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Re: [ontolog-forum] Cause and chemical reactions

To: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 10:30:13 -0500
Message-id: <p06230900c29ef712f1c3@[]>
>The distinction is very clear:
>  > I'd also have a lot of trouble distinguishing
>  > material from efficient cases in the case of
>  > a simple chemical reaction.
>If you have a gas leak in your house, the gas and
>surrounding air are the material causes, and a spark
>that triggers an explosion is the efficient cause.    (01)

OK for that case. Now what about mixing baking 
soda with vinegar? No spark is required. The 
efficient cause is, well, just the materials 
together doing their stuff. But that would be the 
material cause, right? Or was the efficient cause 
the act of doing the mixing? Hmm, that puts a 
spark and a movement (and goodness knows what 
else, eg a change in termperature) into the same 
ontological category.    (02)

Im puzzled already. Why are doing this 
taxonomizing exercise, again? Was it supposed to 
help our thinking? Like the continuant/occurrent 
taxonomy, it seems to be no actual use, causes a 
lot of puzzlement, and we are only talking about 
it at all because some long-dead (and hence 
venerated) philosopher thought it up. To hell 
with it.    (03)

Pat    (04)

>In particular, Aristotle's four aitia (translated
>to Latin as causae) were four methods of explanation.
>The meaning of the word changed when Hume and others
>focused on the efficient cause as the "true" cause.
>But that doesn't make the other three less important
>as bases for explanations.
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>    (05)

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