment. See The News, for further reference.

If you aren't seeing how this issue of IS's & Oughts matters to your life, then consider how the modern and pre-modern views of human beings might affect your ability to live your life in society. Prior to modernity, the prudent person understood causation and the nature of being human well enough to seek to mitigate the volatility of choice & chance in society, through sound education, morality, and placing a high value on sound reasoning. OTOH, for the ideological person of modernity - of both the Left and Right - having philosophically removed 'Free Will' from the identity of human beings, it has become possible and appropriate for them to treat peoples as volatile substances whose reactive behaviors must be managed by 'those who know best', for 'the greater good'.

By willfully blurring or ignoring those differences and limitations that are involved in asking 'what causes that?', we're led to assume more (and less) than what can actually be known about both material and immaterial matters, which swerves us all further away from the company of Sophia, and into a more disreputable association with the Turtle Lady, and worse, those who prefer to pretend that their thoughts and doubts about how they think that reality should be, are more real and certain than what is in reality true.

Once we begin to allow, or ignore, such sophistries being gotten away with, ever more choices become just as easily explained by, and blamed upon, the environment, and as nothing is or can be truly known in such a world as that, no one can be held responsible for anything, and anything goes. That is the substance and root of our modern state of Demoralization (see Yuri Bezmenov's interviews on this), and there is no better way for those who desire power over a people, to attain it, than by having that people believe in what gives those who seek to impose their power upon them, a clear pathway to doing just that, and no clearer pathway is imaginable, than having those people believe that there is no right, no wrong, and no credible cause for believing that there is or should be such 'beliefs'.

By having been armed with such metaphysical views, including this corruption of causality, statements such as these from the guru of 'white fragility', Robin Diangelo, 'make sense' to those thinking their thoughts with those habits and beliefs:
  • All white people benefit from racism, regardless of intentions; intentions are irrelevant.
  • No one here chose to be socialized into racism (so no one is “bad’). But no one is neutral – to not act against racism is to support racism.
  • Racism must be continually identified, analyzed and challenged; no one is ever done
  • The question is not ”did racism take place”? but rather “how did racism manifest in that situation?...
One lesson that we can and should learn from this, is that the more we know about what the identity of something is - is that an orange billiard ball, or an orange, or an egg that's been dyed orange - the more we are able to know about how such objects will interact in relation to, or collision with, each other. But just as importantly, the more you realize what you don't actually know, the more likely it is that you will be better able to understand what you do know, and so won't end up with egg on your face when everyone else finds out that you didn't actually know, what you only thought you knew. What a familiarity with metaphysics promotes, is the mindset that what is, is real, and that what you imagine reality might be, should not be mistaken for being what it actually is.

Given how this has developed in modernity, it's important to add that the knowledge we have of the nature and causes of such matters, goes deeper than those sequential occurrences which might 'cause' us to associate one event, with another, because they occurred in sequence (ala David Hume's assertions about and the sun rising in the day following night or billiard balls rolling after being struck).

For now, I'll close with a reminder that Metaphysics is about paying attention to what it is you are thinking about, and with, and noting distinctions that bring clarity to your thought and understanding, and there are dire and deadly consequences that are caused by habitually ignoring the nature of causation and the variety of causes in our lives, I've already gone into here. You don't need to become a scientist or a philosopher to study metaphysics, but if you want to have a better and more complete understanding of what is going on around you, or of what is sweeping you away through your ignorance of it, you should develop a basic understanding of the subject.

The human mind which you are graced with, is far too powerful for you to remain safely ignorant of its identity, causes, and effects, and after all, with great power comes great responsibility, right?

Distracting You With What Isn't Actually There - causality & its effects (e)

There are a few key 'Tell's that sophistical ploys typically announce themselves with, and they all more or less depend upon the listener's shallow understanding of causation, so as to more easily direct their attention away from what a deeper understanding might quickly identify as being but empty words:
  • First: a sensational claim is made that's corrosive to what you believe to be true (amplified by the listener's ignorance of the nature of what's being considered);
  • Second, the absence of any actual new knowledge being offered in exchange for what is to be disbelieved, only doubt upon still more arbitrary doubts, and
  • Third, the assurance that accepting the Sophist's own belief in doubt, will lead you to an unspecified 'better' understanding of... something... or other... and solutions that urge you to 'support this'!
Causality & its effects parts a-g
pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
pt d: Causation Squared...
pt e: Distracting you with...
pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
pt g: Logical consequences of....
Of course that could play out, as it has, in everything from the last six decades of "The world as we know it will end in a decade!", to the trans-gendering mutilationists:"No, we can't define what a woman is, but would you rather have a dead son, or a live daughter?", to any of the DEI of 'Addressing Systemic Racism requires employing racist AF policies!' (way to go Supreme Court!).

How we got to the point where such considerations would be easily, even routinely, disregarded, and have sophistries be seen as being 'legitimate', is worth looking into (a deep dive in coming posts on Epistemology), but it shouldn't be too surprising that the first step in that process began, as it had to, by discarding the pre-modern understanding of metaphysics, and its attention to identity and the necessity of making distinctions, which enables you to expose and discard contradictions from your thinking.

As with most of the absurdities of modernity, that process began taking shape with Rene Descartes (with an assist from Hobbes) and his blatantly arbitrary 'method of doubt', and along with that came his idea of mind/body dualism, which necessarily asserted that a human being is but a meat machine, which the mind 'somehow' causes to move about from within it. How it was that a substance-less thought of 'mind' was somehow able to cause your physical muscles to flex and strike a match to light a candle, was, according to Descartes, accomplished by the Pineal gland. How? Somehow. Why? Because reasons ("don't doubt him!" Ahem).

Of course, eventually those who followed after Descartes did begin to doubt that the Pineal gland could be 'the answer' for how immaterial thoughts could affect physical reality, but that was because its actual identity was never part of the equation, only what 'could be' arbitrarily doubted into consideration - this is a key point that's too often missed.

Accepting the advice to 'Doubt everything!', makes it as easy to arbitrarily doubt something both out of, as into, existence, as it requires no more substantive reasoning to claim that 'I doubt the Pineal gland does any of this stuff!', than to say 'I doubt that the Pineal gland isn't central to this stuff!', and the reality is that the reality of what the Pineal gland was, its Identity, was not the point of the exercise; what could be 'doubted' into the popular narrative, was, and is. The acceptance of causeless Doubt, surreptitiously elevates, legitimizes, and inserts the habit of arbitrariness into the essence of your thinking, and reduces the conception of a whole Truth, to a shard of splintered facts, and in doing so it forms and conveys an (irrational) illusion that your thoughts have power over reality itself.

It's worth noting that 'Arbitrary' means without basis, and without regard to what is true, or false, or completely contradictory (and fully opposed to Aristotle's 1st Law of Thought, the law of contradiction). Developing the habit of raising and accepting arbitrary doubts as key to your method of thinking, can just as easily lead people to skepticism, as to unfounded beliefs, precisely because that acceptance severs the habit of relating your thoughts to reality.

