Thursday, March 30, 2017

Quantum mechanics and consciousness - Part 3/8: Conditional Forward Causation

3. Conditional Forward Causation

From our examples, we may generalize that all the principal causation is ‘down’ the sequence of multiple generative levels {A ➝ B ➝ ... }, and that the only effect back up the sequence is the way principal causes depend on previous events or occasions to select their range of operation. Let us adopt as universal this asymmetric relationship between multiple generative levels: that dispositions act forwards in a way conditional on certain things already existing at the later levels. This as a simple initial hypothesis.  We will see whether all dispositions seen as existing in nature can be interpreted with this pattern of generation and selection.

We may surmise that A, the first in the sequence, is the ‘deepest underlying principle’, ‘source’, or ‘power’ that is fixed through all the subsequent changes to B, C, etc. Conditional forward causation is the principle we saw from physics. It implies that changes to B, for example, come from subsequent operations of A, and not from C, D,.. acting in ‘reverse’ up the chain. We surmise, rather, that the subsequent operations of A are now conditioned on the results in B, C, D, etc. The operations of A are therefore the principal causes, whereas the dependence of those operations on the previous state of B is via instrumental causation, and the dependence on the results in C, D,... is via occasional causation. I suggest that this is a universal pattern for the operation of a class of dispositions in nature, namely those that do not follow from the rearrangement of parts of an aggregate object.

Part 2

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