Re: JCS: Of memes and witchcraft

t (
Mon, 31 May 1999 15:00:33 EDT

From: <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 15:00:33 EDT
Subject: Re: JCS: Of memes and witchcraft

In a message dated 5/24/99 2:09:51 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

<< Could you just outline the causation/control distinction again, please -
- I missed your previous explanation. Sorry. But isn't control just
continuous causation?
Robin Faichney

I wouldn't think so. Control necessarily involves causation, but is not
synonymous with it. I think it is also more than just continuous causation.
First of all, it would involve phenomenon of mutual causation, or
responsiveness such as a feedback loop. Second, control involves some degree
of intentionality - a goal orientation. The sun continuously causes heat in
the Earth's biosphere, but it doesn't meaningfully *control* the Earth's
temperature. The sun is completely non-responsive to the Earth's
temperature. In a minimal sense a thermostat does control the temperature in
a house.

Having intentionality, control necessarily involves practicalities such as
proximate causes, and necessarily does not concern itself with
impracticalities such as ultimate causes. Hence ultimate determinism is
irrelevant to issues of free will, since those deal with issues of control
and intentionality, and not causation.


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