Once a person begins employing the sophistical 'Critical Dialectic', fully arbitrary justifications are offered as sufficient 'cause' for whenever and wherever the sophist feels the necessity of them, serving to further their purposes and further thwart whatever grip on reality that might still remain, as well as a forced pretense of certainty that they couldn't possibly be wrong. This is reflected in what I see as a signature distinction between the moderns and the pre-moderns, and we can see an example of it, in that where Issac Newton had affirmed his willingness to observe and measure the effects of Gravity, even though he didn't understand it, and he would not pretend to know what it was or how it operated, while in a full reversal of that, most moderns, such as Hobbes, Rousseau, and Bentham, have stridently doubted and denied the existence of observable realities such as Free Will (despite every human being having a continuous first hand empirical knowledge & experience of), because they couldn't explain how it could operate, and so they therefore concluded, rather pridefully, that it did not in fact exist.

Another distinguishing feature which separates people of modern times, from the pre-moderns, is the rise of indecision, faithlessness, and anxiety at the core of the modern mind, which, IMHO, is an unsurprising reflection of continually feeling that what you see as being important information and beliefs, are continually subject to arbitrarily being revised, denied, and 'canceled'. And yet, oddly enough, it's common for modernists to presume that 'reality' is the problem, and not their conception of it - they will routinely assert that their ideas trump reality.

Even the Empiricists, who saw themselves as the rational arm of the enlightenment, and who doubted Descartes' rationalist conclusions, continued to employ his methods, and so gravitated towards the notion that all of our actions and apparent 'choices' are and must be reducible to a physical chain of material causes & effects that are triggered by external environmental circumstances - a necessary consequence of having concluded that Free Will must be only an illusion,

Thomas Henry Huxley (Darwin's bulldog, the grandfather of 'Brave New World's author, Aldous Huxley) asserted that our thoughts are less like motive powers, than like the whistle on a steam powered train, contributing nothing to it's power and motion, other than as noise added onto its exhaust. It should be no surprise that in such mechanistic and deterministic views, the role of govt and schools are expected to be used to form an environment around you that is suitable to how they need you to behave, and to keep you, useful little widget that you are, on track towards their idea of the 'greater good'.

What Nicolás Gómez Dávila said with "The permanent possibility of initiating causal series is what we call a person.", should be kept in mind with sophists whose dialectic is so focused upon denying that we can have knowledge of causality, and that Free Will is a dillusion, and even that the 'Self', is a delusion. If that's not clear enough, obfuscating or denying causality, is a means of eliminating the irritant to the state of 'individual rights', and a Constitution devised to uphold and protect them.

When the ploys of these dialectics come your way, whether it be the denial of Free Will, or that solid objects are only illusions, one question to ask yourself when their sensational statements cause you to pause and think, would the identity and telos of that direction they're intending to take your thinking in - are they informing, or deforming, your thoughts? And what would you need to already know, in order to know that (psst! That's Metaphysics)? Whether that which they are proposing to drive your thinking with from there on out, is rooted in sound causes (of what are real and true), or a fuzzy causelessness (everything from 'your truth may not be their truth' to 'a more diverse people and sustainable future'), is an extremely important distinction to make, as is knowing how, and how not, to make it.

Causality and the distorting of it
Do we understand Causation better today, than in Aristotle's day? Well, yes, and no, as we are able to understand more about causation today, than in Aristotle's day, afterall, even for all he knew of physics, biology, logic, rhetoric, ethics and politics, he had no understanding of individual rights in the sense that we do, and little of the idea of equality before the law, because the thought that all human beings are created equally human, and that no one is a lesser human because of the circumstance of birth, race, ethnicity, or wealth, was unknown to them. The idea that all men are created equal was unheard of in Aristotle's day, it took the Judeo-Christian half, to reveal that truth to the Greco-Roman half, of our Western world.

Similarly on the material side of causation, whereas what was known prior to modernity was only what could be observed on the surface, and they could only speculate about what lay beyond that, today we've developed a more detailed knowledge and scientific understanding of the chemical and molecular nature of the world around us, which penetrates past surface appearances to reveal the hidden structures of characteristics that make a thing like metal, metalic, while also explaining why both hardness and melting are fully consistent with the nature of being a metal.

And yet for all that, with the hierarchical understanding of the forms of knowledge they had (Empeiría/Epistemé, Tékhne, and Sophia), they had a better understanding on the whole, of the little that they knew, than most of us have today (especially the 'educated'), as knowledge itself has been collapsed by modernity, into a semi-empirical mush.

So while we are able to know and 'know thyself' more thoroughly than pre-moderns like Aristotle could, most of 'those who know best' in modernity, have actively evaded, denied, and even denigrated, what the pre-moderns understood about Metaphysics in general and about Identity and Causality in particular, without which a person cannot properly understand what they should. Fortunately, the only real power the moderns have over any of us, is our remaining ignorant of that understanding which they've discarded, and so while we today are still able to understand and penetrate deeper into the nature of the world around us, and into the Logos (a broader understanding of Reason, than the moderns ascribe to 'reason') within, than at any time in the past - we only need to be willing to see what there is to see, IOW, will you continue on with the causal Blue Pill you were fed in school, or choose to take the Red Pill?

To see how distorted our understanding of causality has become, we need to be clear on what causality does and does not entail, for despite surface appearances, it would be wrong to say that certainty is the measure of Casuality (though that is a common ploy for impugning our understanding of it), for while we can predict with certainty that applying sufficient heat to metal will cause it to melt, and with a lesser degree of certainty that stating that 'there are only two genders' will cause a Woke person to meltdown, we can only calculate the probability of being able to cause the result desired from the Quantum realm's waves and particles and Schrodinger's boxes seemingly full of cats that are both living and dead, even so, it would be wrong to say that our understanding of Causality is affected by those varying degrees of certainty, or to assume that those differences indicate that Casuality operates any differently in the material, human, or quantum, realms.

Casuality is not about making predictions, it is about recognizing the importance of identifying what you are considering, so as to properly integrate that within the forms of knowledge involved within a given context. It is of course true that with sound knowledge, we're often able to make a number of accurate predictions, but causality will not provide us with either the omniscience or absolute certainty, which have no part of the identity of being human. And yet as we'll see, it has been by treating Causality in modernity as if it could provide such abilities, or by presuming that lacking those abilities somehow invalidates or diminishes what we as human beings can know, which has played a large role in undermining our understanding of Causality, of Identity, of Metaphysics, Knowledge, and our ability to 'know thyself'.

Again and again in modernity, our ability to understand has been assaulted by denying or ignoring what can be understood, while dropping the relevant contexts, in order to evade what we should know, to plant false expectations of what we can know, and to dissuade us from looking for what is real and true, in order to 'legitimize' any number of heinous fictions that require treating human beings as deterministic meat puppets, into popular belief.

What we do not know, and what we cannot know, does not invalidate what we do know, within the context of what we can understand, and while further developments of our knowledge will likely reveal additional distinctions and contexts for us to consider and anticipate, it won't diminish what we already understand about the causes behind them, or how to apply that to our understanding here on the human level of reality, both materially, and immaterially.

Casuality reflects and confirms the identity and telos of what we are considering within a given context, affirming that Casuality is identity in action, and interaction, no matter whether what is being examined is animate, or inanimate.

Why all of this matters outside of lecture halls, is that there's no basis for understanding and respecting a person's ability and need to think and make choices, without a grounding in metaphysics in general and causality in particular, for without that a person has little basis for understanding and defending an individuals inalienable rights, or the importance of their society upholding and defending those for all.

