Vindicating the Notion of Causality

“the argument that we only believe that ‘A’ causes ‘B’ because we always see ‘B’ following ‘A’, assumes the very causal principle whose objectivity it is denying! It does this because it establishes a causal connection between our observations and our belief in causality. But how can the causal principle be used to explain away causality? It involves an absurd contradiction. Secondly, it is not true that our belief in causality is only supported by habitual observation of external events. It is also rooted in our own internal mental experience. We are, for instance, immediately and intimately aware of the fact that our acts of will determine and control our subsequent behaviour. We know that our decision to go to Paris for a holiday results in our booking a flight to the French capital and our presence on the appropriate aircraft. We similarly perceive that there is a causal connection between our invention of a fictional character and our presentation of him to the outside world in our first novel. It is therefore extraordinarily perverse to claim that we cannot prove the reality of causality. Its objective presence in our experience is manifestly self-evident. Furthermore, the significant fact that we have direct and intimate knowledge of the causal principle in our own creative experience, offers the strongest possible support for the cosmological case for the existence of God.”

(Vander Elst, Is there No God?)


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