Why is Causality (Cause and Effect) Not Determinative? Because It’s Not Real: The purely conceptual nature of “cause and effect”

With respect to the determinative power of causality, I submit that there is none.  In support of this assertion I have developed the following explication, which reveals the nullifying contradiction of “cause and effect” when it is extracted from its purely conceptual  context:

There can be no cause qua cause until after  the effect is manifest. For what is a cause without an effect? It is certainly not a cause. For if a cause has not actually caused anything, then it is not a cause by definition.  In this way, then, anything which we would qualify as cause is categorically dependent for its rational and efficacious definition as a “cause” upon the effect.

Furthermore, we must also assert that there is no effect then which can exist except utterly independent of the cause. For unless the effect exists independently of the cause, it must be considered a direct and absolute function of the cause.  But if it is a direct and absolute function of the cause, then the distinction is eliminated, which then obliterates the very root essence of “cause and effect” in the first place, relegating it to irrelevance, and thus nonexistence…for that which is existentially irrelevant contradicts itself right out of existence.

Speaking of contradiction, note the following:

By the previous logic, cause and effect, being entirely distinct from one another, must therefore have entirely autonomous, separate existence already, prior to the confluence which is defined as “cause and effect” qua “cause and effect”.  In other words, there can be no effect unless the effect is an effect alone, absent any cause, before any cause manifests itself as a cause. Which then makes, by logical extension, the cause only a cause if it itself exists as such autonomously, absent the effect, before any effect manifests itself as an effect. In other words, each one must exist already as a prerequisite for “cause and effect” to  meet any sort of rationally consistent criteria in order to be defined as such: the effect is an effect prior to the cause causing it; and the cause is a cause prior to it actually having caused anything.

The cause needs the effect to be defined as the cause; and the effect needs the cause to be defined as an effect. But the effect cannot be a direct function of the cause without eliminating the distinction; and the cause cannot be given its absolute meaning and relevancy by the effect without likewise eliminating the distinction. But if the effect exists as the effect utterly independent of the cause, and the cause exists as the cause utterly independent of the effect, then what we assert is that an effect doesn’t actually require a cause to be an effect, and a cause doesn’t actually require an effect to be a cause.  Which…destroys the definitions of both, nullifying their “autonomous”, “independent” existence.

The point is that no matter from which angle approach it, you inevitably run into an impenetrable wall of contradiction.

And so it goes when we attempt to incorporate mutually exclusive conceptual abstractions into the non-abstract material universe of actual objects by assuming and imagining that they are likewise, themselves, in possession of a material, actual essence.

The solution to reconciling the contradictions now becomes apparent. We must not consider cause and effect an actual, catalyzing causal force…like we spuriously do with the laws of physics when we describe them as “governing”.  We must recognize cause and effect for what it really is: a concept human beings use to describe the relative movement of objects in the environment, objects which are fundamentally neither caused nor effected but are rooted in the infinity of their own absolute and infinitely singular material essence, in whatever form it happens to be observed, and as a function of whatever relative context in which it happens to be observed.

Indeed–and in conclusion–the presence of relativity in object interactions precludes any actual  (materially “existent”, for lack of a better term) cause and effect; yet it necessitates a conceptual cause and effect that the self-aware agent engages as a means to define and identify both what an object is, and how it is observed (i.e. its position relative to the observer at any given moment).

13 thoughts on “Why is Causality (Cause and Effect) Not Determinative? Because It’s Not Real: The purely conceptual nature of “cause and effect”

  1. I love it ! What an interesting angle upon that situation. . My take is never to posit anything that is a result of an argument. For example: Your argument is cool; don’t get me wrong. But I would counter that the situation is not apparent; meaning, it is not how we deal in life, and so such speculations arise due to a trascendental effect that is the result of a speculative situation . So, it is not so much as there may be a speculative and practical, but more that the speculative posits itself upon the practical. This is this real: a method by which we might find what may be true or false about reality.

    I go at it a little differently: What is true is that which does not arise from the conclusions of argument, but that which Informs the argument; which ironically falls into the same structure of argument that you put forth as to cause and effect. Excellent.

  2. Thank you, Landzek.

    I’m going to re-read your comment a few times to see if I truly grasp what you are saying.

    Thank you again!