The central drama in our regressing to the illiberal state of affairs we find ourselves in today, was formed from the notions that were proposed by the very modernist Enlightenment-age skeptic, David Hume, who believed, despite believing that nothing can be known, that he could confidently explain exactly how he knew that the cause of causation was all an illusion (a veritable harvest of contradictions are always sure to follow in the wake of skeptics who don't just question what is and can be known, but unironically claim to know that nothing can be known).

Those foundations of The West that Descartes began fracturing, Hume began the process of shaking them down to the ground (where we are nearly at today), by declaring that we don't and can't really know anything about Causality at all, that we don't actually know how and why the sun rises, or even what causes one billiard ball to roll when hit by another, and so on, worser & worser.

According to Hume, what we thought we knew, was nothing more than a matter of playing the odds from what preceded and followed the occurrence of something yesterday, would probably do so again tomorrow. IOW: Those events we know of as sunrise, noon, and sunset, are simply events that just happen to follow each after other, and have nothing to do with what we think we know of and about them, and although probability says they'll happen in the same order, we don't know that for certain, and they could easily happen in reverse, or entirely out of order. You see, our knowledge then, is but a scheme of statistics and odds making (of what, he doesn't say, as he cherry picks and discards which bits of understanding is convenient to the reality he just knows we don't know of), was what Hume declared to be 'Science!', and a great many in modernity agreed, and still agree, with that.

Hume of course took the implications of that further than our inability to know what causes the sun to rise, in that if we can't know what causes those appearances, what can we possibly know about what causes humans to behave as we do? And by reducing science to statistics, what isn't measurable and quantifiable, isn't science (you may recall that measurability is a necessary, though lesser part (Empeiría), of what Science (Epistemé) is), and if it isn't Science well then, it's of no cause or value at all (good news for Neil deGrasse Tyson, bad news for religion, art & music). The fulcrum of this notion, which he uses to pry our minds apart from reality, rests on the observation that a thing or event, is not the same as our evaluation of it - IOW 'identifying' that this liquid is poison, is a different thing from identifying this liquid as bad - and soOooo, if they aren't the same, how can two identifications refer to the same thing? He's serious about that. He goes on to say:
"...instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, it's necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. ..."
At this point I'll urge you to review the three types of knowledge in a previous post, for the fact that Hume is equivocating upon different forms of knowledge to reduce the entire hierarchy of knowledge, to its flattest factoid, and you can rest assured that by allowing the littlest bit of that to slip by you, it will eventually lead in a straight line from there to the chaotic avalanche that besets us today with the physical mutilation of children being excused as 'gender affirming care'.

Once you've allowed causation to be equivocated down to the flattest of facts, the fact that what 'ought' to result from a cause upon inanimate objects is all too easily ignored, and isn't determined in the same way that it is for animate objects, such as people. You might object that metal has no choice in responding to heat, while the human being most definitely does, but Hume had a way around that difference, as for you to be able to know anything at all about causality, you must be a you, and that too Hume denied, saying that:
"...I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity and are in perpetual flux and movement..."
IOW, there is no 'you' to object to this, only a bundle of physical impressions, an illusion. And with no 'you' in mind to mind, how could a bundle of sensations possibly be able to convert sensory data, into the immaterial fictions of 'moral qualities'? This was what his infamous 'is-ought question demanded, asking:
'Does an IS, imply an Ought?'
IOW, how can a material fact of what IS, a provocation for instance, imply an immaterial response that ought to happen? Well then, he 'reasoned', since a material thing can't be an immaterial 'ought', then clearly an IS cannot imply an Ought, and so there is no basis for reasoning about manners, civility, or ethics, as:
"reason is, and ought only to be the slave to the passions"
, 'proving' again that we don't really know anything about anything at all, and all of our supposed knowledge is but the result of passions and happenstance, and your saying that you know what will result from any cause, can be nothing more than a rolling of the dice and bookies playing the odds on what score they turn up.

Of course, although you might want to point out that his saying that 'You ought not say that an is implies an ought', is saying that an IS implies an Ought, but... if you've ceded the ability to say what IS, you certainly cannot say what ought to follow from that. Do you see how slippery this slope soon gets? All of metaphysics - identity, knowledge, causality - are eliminated through Hume's kill shot (if you accept and permit it). Once you allow the connection between truth and reality to be severed, or even frayed, you've let go of your ability to claim to know anything at all, or to claim any interest in or concern with truth or goodness, or beauty. Gone. Wfft. As with your credibility in saying that this, might lead to that, and therefore you ought not to permit it. All gone.

To come at the problem from another direction, the necessity of his denial of Free Will, is that his own is-ought issue is the wrong question; or rather it is a misdirection, which deliberately ignores the identity of a human being, and leads the listener away from grasping that the reality of human life, is that the question if asked at all, ought to be asked more like this:
'Does an IS, imply Oughts?'
, plural, and the answer to that is an unequivocal and hearty 'Yes!', but that can only be said if you know what is, and know how you know it, and what causes anything to occur in accordance with what you know of it.

Despite how Hume and modernity's attack our ability to know anything at all, with our inability to be free from error, it's not a failure for society or any individual in it to lack omniscient and unerring 'knowledge', rather recognizing that in us all, is a sign of having successfully identified ourselves as being human! While on the purely material level (which, you'll remember, is what science provides us the lowest level Knowledge of), an 'IS' does imply an 'Ought' - heating bronze to xDegrees ought to result in its melting, its material identity provides for only that reaction - but the possibilities of which 'Ought' to result from provoking a human being, whose very different identity and knowledge isn't constrained or determined in the same manner as metal is necessarily determined to respond to heat. Instead, based upon the knowledge and understanding of the person involved, and the context the provocation is posed within, there are some, sometimes many, responses that a person ought to make in response to an IS, and they might choose from those, or originate something entirely new and previously not considered, not as a result of happenstance, but from reasoning.

That is one of the consequences of being human, but Hume's skepticism had blinded himself to that identity, and that right there, between necessity and possibility, lies what the materialist hates and fears the most: Choice and Chance.

The modern materialist evades and abhors chance and choice, and however harmful it will be to their own selves, they will adamantly assert that for human beings 'an IS doesn't imply an Ought!', which is a half-truth (AKA: a full lie), whose abuse of truth has been highly causal in the philosophical disintegration, anxiety, and soph-destruction, we are drowning in today.

Denying and evading the full understanding of what the pre-moderns knew, which the modernist places safely out of mind, Hume advised::
"...If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion..."
, that this was an egregious act of sophistry kant be denied, and by awakening Immanuel Kant from his 'dogmatic slumbers' - less to disagree with Hume, than to obfuscate the implications of what he'd claimed (more on that later), Hume's ideas fanned the smoldering embers of modernity into breaking out into the philosophical firestorms that were soon to be ignited by Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Marx, and which we're still dealing with today.

