Background Review: Quest for Definable Causality

Background Review: Quest for Definable Causality

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-525-4.ch002
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This chapter presents a review on the quest for logically definable causality. The limitation of observability and truth-based cognition is discussed. The student-teacher philosophical dispute between Aristotle and Plato is revisited. Aristotle’s causality principle, David Hume’s challenge, Lotfi Zadeh’s “Causality Is Undefinable” conclusion, and Judea Pearl’s probabilistic definability are reviewed. Niels Bohr’s particle-wave complementarity principle, David Bohm’s causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, and Sorkin’s causal set program are discussed. Cognitive-map-based causal reasoning is briefly visited. YinYang bipolar logic and bipolar causality are previewed. Social construction and destruction in science are examined. It is asserted that, in order to continue its role as the doctrine of science, the logical definability of Aristotle’s causality principle has become an ultimate dilemma of science. It is concluded that, in order to resolve the dilemma, a formal system with logically definable causality has to be developed, which has to be logical, physical, relativistic, and quantum in nature. The formal system has to be applicable in the microscopic world as well as in the macroscopic world, in the physical world as well as in the social world, in cognitive informatics as well as in life sciences, and, above all, it has to reveal the ubiquitous effects of quantum entanglement in simple, comprehensible terms.
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While the EPR paradox (Einstein, Podolsky & Rosen, 1935) challenged long-held ideas about the relation between the observed values of physical quantities and the values that can be accounted for by a physical theory, Bell’s theorem (Bell, 1964) extended the argument of the EPR paradox and proved the validity of quantum entanglement in statistical terms but hasn’t led to unification beyond quantum theory. On the one hand, the search for quantum gravity has so far failed to find a decisive battleground; on the other hand, practical research and development of quantum computers have been moving forward slowly with countless difficulties and setbacks. Evidently, a logically complete theory of quantum mechanics is inevitable for its ultimate unification with general relativity and for its practical application in quantum computing.

Per the EPR paradox, scientists are faced with the dilemma that if observability is questionable truth-based reasoning could be at fault especially in the quest for the grand unification. This prompted us to ask the legitimate questions: Could equilibrium be the unifying force for the difficult and sometimes painful quest? Is bipolar equilibrium or non-equilibrium observable? Could YinYang bipolarity be the hidden fundamental?

From a truth-based unipolar perspective, equilibria or non-equilibria are not observables; from a holistic equilibrium-based YinYang bipolar perspective, they are observables because equilibrium is a fundamental scientific concept in thermodynamics – the ultimate source of existence, energy, life, and information. Actually, observable or not may no longer be the key when we are faced with the faultline of observability in truth-based reasoning. Some additional scientific principle seems to be missing from the big picture of science.

What could be the missing scientific principle? In a court of law, a conviction of a crime needs two elements: evidence and motive. Evidence is based on scientific observation in criminal investigation. Motive, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to find a match in science. Is there such a matching principle in science? If so, what is it?

Although agent and agent interaction is the source of any motivation, the legal term “motive” in criminal science is not a mathematical concept. To find a match to the concept in mathematical terms, therefore, requires a unifying mathematical axiomatization of agents and agent interaction in both microscopic and macroscopic worlds. As discussed in the last chapter, since agent interactions are governed or regulated by physical and social dynamics, the difficulty of axiomatizing agent interactions can be traced back to Hilbert’s effort in axiomatizing physics, Aristotle’s causality principle, and the concept of singularity and equilibrium. Among these concepts, causality is the only one related to motive. Could causality be the missing principle from the big picture of science?

In Lee Smolin’s influential book “The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next”, the author outlined five scientific unifications (Smolin, 2006):

  • 1.

    Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature. This is called the problem of quantum gravity.

  • 2.

    Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense.

  • 3.

    Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single fundamental entity.

  • 4.

    Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.

  • 5.

    Explain dark matter and dark energy. Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scale. More generally, explain why the constants of the standard model of cosmology, including dark energy, have the values they do.

After discussing the difficult and sometimes painful journey in the quest for quantum gravity (Problem 1), the author wrote: “These days, many of us working on quantum gravity believe that causality itself is fundamental – and is thus meaningful even at a level where the notion of space has disappeared.” (Smolin, 2006, p. 241241)

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