Principles and causation (was: Language Creation etc.)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, May 15, 2002, 13:20|
Christophe Grandsire scripsit:
> I'm sorry, but I just fail to see the difference. Being run over by cars cannot
> It's a matter of survival and survival has nothing to do
> with principles.
It was a poor example, I agree.
> What is the difference between acting *because* or *according
> to* a principle? To me, the only reason you could act *according to* a
> principle is *because* you have this principle. What is acting *because* of
Well, you do agree that some actions are done other than on principle?
If so, then an action may be *motivated* by something other than principle,
but it may happen to coincide with principle nevertheless. More weakly,
an action may be motivated by something other than principle and nonetheless
not contravene any principle. For example, I ate a bagel this morning
because I was hungry (ergo not on principle), and doing so did not contravene
any principle of mine.
High-quality examples of acting in accordance with a principle but not
motivated by it are not so easy to find. It is a principle with me
not to participate in flamewars. However, I refrained from participating
in flamewar X (not on this mailing list!) not motivated by this principle,
but simply because I was too tired to do so.
ObConlang: All of this is much simpler to explain in Lojban, where there
are four words for "because" (and therefore four words for "therefore" and "why"):
physically caused by, motivated by (the relevant one here), rationally justified
by, and logically entailed by.
Here are some examples (in English) based on a child's questions:
Why is it raining? Because (physically caused by) the clouds are crying.
Why did Sally hit me? Because (motivated by) you pulled her hair.
Why does Sally always get a star from the teacher? Because (justified by)
she works hard.
Why did Fluffy have to die? Because (logically entailed by) Fluffy is a
rabbit, and rabbits don't live long.
John Cowan <jcowan@...> http://www.reutershealth.com
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen, http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith. --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_