When a society lacks a solid grasp of metaphysics in general, and identity, knowledge, and causality in particular, then skepticism (causeless doubt and/or denial of knowledge) rushes into the vacuum of popular imagination, and for those skeptics amongst them to preserve their skepticism (and oh will they ever fight to do that), they will evade, deny, denigrate, and claim the need to treat human beings as only a slightly higher form of inanimate matter, having no choice or rights that need to be respected, so that those who (somehow) see themselves as being those who *know* best, will be empowered to 'perfect' the lesser folk for 'the greater good'.

Ironically, to know anything of causality, or even to be able to deny such knowledge, requires making the choice to understand or evade it - Free Will must exist in order to deny the existence of Free Will - and yet most of modernity, especially the post-modernists, deny and evade it. It requires the deliberately chosen denial of Free Will, to successfully deny reality. And whether admitted or denied, we are able to understand, materially and philosophically, that causation is the result of the deepest identity of what something is, and that 'change' is what results from being in sufficient proximity with what something else is.

IOW, Causation is Identity in action (and interaction), and because we are human beings we are able to choose to understand that. But of course, we're also able to choose to evade and deny that, and for those who choose to seek power over their fellows, you need to deny and lie about what everyone can clearly see is true - which is easier than you might think.

Causation Squared - causality & its effects (d)

To gain a better understanding of what is happening around us, we need to make better distinctions about what underlies - causes - those events, in order to foresee where they are likely to be leading us. Doing so enables us to better understand, predict, and conform, to the reality of the world around and within us. Aristotle developed his Four Causes after long years of pointedly observing the world around him, seeking after and discovering the causes behind what would become our sciences, ethics, politics, literature, he found that by seeking to make more detailed distinctions regarding whatever it was he was considering, took him beyond the surface distractions of only material 'cause and effect', to penetrate deeper into what it was that he was observing, what brought it about, and so become able to see more clearly where that was leading to. He broke those distinctions down into these steps, the Four Causes:
Causality & its effects parts a-g
pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
pt d: Causation Squared...
pt e: Distracting you with...
pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
pt g: Logical consequences of....
  1. the Material Cause: “that out of which”, e.g., bronze is what a statue is made out of.
  2. the Formal Cause: “the form”, “the account of what-it-is-to-be”, e.g., the shape of a statue.
  3. the Efficient Cause: “the primary source of the change or rest”, e.g., the artisan, the art of bronze-casting the statue, the man who gives advice, the father of the child.
  4. the Final Cause: “the end, that for the sake of which a thing is done”, or that health is the end that's being aimed at by walking, losing weight, medicine, and surgical tools; e.g., or that to enhance a park setting is why a bronze statue is commissioned for a place in it;
While I'll understand if you don't care much for what causes a bronze statue to be produced, by developing the habit of looking deeper into the nature of causation than only the shallowest of surface appearances, you'll be more aware of where you are in the world, more informed about what it is you are observing, and less mystified about what's going on around you - in short, an attention to causation, causes you to have a more thorough understanding of what truly does matter to you.

Taking a little closer look at the Four Causes:
  • 1st Material Cause begins with 'that out of which' the issue in question comes to be - be mindful of what it is that you are considering, and how does the identity of that impact the overall cause and resulting effects being considered? This first level of causation is what moderns often minimize and ignore, at least partly because separating your thoughts from Identity, 'frees' a person from the responsibility of considering the inevitable consequences of that knowledge. Conversely, paying closer attention to it, can reveal everything from the nature of Bronze, to the ramifications of an entire philosophy

  • 2nd Formal Cause, 'the form' of what's being considered - what is giving shape to the cause being considered, and how deeply should you consider that form, in relation to its function? A statue's form might be a human form, but the difference between what results in a Five & Dime store mannequin, or Michaelangelo's David, is how deeply the subject's form has been considered

  • 3rd the Efficient Cause, where “the primary source of the change or rest” - in the case of a statue, that is likely the sculptor, but what if you're looking for the efficient cause of something less obvious, such as of America for instance, where in the materialist view answering either '1776' or '1619' might get you a passing score on an utterly worthless test, both such answers would utterly fail to even point towards an understanding of the cause in question. Coming at the cause in question by employing Aristotle's view, would encourage and lead towards a much deeper understanding of what it is that you're trying to understand the cause of. To understand the cause of something, it's important to not allow a quick 'answer' to put a premature end to considering 'what brought this about'.

  • 4th the Final Cause, 'the end being sought', the Telos, the Goal - is not limited to the immediate end or physical effect of something, but is enlarged by what you seek to conceptually understand of what is being brought about by it - not just What, but Why. While a final cause might begin with the 'What' of 'a statue was needed for decoration', looking for the 'Why' of a cause, encourages us to look further than the shallow surface answer, and enables us to make greater distinctions about what is being brought about by the object under consideration. For instance, the final cause behind putting a statue of George Washington in a park, might be to provide the park setting with a decoration that will bring into the minds of those visiting there, a consideration of the ideals and virtues embodied by the 'Indispensable Man' of the American revolution, and the principles he fought to have our nation founded upon.

  • Properly considering the 'Four Causes' of something that is happening, or that you want to happen, is a fruitful means of not only gaining a better understanding of what has happened, or is happening, but the habit is excellent practice for how to 'reverse engineer' what you observe, better equipping you to plan for what you want to cause to occur, as the better you understand a single step, the better you'll understand the preceding and succeeding steps. Where the modernist approach would be a disintegrated 'the ends justify the means' approach, Aristotle's Four Causes leads you into a deeper understanding of what is being accomplished, and why, and how each step does, and should, relate to and follow from all of the others.

    It's well worth noting that Thomas Aquinas added an additional level of depth to the four causes that Aristotle had identified, with a fifth cause:
    5. the Exemplary Cause: a step beyond the Final Cause of action and Will, the Exemplary Cause is what guides the intellect - the idea that caused someone to decide that a statue was needed in the park, and so hired the sculptor,
  • 5th the Exemplary Cause then, “what guides the intellect ”, is taking note of not only what you are observing, or planning, but giving due attention to a higher level purpose beyond the features that are immediately visible, and in the case of what caused a statue of George Washington to be put up in a park, the exemplary cause might be the care and commitment of a person or group, to the health and prosperity of their community, and nation.

  • The materialistic views which animate the modern views of scientism, focus almost exclusively on only surface aspects of the middle two of Aristotle's Four Causes, gathering primarily disintegrated facts, and (easily manipulated) observations of immediate stimulus/response, cause & effect, which not surprisingly tends to exclude metaphysics in general, and causality in particular, from popular consideration.

    Consider how the two approaches might be applied to something as simple as what causes a duck to swim for breadcrumbs tossed onto a pond:

  • A likely materialistic cause & effect, and response to Why the duck swims for breadcrumbs:
    1. Cause: Breadcrumbs stimulate a duck's eating reflex
    2. Effect: The duck moves to eat the breadcrumbs
    No further response follows, but presumably, if you'd like to see the duck swim more... toss more crumbs.

  • Looking for the Four Causes behind that same scenario, might be seen as:
    1. the Material Cause: a Duck, that which swims to the bread
    2. the Formal Cause: The features of the duck's body, such as it's webbed feet which enable the duck to swim.
    3. the Efficient Cause: Tossing breadcrumbs into the water, is where the duck is swimming to
    4. the Final Cause: Eating the Breadcrumbs - eating the breadcrumbs is the ducks goal, and yours, which is what the preceding causes lead up to
    5. the Exemplary Cause: The delight which you, or your child, takes in feeding the duck and the leisurely enjoyment & relaxation of the moment
    Where the modernist materialistic approach has little interest in, or ability to, expand upon what's involved in feeding a duck, the four causes approach leads to a more thorough consideration of even simple events, and each of those causes could easily be expanded upon and pursued into further depths of biology, nutrition, ethics, and even a consideration of human nature and leisure.

