History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Freedom’s causality, and an absence of antecedent cause

March 31st, 2009 · No Comments

Freedom’s Causality

The issues of the previous two posts can be grasped by reflecting on Kant’s third antinomy, in factually historical terms!
The link is to a passage from a text that deals with the idea of ‘freedom’s causality’. Actually freedom has no direct standard ‘causality’ in time, that’s the whole point. The detection of the absent of a cause is what the passage is about. The passage notes how Kant assumes such a thing exists, without an example.
Remarkably the eonic effect gives an example. Think of the Axial Age: it shows no lead up in causal terms. It simply happens discontinuously.

Humanity tears its hair on these questions, and scientists declare the whole subject irrelevant, but the evidence of history can help make the question intuitive, and quite historical.

What would “bridging nature and freedom” mean outside of politics? For Kant the big questions are nearly always epistemological: thus, bridging freedom and nature might mean specifying the conditions under which investigators of the empirical world (scientists) are able to find evidence of spontaneity in the physical world (that is, of freedom’s causality). Either freedom and nature are strictly alternative perspectives on the same set of empirical occurrences, or there are some things in the world that can only be explained according to freedom (in other words, the second alternative posits empirical evidence that some thing has no antecedent cause). I am not the first person to point out that it is not an easy thing empirical evidence of a lack of a cause. Kant himself assumes that a good scientist will operate under the presumption that absent natural causes may eventually be discovered

Tags: The Eonic Effect

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