Logic

Author

Comment

Hello Avi,

I have started reading your book 'The Logic of Causation' and notice that you reference another book 'Future Logic' on occasion. Is 'The Logic of Causation' self-contained or would it better to read 'Future Logic' first? What do I need to know in order to understand 'The Logic of Causation'?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

p.s. Modern treatments of causation seem to revolve around mathematical symbolisms like Bayesian nets and probability; are you familiar with these methodologies? I'm just wondering how your treatment differs... Thanks.

Hi Rizza, you do not need to read FL to understand LC. Start LC at the beginning and you should be ok. No, LC has nothing to do with other treatments of the subject. It is by far more fundamental and far ranging. It is not about probabilities but about the definitive varieties of causation and their interrelations, and how they are induced and deduced. Read the abstract first.

Something about you (optional) logician-philosopher

Thanks Avi. Your treatise seems quite unique; I've not seen anything like it elsewhere. As there are a very large number of tables and results in the book, have you ever thought of computerising them? An interactive database would be much more user-friendly. I.e., the user would input the premises and the computer would find and output the conclusion(s).

It would be a big job of course, but I have programming skills and would be interested in tackling it. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself - first I will have to read the book! But in due course perhaps you could offer suggestions as to how to best structure such a program.

Hi Rizza.

You will find a great many very large tables posted in the website that could not be included in the book.

As regards a programme such as you describe, I have thought of this years ago, and indeed have a written description of how it would proceed. However, my computer skills are not up to the task.

If one day, after you have gotten acquainted LC, you are still interested in pursuing this matter, I will certainly be open to a cooperative effort.

I have no doubt that such an online facility would be very popular and influential.

Regards, Avi

Something about you (optional) logician-philosopher

Avi

Hi Rizza.

If one day, after you have gotten acquainted LC, you are still interested in pursuing this matter, I will certainly be open to a cooperative effort.

I have no doubt that such an online facility would be very popular and influential.

Regards, Avi

If one day, after you have gotten acquainted LC, you are still interested in pursuing this matter, I will certainly be open to a cooperative effort.

I have no doubt that such an online facility would be very popular and influential.

Regards, Avi

Yes, I think such a utility would really put your site on the map. I didn't realise there were extra tables not included in the book, I'll look for them. When and if the time comes to begin work on the program it would save a lot of time, effort, and errors if I had spreadsheets or csv files of the tables. Thanks.

Hi Avi,

Regarding your book The Logic of Causation, I admit I have only skimmed it but since you appear to be an Aristotelian in many ways (particularly as regards Logic) I was expecting to find something on Aristotle's four causes, but didn't. Is this because they aren't very amenable to formal treatment? Personally, being something of an Aristotelian myself, I often find them a useful tool for thinking generally.

All the best,

Hank.

Hi Hank,

I have some comments on the four causes in an appendix to my book Volition and Allied Causal Concepts.

See here: http://www.thelogician.net/VOLITION-and-ALLIED-CAUSAL-CONCEPTS/Appendixes.htm

See also chapter 13 of that book, on final cause. http://www.thelogician.net/VOLITION-and-ALLIED-CAUSAL-CONCEPTS/Quasi-Purposive-in-Nature-13.htm

Something about you (optional) logic, philosophy

Thanks Avi, some insightful comments there regarding the 4 causes.

I'm fascinated by causality because it's so ubiquitous in our thinking and yet seems to have been largely ignored by the "scientific" community as a subject worthy of serious study. Perhaps this is in part owing to David Hume's highly influential (but in my opinion, sophistical) writings on the subject.

This is particularly evident in statistics where we are told that "correlation is not causation", but it is never explained what causation actually IS. It's almost as though causality is a taboo subject; too "wooly" and metaphysical a concept for scientists, but ok for philosophers, perhaps.

However, things are beginning to change. I'm not sure whether you're aware of the work of Judea Pearl, an Israeli-American computer scientist who has developed a theory of causal and counterfactual inference, and for this and related work in Artificial Intelligence, received the Turing Award in 2011. He has recently published "The Book of Why : The New Science of Cause and Effect", which was written for a lay audience. Details here :

http://bayes.cs.ucla.edu/jp_home.html (click on the "WHY" link at the top of the page, under the title). By the way, don't be put off by the fact that the theory is a mathematical one. The math is quite simple and most of the work is done by diagrams. The logic is much more important than the mere symbols.

I haven't yet read the book (it's on the way), and I'm not sure how much of his work parallels your "Logic of Causation", but I thought you might be interested in it.