    It's not difficult to imagine how differently those two approaches might play out upon a more significant scenario, such as that of the woman who was recently beaten on her doorstep when a riot recently 'broke out' in Chicago. The modernist approach is all too familiar and frequently repeated in the news media:

  • A likely materialistic cause & effect, and response, to a woman having been beaten by rioting youths:
    1. Cause: White Privilege
    2. Effect: Youths express their dissatisfaction to systemic racism
    , and as to the all too familiar response that might be expected to follow from such an understanding of causality:
    1. Response: Additional DEI policies, teaching training, and outreach programs for disaffected youth
  • OTOH, what might be expected from an Aristotelian Four Causes approach to looking for relevant causes reflecting the reality behind a woman being beaten by rioting youths, is that before even beginning, it'd be obvious that the 'Youths', or 'poor Youths', or 'black youths', is an entirely inadequate starting point, as many, most youths, regardless of color, don't riot upon women in doorways, and looking for causation would require beginning with what sets apart - identifies - other youths, from these youths who rioted?

    1. the Material Cause: Youths who have little or no respect for strangers as fellow human beings
    2. the Formal Cause: Man's natural savagery had not been mitigated by being taught right from wrong, self respect, civility, or manners,
    3. the Efficient Cause: Schools and school boards promoting policies of restorative justice, rather than teaching what needs to be understood in order for youths to be intelligent and moral people who're capable of living a life worth living in peaceful society with others,
    4. the Final Cause: 'Education' which does not educate, but instead promotes anti-American & anti-Western ideology
    5. the Exemplary Cause: Colleges committed to teaching an ignorance of objective truth and the dangers of contradictory and disintegrated thinking, largely inspired by appealing to ideological ideals that "...Call into question the very foundations of the liberal order..." so as to bring about an end to America and the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian West."
    What causes the modernist approach, begins with considering what it is that they believe is being referred to by causation - (material cause) modernists fundamentally assume and presume that there are no real causes to anything beyond the material actions they can measure, and believing that there is no real meaning to anything, human life is believed at best as being about making the best of 'one damn thing after another', they (formal cause) have no expectation of developing a deeper understanding of what is meaningful in life - that's not their intent, or goal, or even a consideration for them. Instead, they (efficient cause) seek only whatever shallow surface level 'explanation', seems to provide a useful rationalization - a narrative - for doing what they'd wanted to do all along. It's no coincidence that the modernist approach to causation is (final cause) an invaluable aid to keeping pre-modern ideas 'out of mind' for most of us in modernity, which (exemplary cause) aids in subverting the higher ends of the pre-modern world and serves the lower purposes that are more common today - all of which provides a glimpse into what causes the thugs of blm & antifa, who exemplify the modernist mindset, to riot and tear down statues of the likes of George Washington.

    It's also worth pointing out that the modernist's 'Exemplary Cause', is what has been taught to generations of 'educators', and it thoroughly pervades the curriculum and administration of what is taught in our schools - public and private - to America's youth. Truly, causes - including an ignorance of them - do have effects, and ideas, especially bad ones, most definitely have consequences.

    If you want to know how we've come to such a meaningless world, a central cause of that is our popular lack of understanding of what causes anything at all. Just how easily we're distracted by what isn't there, we'll see in the next part.

    Of Cause and Causelessness - causality & its effects (c)

    Whether the unfathomable outrage of the moment involves praising the burning down of cities as peaceful protests or ignoring those in order to spin up minor riots as horrific insurrections, or claiming that it takes a biologist to define what a woman is and yet any male from three years old on up can easily 'identify as' and become a woman and even become pregnant, you can be sure that some philosopher's thoughts on causation will be found to be at the 'root cause' of it. And of course 'Those who know best' are eager to assert those ideas as provable and even proven facts, to be passed on through media and wackademia as being the latest nuggets of wisdom that we're all supposed to accept as being beyond question, by people who believe they've captured the 'Wisdom' (the 'End of History') that 'uncritical' philosophers only pursue.

    Causality & its effects parts a-g
    pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
    pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
    pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
    pt d: Causation Squared...
    pt e: Distracting you with...
    pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
    pt g: Logical consequences of....
    That alone should be cause enough for you to be wary as to whether or not 'accepted truths' come to your ears from the lips of Sophia, or someone very different. In an earlier post I'd mentioned the Turtle Lady, as an example of a sophist who (sincerely or not) defends their unquestionable claims against reasonable questions, with some variation upon:
    "... I know what you're doing, but it's no use, it's turtles all the way down!..."
    , and it's in that format that is and always has been the trademark 'Tell' of sophistry - sincere or (more often) not - where, in lieu of knowledge we're offered only an endless regression of 'what ifs', whose only substantial purpose is to undermine people's confidence in what they know, so as to sway their audience towards whichever ideology it is that the sophist's 'critical commentary' is promoting as the real (usually hidden and 'smarter') 'truth' - which they never actually identify, or explain, but endlessly promise to deliver... eventually.

    "Let me make you feel a little less comfortable. This ground is not solid..."
    One popular form of these age-old sophisms today, is favored by the most deplorable of people (AKA: the Marxist inclined), who proclaim their paradoxes as materialistic revelations, such as that what we experience as solid ground, is 'akshually' riddled with fissures below, "Let me make you feel a little less comfortable. This ground is not solid...", or even that what we take as being a hard surface, is 'nothing but space on the atomic level', with the point being that since you can't really trust your senses when they tell you something appears to be solid, which is 'actually' mostly empty space, then 'logically' you must agree that you cannot be certain of anything at all, and any claim that 'They!' use to convince you that you can, is just a lie that serves the ruling class, the capitalists, etc., etc., etc.,

    The truth about such 'paradoxes' though, is that they are dis-ordered truths which vanish once they're put in the proper order & context, in that the supposed 'empty space' is a necessary feature of how solidity is achieved - when molecules, atoms, and particles are arranged so as to form a solid object, they are configured in such a way that, taken out of context, can be portrayed as 'empty space', but that arrangement on the sub-atomic level, is what creates what we experience 'up here' as solidity on the human level! The fact is that we are better able to understand the world around us, by using all those philosophic principles of science, techne, and wisdom, so long as they are properly ordered and aligned, to establish sound knowledge of what is real and true. So far from their supposed 'paradox' being a cause for you to doubt what you know, it is a confirmation of our knowledge and ability to understand what is real and true, which should heighten your wariness of the dangers of accepting baseless doubts, as actual knowledge.

