Question

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Kuda

Extended False Equivalency?

This the form for the False Equivalency fallacy:

1. Thing 1 and thing 2 both share characteristic A.

2. Therefore, things 1 and 2 are equal.

I had this little chat with someone who denied simultaneous causation:

Me: take the example of a billiard ball A hitting a billiard ball B and it moves. Here the proximate cause is not the billiard ball A moving in the direction of the billiard ball B, but the instant when A hits B, here the effect and the cause are simultaneous.

Him: but if simultaneous causality were true, then cause sui would also be true. For then something like the universe began to exist by itself would be possible if we accept simultaneous causality.

Here I think my opponent believes that if a cause-effect event has the property of being simultaneous causation, then it always leads to a contradiction because the example of the cause sui does exactly that. But I think he has committed the fallacy of false equivalence in this form here:

1. Thing 1 and thing 2 bot share characteristic A.
2. Characteristic A causes thing 2 to lead to a contradiction.
3. Therefore, thing 1 must also lead to a contradiction.

If we replace the variables we have his reasoning:

1. Billiard ball A hitting B causes B to move and a thing causing itself shares the characteristic of simultaneous causation.

2. Simultaneous causation allowing the thing causing itself leads to a contradiction.

3. Therefore, that the billiard ball A hitting B causing it to move must also lead to a contradiction.

What do you think?

 

asked on Monday, Jun 07, 2021 02:27:43 PM by Kuda

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Monique Z writes:

Here the proximate cause is not the billiard ball A moving in the direction of the billiard ball B, but the instant when A hits B, here the effect and the cause are simultaneous.

I would argue that the cause and effect are not simultaneous. Putting it crudely, the second ball only moves when the force of A becomes greater than the natural force acting on B. This can happen quickly, but it does take time. Thus the cause precedes the effect

posted on Tuesday, Jun 08, 2021 10:31:24 AM
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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus writes:
[To Monique Z]

It  appears  instant, but isn't actually instant - you have a point.

OP's friend doesn't realise that, though, and thinks the affair is instant - making it equivalent to causa sui.

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Jun 08, 2021 11:17:34 AM
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Monique Z writes:
[To Rationalissimus of the Elenchus]

True. They're definitely guilty of using a weak analogy 

[ login to reply ] posted on Tuesday, Jun 08, 2021 05:20:01 PM

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Answers

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Rationalissimus of the Elenchus
3

Took me a while to get my head around this. From what I gathered though, this person is arguing that self-causation (a well-known logical contradiction) is equal to simultaneous causation.

In the case of the billiard balls : ball A hits ball B, causing it to move. The cause is A hitting B, and the effect is B moving. The effect appears instant because there's no visible time-lag between A striking B and B moving.

In the case of causa sui ; a thing powers itself. So B would move on its own, without any sort of input from an external object.

These two examples aren't the same. The first example clearly shows the motion of B is caused by  something else ; it doesn't imply that it was autonomous, even if it looked like that. In the second example, B would cause its own movement (but it does not do that; if A did not strike it, it would, all else being the same, wouldn't move). The fact that they share visibly simultaneous cause-and-effect does not make them equal in other senses.

I hope I understood that!

answered on Monday, Jun 07, 2021 02:40:21 PM by Rationalissimus of the Elenchus

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