Review: Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality

4 Star, Philosophy
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Huw Price , Richard Corry

4.0 out of 5 stars My head hurts — connects science to philosophy as math, February 8, 2014

I was not expecting the math formulas and the dense language. It never occurred to me that philosphy would get so convuluted that it now has its own language and arcane formulas that require a lifetime of study to be conversant. Not fun at all.

Among the high points as I struggled with the various authors, most of them much too far from my own interest in humanities and the logic of human affairs:

01 Bottom line is about AGENCY — who gets to drive and in what direction. Science is the car and its elements and their capabilities. Causality is everything else.

02 There are two major camps: causal fundamentalists and causal republicanists. The first is adamant that causality is scientific and can be factored, the second that both science and philospphy have a convergent role in understanding causality.

03 Huw Price addresses a major theme of the book, the information asymmetries associated with causation, and this chapter alone assuages my irritation at buying a book most of whose contents I cannot understand or exploit. Cause and effect asymmetrics, decision-theoretic asymmetry of knowledge and action; and physical asymmetry associated with the second law of thermodynamics, this I can grasp.

The book ends with a very interesting section on causal handles, as in no “one cause” but instead a whole chain (actually multiple intertwined chains) of “causal handles” with each cause having an influence on the next cause, and so on.

E. O. Wilson’s book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge remains my top pick for explaining why the sciences need the humanities.

For those such as myself who want their philosophy a bit more human, I also recommend:

The Theory Of Everything
The Hawk is Dying
The Snow Walker

See also these lists of my book reviews at Amazon sorted into the named categories, easily found by searching for the phrase:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews of Capitalism Reincarnated

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Civilization-Building

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Collective Intelligence

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Common Wealth

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Conscious, Evolutionary, Integral Activism & Goodness

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Dialog for Truth & Reconciliation

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Diversity of Voices & Values (Other than USA)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Diversity of Voices & Values (USA)

Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE for EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

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