    It is by artfully equivocating between very different forms of knowledge, again, as those like deGrasse-Tyson do, that the shallowest of observations are rhetorically transformed through a semblance of logical proofs, so that such unexamined sophistries that might have seemed foolish to those who knew better, are revealed to be a very practical means of nudging popular opinion along into accepting a set of assumptions based loosely upon physical causes and vague aspirations, which encourages one or two or both extremes of thinking, as:
    'We need order, and as one thing is as meaningless as the next, we will impose our collective ideal upon all!'
    , or,
    'If nothing causes anything, then anything goes!'
    , which cause dissension and unrest amongst society, and though they may appear different, they're no more different than two sides of the same sophistical coin: demanding order be imposed, requires believing that Right & Wrong are the weakest of illusions which must be replaced by those who're able to impose power, just as those who believe that since nothing can be known, there can be no right or wrong, only a series of material causes & effects that are popular with 'those who know best' - the only significant point they differ on is who is 'the best', you, or an 'expert' - which is a distinction without any fundamental difference.

    Notice also that what both sides of that sophistical coin ignore, beginning and end, corresponds to Identity & Telos. In Aristotle's system, you begin at the beginning by identifying what you're dealing with, and following where that leads, much like 'character is destiny', sets the direction of your thinking, and without those two formulations of beginning and end, you can easily, not to mention carelessly, construe what you will with what remains between them. To escape this modernist muddle of materialistic Cause & Effect, requires recovering those discarded aspects of Causation - beginning and end, and much more of what lies in between - and with that interest in looking honestly at reality, we're brought back around to Aristotle and his conception of 'The Four Causes'.

    The Causation of egg on our faces - causality & its effects (b)

    By its very nature, Metaphysics is at the root of our every thought and action, but there's one of its features that is especially visible in seemingly separate fields of study, like Knowledge (Epistemology), and Ethics, and that's Causation. It warrants your attention not because it has been at the center of so many philosophical firestorms in modernity (most having more to do with the baseless speculations of modern philosophers, than with what they did or could know of any causes at all), but because it is so intertwined into all of our thoughts and actions, beliefs, and policies, that what you do or don't know about it, will fundamentally affect how you'll think about or respond to, nearly everything in your everyday life.

    Causality & its effects parts a-g
    pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
    pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
    pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
    pt d: Causation Squared...
    pt e: Distracting you with...
    pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
    pt g: Logical consequences of....
    How it became so consequential isn't immediately obvious as you start reading what philosophers have had to say about Causation, as they don't usually begin by wondering what causes us to take the actions we do, such as striking a match to light a candle, instead they begin with what knowledge we can have of the material nature of issues such as what causes the candle wick to catch fire, or what causes metal to melt, or causes the sun to rise, all of which are informed by observations of empirical and scientific understanding (AKA: Entry level Knowledge). Some theories of Causation begin to take on an ominous air, as their seemingly innocuous, sometimes even silly, notions about what causes metal to melt, or the sun to rise, move swiftly from empirical observations, to ethical judgments, and even demands for political action (as noted earlier of Neil deGrasse-Tyson using his authority on scientific knowledge to justify demanding political action be taken), and it's by a number of mis-integrations and even disintegrations of causal relations between different forms of knowledge, that our accepted ideas of Causation, can cause all too real social and political turmoil in our day-to-day lives.
    Scientism—a Hallmark of the Dialectic, a Weapon of the Left (pg 14)

    The consequences of theories of causation gain in intensity through how they do or don't attend to the lowest and highest considerations of causation, as modernists tend to deliberately ignore and even ridicule those aspects that come closest to Identity (what Is) and Telos ( direction, intent) - which, ignored or not, aims and becomes the aim of their thoughts, which in a thousand different ways are insinuated into the popular opinions that we typically think with. That telos affects whether such patterns of thought will tend to lift you up into the broad light of day, or drive you down into the narrow darkness of an endless night of facts shorn from truth.

    Pre-modern philosophers like Aristotle, began considering causation by observing the physical nature and effects of what was visible around them, and in a number of his works, including his physics (yes, still worth reading), he confined his observations, as Newton would do long after him with Gravity, to describing the effects of causality that he could see, without claiming to either fully understand or deny what he couldn't see in it. His ideas of Actuality and Potency, intuited principles of what was most likely happening just beyond the visible surface, from those particulars that could be observed occurring, which enabled something such as the hardened state that a metal like bronze holds as its normal Actuality, to also have the Potency - the potential - to change by melting into a liquid form under significantly high temperatures. The high level language he used to describe those features is still remarkably applicable to, or at least doesn't outright contradict, the very much more detailed molecular & chemical knowledge of today, which he lacked (though some modern physicists do think that ol' Aristotle's Act and Potency was more on target than he himself could've imagined).

    Importantly, Aristotle didn't attempt to pass off either his ignorance or what doubts he might've had about what he couldn't be certain of as 'knowledge', that was suitable for guiding or declaring what else could be known, and the reason why was that the purpose of his philosophizing was to attempt to describe what was in fact True, rather than concocting a popular narrative that might be made socially or politically... useful.

    The Sophists, OTOH, then as now, are primarily concerned with concocting narratives that ape philosophy's love of wisdom, by making a sensational use of a 'critical dialectic', which they pass off as being equivalent or superior to philosophy. Aristotle dismantled those sophistries elsewhere in his Metaphysics, but it was the nature of their imitation of appearances, that he remarked on here, as:
    "...So too there are certain properties peculiar to being [Existence, Reality] as such, and it is about these that the philosopher has to investigate the truth.-An indication of this may be mentioned: dialecticians and sophists assume the same guise as the philosopher, for sophistic is Wisdom which exists only in semblance, and dialecticians embrace all things in their dialectic, and being is common to all things; but evidently their dialectic embraces these subjects because these are proper to philosophy.-For sophistic and dialectic turn on the same class of things as philosophy, but this differs from dialectic in the nature of the faculty required and from sophistic in respect of the purpose of the philosophic life. Dialectic is merely critical where philosophy claims to know, and sophistic is what appears to be philosophy but is not....."
    The Sophists 'critical dialectic' consists of raising arbitrary doubts out of thin air, with which they claim to have actually captured that Wisdom which philosophers more modestly pursue. From there, the Sophists sling their doubts wildly around until they're formed into supposed paradoxes for startling listeners into paying attention to their claims to know 'the truth' about issues, which could claim both that Change isn't possible, and just as easily that 'Change!' is all there is, without in either case ever actually explaining what they truly mean by any part of that.

    Where philosophers seek first to know what IS, and from there pursue what they can intuit is truthfully compatible with that in order to enlarge understanding, the Sophists assert & sow doubts in order to deny what IS, so as to claim that anything could be, or could be anything other than what it is, in order to cause discord and encourage action, so as to, as Marx infamously declared that:
    "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it"
    Despite how absurd such claims (rightfully) appear to be to most sensible people, we need to resist the urge to brush their sophistries off as 'Eggheaded gibberish that's of no concern to me!', because the danger of these sophistries, and to the society they spread through, comes from thinking that they have and can have no impact on your life, as that is nearly as far from the truth as the sophistries themselves are.

    For decades we've made the mistake of laughing off the absurdities that've been taught on our college campuses as merely pointy-headed foolishness, while ignoring the fact that generations of American youth have been taught to take those claims and ideals seriously, which has left us particularly vulnerable to being swept up in the downstream effects of these absurdities, as they've flipped our Corporate HR Dept's, and financial rating schemes, around to imposing those 'pointy headed absurdities' of DEI, through the exceedingly pointy end of dangerously powerful policies and laws which are maiming our children's lives in our schools, and across the workplace and society as a whole.

