Friday, December 16, 2016

Chicken and Egg

Causation is I believe the legal term for the question why? Which means it includes the ideas of guilt, innocence and redress. In the remains of the  English contribution to Western Law there are a number of questions, whether you meant to do it, whether you did actually do it, occasionally there's the question why did you do it and sometimes if it can be reasonably demonstrated that you did it, then that's all that's required to move on the important business of punishment.

Causality is the term used to build a structure of ideas around cause and effect. Not so much to do with legal proceedings, rather the idea is that things don't happen in isolation. Something happens, then something else happens, and if the first thing hadn't happened, the second thing might not have happened. It sounds easier than it actually is, because generally speaking many things happened yesterday, which one resulted in the events of today isn't easy to determine with any thing like precision. It was Hume, the Empiricist, who reckoned that sweating causality was more often than not a bit of a waste of time, especially in politics. And I can't believe I'm saying this but the DNC might consider struggling through one or two of Hume's essays.

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