  3. ….I tend to say that the contradiction is what determines. Otherwise. We are involved with A transcendence that is determining our ability to freely consider things that lead to contradictions, or an absolute falsity, which is kinda what you are arguing: that contingency can’t be determined. Supposedly. The finding of a falsity by locating contradiction shows which direction truth should take; this then too would argue a determined route, since the contradictions are seen not to have arisen randomly, or from some absolute contingency. This then would be a determined route that shows contingency to be false. Yet we do not live that way. Hence, to posit some kind of illusion is to say that some sort of ‘God effect’ is ‘guiding’ thought to its conclusions, the contingency that is our daily lives being determined then through a sort of communion with that transcendence that allows us to intuit what might be true and false through experiment, the determination of which we cannot see before we do it. Thus coming to what is true , again, after the fact.

    I simply say that reality is based in contradiction. Where as what is true is contradiction itself, that which is apparent before hand that allows argument to be placed.

  4. That which informs the argument does not itself exist beyond the scope of reason. Concepts themselves are conclusions about the environment with the individual Self as the standard of the efficacy and relevancy of these concepts. These concepts are used to answer questions concerning how man will interpret his position in the universe–that is, his reality. The answers are only true or false depending on whether or not they affirm or deny the Standard then of the Self. The Standard is again the individual, since reality is always and inexorably interpreted from the context of the Self. The only way you can claim that what is true or what simply “exists” is by the absolute context of Self, period. Remove YOU from the equation and you have no basis for claiming an “objective reality outside” of you.


    Rational consistency (conceptual consistency) is that which informs both the argument and the conclusion. Contradiction can arise at any point between argument and conclusion, nullifying the entire thing. Since man does not interpret reality apart from reason as a function of his individual self-aware context, it is the rational consistency of concepts which creates truth. This consistency is not determinative in the sense that it destroys all distinction between the determinative force–which will always ultimately be determinism itself–but rather affirms as the reference the only Standard by which RELATIVE distinctions which are observed between objects can be defined in promotion and perpetuation of that Standard. Determinism qua determinism eradicates any standard of truth by obliterating relativity (relative interaction between objects) and thus creating an impossible infinite singularity which cannot be defined and thus cannot be said to exist.

    It appears you are arguing from a primacy of existence metaphysic whereby absolute existence informs reason even though it is mutually exclusive of reason since reason is a product of man’s conceptualizing faculty.

    This is a fundamental and broad fallacy.

  5. To be concise, rational consistency does not determine truth. It affirms as absolute the Standard by which truth is relevant and efficacious.

  6. That standard is ultimately a function of a metaphysic which is a singularity. This singularity does not determine then, nor is itself determined. That reason is used to define it does not make it a product or an outcome of reason.

  7. I use ‘existence’ as a basis of meaning, a juncture of sorts whereby other terms may by given.

    It appears to me that your proof is gained through a kind of agency that is assumed in yoyr propsal of reason.

    Can you describe the basis of this agency?

  8. …reading your subsequent replies, im not sure what your point it is. I lost what meaning i thought i was understanding if you.

  9. I’m not sure what you mean by “agency”? I use the term “agent” to describe he who is aware of Self (is able to conceptualized a distinction between Self and Not Self). Other than that I imply no agency…no transcendent “force” as it were. I do hold to Ability as the metaphysical primary, as opposed to “existence” or “consciousness”, for instance. The general equation goes something like: Ability implies action implies relativity (relative relationship) implies conceptualization (cognition). This obviously needs a great deal of further explication. But if there is any “agency”, as it were, it would be Ability.

    If that helps.

    But more to the point: reason is the only means man has of determining what is true. Ideas which according to the definitions contradict cannot be true, because they nullify the the definitions. This is why contradiction cannot possibly be true. Contradictions void the very conceptual definitions used to posit the contradiction itself. To say blue is also green eradicates both concepts. In which case, it is impossible to claim that blue is also green in the first place.

  10. Off topic:

    I ran across an Orwell quote from 1984. I have not retread that book since college but the premise stuck nicely and one cannot help but see its message all around us various forms in daily life and conversations. Especially on blogs discussing the Christian industrial complex.

    Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
George Orwell, 1984

  11. That is EXACTLY right. Orthodoxy is when thoughts are given to the individual, the individual does not create them himself. A huge difference.

    If we say “orthodoxy is a function of the individual”, then it’s not really orthodoxy we are talking about. Orthodoxy is what the individual affirms even if it is contrary to his or her own experiences or opinions.

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