    The Sophist's 'Critical Dialectic', whether in classical Greece, the opening of Modernity, or today's Post-Modern America, is to propose that we (uncritically) ingest whichever set of doubts they've proposed as being of value, while ignoring what their sum total actually amounts to: causeless doubts which have no substance. When they're successful at peddling such beliefs, their dialectic begins to function as a philosophical acid, dissolving whichever knowledge of the prevailing wisdom is being targeted by them, in order to carry out its primary purpose - transforming that meaning (especially that which aids you in conceiving of and living a good life), into meaning nothing to you. Of course where there is no meaning, no vision, '...the people perish', and many sophists see in that perishing the opportunity ('don't let a crisis go to waste') to pursue and capture the power which they intend to fully utilize for however long their '15 minutes' of infamy might be made to last.

    A well rounded knowledge of the root causes - causality & its effects (a)

    Ideally, as gone into in the previous posts (here, here, here, and here), what's worth knowing, tells us about 'What is Truth', and with the differing kinds of knowledge that can be known, he who knows their causes, will know them (and themselves) best. At the root of those causes that philosophy can tell us about, is the understanding that Aristotle opened his Metaphysics with, that:
    "All men by nature desire to know"
    Causality & its effects parts a-g
    pt a: A well rounded knowledge...
    pt b: Causation of egg on our faces...
    pt c: Cause and Causelessness...
    pt d: Causation Squared...
    pt e: Distracting you with...
    pt f: Facts are only as stubborn as you...
    pt g: Logical consequences of....
    , but because some choose poorly, and do so repeatedly, even obstinately, we know that truth is not what all men desire to 'know', and we know that some men want what they want with little or no knowledge of what would cause those desires to become a reality and without regard for the consequences that might be caused by that. For the rest of us who care about truth and its consequences, what Metaphysics can reveal to us about Knowledge and Cause, can help us gain an understanding that'll help restore what was lost when we gave up the ideal of a 'well rounded education', and return to us a little more of the command that we seem to have lost over our lives, but we should not forget that some of us have no interest in learning that, and many of those would rather that you didn't hear about it either - and sadly we've put many of those in charge of our schools.

    Philosophy has separate branches for going more in depth into these two key terms, with Epistemology clarifying what we mean by knowledge and how to verify that it is what it claims to be (which we'll get into in coming posts), and for the aspect of causation I'm most interested in, the Ethics clarifies how you should respond to Causes in your life (whether from external circumstances or what you internally come to understand), and while Aristotle goes into more depth on both in other books like his Nichomachean Ethics, Analytics, and even the Physics, in the Metaphysics he looks at their foundations, and as it's a safe bet that a better understanding of that can have a sizable impact on your day to day doings and possibly even the entire course of your life, it's worth taking a closer look at those basics, and we'll begin that in this post with Knowledge.

    One of the potentially course correcting nuggets that the Metaphysics provides, is in making an important distinction about the nature of knowledge, in that knowledge, which always aims at some form of good, can be categorized by how much calculation and deliberation is or is not involved in apprehending and applying that knowledge. On one end of the scale is the fact that some knowledge involves little or no degree of chance or context in it or in the principles derived from it, while the remaining forms of knowledge involve ever increasing degrees of chance and context in how we go about both grasping and applying that knowledge. What Aristotle notes in book VI of his Nichomachean Ethics,
    " is thought to be the mark of a prudent man to be able to deliberate rightly about what is good and advantageous…But nobody deliberates about things that are invariable..."
    , highlights what is missed by not understanding how differently chance and uncertainty affect what we know and how to apply it, and failing to do so can result in our being harmed by, rather than benefiting from, the knowledge we acquire - truly: 'A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing'.

    To illustrate, beginning with the extreme end which Aristotle includes the categories of mathematics and theology in, we know that the sum of the internal angles of a triangle in a Euclidean plane (an important caveat) will always be 180* - and that knowledge is as true today, as it will be true tomorrow, just as it has been from the beginning of time, and as it will be to the end of time. No chances of context or material configuration need to be allowed for in that invariable truth - there is nothing to deliberate about, no judgements to be considered and weighed - for once it is understood by observation, that knowledge only needs to be identified, to be known and applied, and we'd be rightly concerned about the person who continued to deliberate upon and 'fact check' the sum of degrees in every possible triangle (it's worth noting, because it is so often misused & abused, that Math & Geometry are not pure truths somehow existing apart form and unsullied with reality and experience - their is no concept of a line, or a number, except through experience and inferring from quantities of it. Dualism is false, even on that level).

    OTOH, every other form of knowledge outside of mathematics and theology, contains some variability of chance and context to be considered and deliberated upon, so as to make a worthwhile judgement about it. How well your knowledge can serve the good you are aiming at, depends a great deal upon how well you recognize the nature and variations within it. With that in mind, let's take a look at how Knowledge can be generalized into three basic categories, varying in degree from that which requires the least judgment in attaining and applying that knowledge, to the most :
    • Empeiría/Epistemé - often translated as only one word or the other, what we call Empirical, refers to the facts and data of experience, while Epistemé refers to the principled methods of Science;
    • Tékhne - what we today call Technology, is the “art” or “technique” of putting the facts and data of experience to use;
    • Sophía - Wisdom (Philosophy, philo-Sophia, being the love of wisdom) goes deeper and sees farther into how to turn the experiences and arts of living, towards having lives that are worth living
    Those differences in the nature of knowledge, in how it is gathered, learned, and applied, can be glimpsed in the differences between knowing how to identify the molecular nature of water, knowing how best to package and convey, and/or sell water, and knowing to bring extra water when crossing a desert or to boil it when traveling. Being aware of those distinctions, and how best to form judgments from each of those perspectives, is what lays behind the now nearly forgotten ideal of getting a general and 'well rounded' education.

    Those who lack (or ignore) that understanding, tend to embody the old joke about 'if you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail' - or the equally appalling "You should only believe a truth that is scientifically verifiable". By having some depth and dimension to what you know about what you know, you are less likely to mistake what is appropriate with one form of knowledge, as also being appropriate to another - our knowledge of the molecular structure of water and how it interacts with what contains it, is not known in the same way as how best to convey that water, or whether or when water should be charged for or provided free of charge - and not knowing those distinctions, implicitly degrades the quality of all of what you do know, and what you might attempt to do with that knowledge.

