First Causes

Alex Green dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Sep 12 12:36:21 EST 2004

lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<41432831.6456150 at netnews.att.net>...
> On 11 Sep 2004 03:58:32 -0700, dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk (Alex Green) in
> comp.ai.philosophy wrote:
> >lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<4141f007.920566 at netnews.att.net>...
> >> On 9 Sep 2004 15:14:21 -0700, dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk (Alex Green) in
> >> comp.ai.philosophy wrote:
> >> 
> >> >lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<41406d36.55578664 at netnews.att.net>...
> >> >> On 9 Sep 2004 04:39:35 -0700, dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk (Alex Green) in
> >> >> comp.ai.philosophy wrote:
> >> 
> >> [. . .]
> >> 
> >> >> >Could there be differences without these things? If so, how?
> >> >> 
> >> >> Could there be space and time without differences? No.
> >> >
> >> >Please explain. Are you using the term 'differences' to mean the
> >> >presence of more than one thing or the detection of more than one
> >> >thing? If the latter then the detection would involve more than one
> >> >thing so many things come before 'difference'. If the former then you
> >> >have widened the term 'difference' so far that it just means 'things'.
> >> 
> >> We have a significant problem here. If you're going to arbitrarily
> >> snip relevant comments, there is nothing to discuss. If you want
> >> answers to questions, please extend me the courtesy of addressing
> >> all points I submit for consideration of the issue. I use the term
> >> difference in the sense of contradiction, negation, or not.
> >> 
> >
> >My apologies, on some moderated groups they will not allow
> >contributions without the removal of items that are not addressed in
> >the current post.
> No problem. As a matter of policy I never cross post to moderated
> groups because the rejection of a post by one moderated group causes
> rejection by all groups moderated or not. It's a practice I call cross
> threading that I've complained of in no uncertain terms in the past.
> (Let me just add that I don't mind answering questions in isolation or
> making comments isolated from the rest of the material in a post. It's
> just that several omitted parts of the post applied directly to the
> question you asked.)
> >How could a negation occur as a 'first cause'? Suppose a thing
> >occurred as a first ever thing, if this thing was a 'not thing' it
> >would not have occurred. Can you explain how negation could be the
> >first cause?
> There seems to be a misconception here. It sounds to me like you are
> considering first causes in historical terms where I intended it more
> in the sense of omnipresent. Evolution is certainly considered an
> omnipresent cause as would be a prime mover unmoved or the god of
> classic religions.
> There is no first cause in historical terms. This is the chicken and
> egg problem I mention in my first reply to your post. Causes and
> consequences are always mixed up with one another in an ongoing
> sequence of interactions. Religion normally and science occasionally
> project original causes like creation or the big bang, but these are
> highly speculative and largely problematic in my estimation.
> A first cause in the sense of omnipresence is simply a mechanical
> reductio used as the driving cause of everything; and differences,
> negation, contradicition, not, etc. certainly fill that role. It isn't
> that there are no antecedent things between which differences exist.
> It's more that without differences no interactions are possible.

If we inspect the specific differences we end up with concepts like
'different locations' and different masses'. Each of these differences
would need a separate 'difference process'.

> Now, having cleared up the issue of historical versus omnipresent
> causation, you can still reasonably ask whether things or differences
> take precedence. This problem can be resolved by demonstration and
> proof. There is no thing or group or collection of things which can be
> proven universally the cause of differences, but differences can be
> proven universally the cause of all things.
> The proof is straightforward and simple. We just consider the nature
> of alternatives to differences. For the simplest case, let's consider
> that everything is the result of P "not" in the sense of negation or
> differences. Then alternatives to P "not" are cast in the inherently
> self contradictory form of Q "not not". And self contradiction is the
> cause of nothing.

Lets analyse this. Does P "not" mean (not P) ie: all those things
other than P?

If P"not" is (not P) then alternatives to (not P) are P. I cannot see
how this is self contradictory but maybe I have misunderstood your
nomenclature. Setting Q as (not)(not P) seems quite reasonable, Q
would be identical to P.

> The same is true if we consider P "differences" or P "contradiction"
> as the omnipresent cause of everything. In either case Q "different
> from differences" or Q "contradiction of contradiction" is inherently
> self contradictory and P "differences" or P "contradiction" is proven
> the universal cause of everything, and no thing or things can be
> proven the universal cause of differences for the simple reason that
> there are always non self contradictory alternatives to every thing.

If the contradiction of P is all those things that are not P then the
contradiction of the contradiction of P, although self contradictory,
is still P - where is the problem?

> The reason this is important is that identifying differences in the
> sense of contradiction or negation as the omnipresent cause of
> everything allows us to identify the categories which things can be in
> terms of the compounding of differences in terms of one another. 

In the sense that (not)(not P) is P this is true but this is just a
statement of identity. As I was pointing out earlier, identity is the
root of classification, not difference. This is why you have
introduced (not)(not P) rather than (not P). Obviously (not P) is
everything in the world other than P but (not)(not P) is P -
(not)(not) is the identity operator whereas (not) is the negation
operator (difference). So your statement amounts to the claim that
double negation amounts to identity. This is true and forms the basis
of classification.

> For
> example, without going into a lot of explanatory rationale, I consider
> things defined in terms of one level differences to be material in
> nature and things defined in terms of compound levels of differences
> to be sentient in nature.

You have not introduced an argument to justify this assertion. You
would need to define 'sentience'.

> What I'd like to stress here is that I'm not dealing in mere hyperbole
> and supposition. If there is some demonstrably universally omnipresent
> or first cause for everything, it can only be demonstrable through the
> universally self contradictory nature of alternatives. 

But self contradiction in the form that you have expressed seems to
mean identity ie: (not)(not)  for instance (not)(not P)=P.

> Which means in
> turn that any universally demonstrable first cause of everything
> itself must entail contradiction and cannot just entail any thing
> defined in terms of contradiction or differences. 

But if you had P in the first place why not just assert that P=P
rather than introducing a process where, given P (ie:P=P) then 
(not)(not P)=P?

Best Wishes

Alex Green

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