Primary causes in history

-A cause that does not transcend its effect is an instrument, and vice-versa.

-“Transcendence” negates homogeneity.

-Instrument is a secondary cause, named analogously to the sort of secondary cause we know best.

-An instrument or secondary cause can explain, say, why you have Socrates Jr. but not human beings. To know that one man can make another does not ascend to the level where we discover either evolutionary histories or accounts of divine creation, i.e. to know one man fathered another does not require either the science of biology or a theological claim.

-The secondary cause is a less noble and less intrinsic cause. Were this not so, science would not be a deepening of our understanding of things, nor would it be an advance from relatively superficial to more profound causes.

-The evolutionary account is not a primary cause so far as it is a past historical event, but so far as it explains the species now (as historical, adapted, mutable, related to all species, non-designed, etc.) If man were designed at some past moment, the same would be true.  Secondary causality simply iterates what the primary cause gave rise to.



  1. robalspaugh said,

    December 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    All instruments are homogeneous with their effect? Hmm. Wouldn’t this ipso facto rule out the possibility of us creating artificial intelligence, living machines, etc.?

    • December 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Since I think artificial intelligence is both unnecessary for computing (it would suffice to make a machine that could give all the responses of intelligence without any insight) and probably contradictory, I’m fine with that conclusion. But I can’t tell whether the inference you’re trying to draw can be made.

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