    That being said, it's worth poking just a little bit further into the essentials of the three basic categories of knowledge:
    • Empirical/Science - these refer to two very different aspects of the knowledge being translated here. How we experience empirical knowledge typically begins with what we all have a casual and even accidental firsthand awareness of - that rocks are hard, water is wet, and fire is hot - it takes no judgment to apprehend such empirical facts, it simply is, and we perceive it. It's in observing and seeking to discover why those facts are the way they are, that leads the inquirer into discovering and identifying what makes them that way, but once those truths, principles, and laws are discovered to be behind that, they do not change and are thereafter there to be learned, and that methodical aspect of gathering and applying that knowledge - heavier on understanding than judgment - is what's usually translated as Episteme, and is more like what we recognize as Scientific knowledge today. By following Aristotle's lead and going further down paths which he only partially anticipated, we've developed that understanding into a more methodical means of applying the principle of non-contradiction to all that we know, subjecting our assumptions and biases to experimentation and verification for the purpose of better understanding the more eternal reasons for how and why it is that we experience a rock as being hard, and what it is about water that makes it feel wet, as well as how it is that the molecular composition of water can be decomposed into its explosively firey elements of Hydrogen and Oxygen, and so on, and the refinement of that process which has become the Scientific Method, has laid the foundations for the modern conveniences and marvels we enjoy today.
    • Technique and Technology, bridges the unchanging and non-deliberative knowledge developed in the scientific fields of chemistry, geology, physics, etc., with the form of knowledge that requires a great deal of deliberating upon, in order to calculate how the various concerns in what we chance to bump into in everyday life, can be utilized in putting that knowledge to work, as with controling the flow of water to generate electricity, or seeing how the chemical structure of a problematic & oily substance found in the ground, could be refined into a new form that would power engines that could do work for us, and developing vehicles that can take us farther and faster on land, see, air, and even space, than was ever dreamt of prior to that understanding. The form of knowledge which scientists discover about the world we live in, the technician develops into different forms of knowledge in specialized techniques and new technologies, which commerce transforms into previously unimagined improvements to the circumstances of our lives.
    • Wisdom , specifically that part of wisdom, Phronesis, that's translated as Practical Wisdom or Prudence, looks more deeply into our available knowledge, and more broadly into our experiences, to see farther than either science or technology do or can, and is especially mindful of the degree of chance and choice that is always involved in acting on 'what we know' in our lives. The role of the wise, the (believe it or not) intellectuals, is to take note of what is common between our many experiences - the One in the Many - to discover and make known the principles behind that knowledge and how to effectively use them to better our lives. The Metaphysics notes that,
      "Clearly then Wisdom is knowledge about certain principles and causes..."
      , but the person who not only has the broader knowledge belonging to wisdom, but prudence as well, focuses not just on unchanging principles, but demonstrates a knack for calculating how best to apply that timeless knowledge and experience to the ever changing circumstances of daily life; in the Nicomachaen Ethics
      "...wisdom is a combination of both the virtue of science and the virtue of understanding..."
      , the prudent person demonstrates a knack for intelligently combining a knowledge of fact and efficiency that comes from science, and from technology, with a knowledge of the timeless principles governing circumstances and personalities, to make the choices of calculated judgment regarding right and wrong, life and death, that are both accurate and principled, and effective at improving not only our apparent circumstances, but the quality of the lives we're able to live (which gives you a glimpse at what a failure the Intellectual Class of modernity, is).
    The Scientific Method which has led us to understand that 'this molecule of water has two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen', involves a very different form of knowledge and judgment, than that which is involved in deliberating upon the means of conveying water to the people who need it via an aqueduct, water lines, or bottled water, which are all very different forms of knowledge, and involve different forms of judgement in applying them, than that which is involved in determining what does and doesn't justify such constructions or commercial distributions, and even laws governing access to it, and each is fostered by, and depends upon, our philosophical understanding of the nature and limits of what we can know, and how we know it, and what it is that we do, and don't know, in knowing it.

    The wise and prudent person understands that, contrary to popular (modern) belief, knowledge is not power, or it is at least not the obedient servant that we've been led to think of it as being, and knowledge severed from principled understanding and experience, is a blinding danger to all. Knowledge, when its variations are rightly understood, and when we are cognizant of how and why matters both large and seemingly small can lead to unexpected consequences in our lives - always mindful of the context of choice and chance - can be put to work which benefits all - but that requires the pursuit of understanding, rather than the pursuit of power.

    However dazzling the improvements that the Scientific Method has brought to modernity, it's important to keep in mind that the judgments of those in science and technology, are typically concerned with much narrower calculations to improve measurable efficiencies for comfort and/or profit within their society - conveniently ignoring the fact that a society, a culture, are forms of knowledge that science and technology can neither conceive of, nor create, nor maintain - the scientific method, and the ability to apply it, is a very different thing from the weight of making judgments about immeasurable aspects of how best to live, or how best to respond in life or death contexts, and while each life is immeasurably improved by knowledge of what is wise, the wisest person cannot possibly know the manifold circumstances and context that each individual has to consider in the decisions they make every day in the living of their lives. All forms of knowledge are important, but it's even more important not to confuse one for the other.

    The role of a well-rounded education is to impart how the essentials of science, technology, and the Humanities (arts, literature, history), fit into and form a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, with the understanding that being able to see that whole through each part's perspective, helps to convey an appreciation of how those differences are all needed to form a solid and sound whole, and without which we are limited to seeing less of what there is to see - both in the form of better appreciating the whole, and what endangers it. Those with the interest and aptitude to delve into a particular field at greater depth, so with the larger picture in mind, as they pursued a more detailed knowledge of the part which interested them most, within the whole.

    This is not to minimize or ignore the feats of ingenuity and even courage that may be involved in operating in any one of these fields, but to point out the importance of distinguishing between the varying forms of knowledge and judgement involved in scientific, technical, and intellectual fields, so as to have the depth to avoid being misled by seemingly 'obvious answers' that lead to long lasting harm. Especially today, as the ideal of a broad and well-rounded education has been displaced by a focus upon narrowly specialized skills, we too easily risk mistaking a person's abundant cleverness in their own field, as being equivalent to that wisdom they lack, and who - whether that be ourselves or the follies of the likes of a Neil deGrass Tyson that we began these posts with - see no issue with freely advising and advocating for using legislative power to order how others 'should' be made to live, because that's 'obviously' for the 'greater good', and the popular approval of that sort of thinking, spreads it, and endangers us all.

    If it isn't clear to you what value is gained by making those distinctions within what you know and how you know it, which is what a well rounded education provides, the absence of that understanding is on full display in the bloody and destructive global history of the 20th Century for you to learn from (did you know that the ideal of a well rounded education was mostly gone by 1895?). There you'll find an abundance of lessons for learning hard truths from, with each one demonstrating that those paths forged for 'the greater good' of all, inevitably, invariably, have led and will lead to vast numbers of people experiencing lives rent by the greatest misery and destruction imaginable.

    What drove those events, was that worst development of modernity, Ideology (conceived of in 1796 as a 'science of ideas'), which inherently targets the ideal of a 'well rounded education', preferring to reduce all knowledge to 'scientific' facts and skills, as well as in planning for, and applying them. Ideology despises chance, free will, choice, virtue, morality, art, wisdom, and all the other 'irrationalities' which make human life worth living well, ignoring and denying them in its drive to impose its certainty (of what?) upon society as a collective whole, with the presumption that individuals are little more than empirical factors to be scientifically managed through their theories.

    There is nothing smart about proposals which measure all that's worth knowing by 'Science!', or that decide right and wrong by what 'Artificial Intelligence' tells us, or that justifies slighting or slandering the individual rights of any for 'the greater good!', and there is no 'progress' that can be found in going down such paths, only regress.

    How science and technology get passed off as the highest of high judgment, overlooking what's essential to knowledge and the application of it, has a lot to do with how little we consider what causes us to think and do this or that, and the role of judgment involved in acting and reacting to those causes, which is what we'll look into next, with Causality.