As addressed in Chapter 8, causes in this treatise will not be equated to telosial, constitutional, or formational determinants—but only to genesial determinants. This will hold despite genesial determinants—i.e., causes—being themselves determinate as kentrons possibly on account of being so determined genesially, telosially, constitutionally, formationally, or via any combination of these.
This chapter, then, presents three metaphysical categorizations for all conceivable causes thus understood.
It will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that all conceivable types of causes which anyone here concerned can envision—however else they might happen to be classified—will necessarily be in part defined by the three categorizations and respective subcategories which this chapter lists.
Those conceptions of causes which are found logically contradictory will be deemed inadmissible as possibilities of what is or can be ontic.
Those conceptions of causes which are not at this time found logically contradictory will be entertained as possibilities of what can be ontic in forthcoming portions of this work.
9.1. A Cause’s Status of Embeddedness
This section classifies conceivable types of causes via the metric of whether they are themselves the effects of causes.
This section’s classification serves to better address the subsequent classifications listed.
It, again, will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that all types of causes we can envision will necessarily be defined by one of the two subcategories here outlined.
9.1.1. Embedded Causes
Let an embedded cause be understood to be a cause generated as effect by one or more causes—such that the embedded cause will be causally originated within, and thereby embedded within, a system of causation.
9.1.2. Nonembedded Causes
Let a nonembedded cause be understood to be a cause not generated as effect by one or more causes—such that the nonembedded cause will not be causally originated within, and thereby will not be embedded within, a system of causation.
Possible examples of nonembedded causes can include certain notions of nothingness and certain notions of God wherein the specified nonembedded cause is deemed to be the first cause of everything which is.
9.2. A Cause’s Status of Being Omni-, Nega-, or Semideterminate
This section classifies conceivable types of causes via their status of being either omnideterminate, negadeterminate, or semideterminate.
Among other uses, a portion of this section’s classification will be utilized in addressing what this treatise specifies by free will.
It will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that all types of causes we can envision will necessarily be defined by one of the three subcategories here outlined.
Because these subcategories will be of primary importance to forthcoming chapters, new terminology will be introduced where appropriate to make their expression more readable.
9.2.1. Omnideterminate (aka Closed) Causes
Let an omnideterminate genesial determinant, i.e. an omnideterminate cause, be understood to be an ontically all-determinate cause, such that all of the cause’s possible, ontic limits or boundaries are set in full—thereby signifying that the cause does not consist of any degree of ontic nondeterminacy.
Omnideterminate causes will thereby not hold any freedom from set limits or boundaries in what they are and what they do—be these set limits or boundaries obtained via genesial, telosial, constitutional, formational, some other, or all ontically occurring determinacy types (both those herein observed, if ontically occurrent, and those not herein observed, if ontically occurrent). Else expressed, omnideterminate causes will in all respects be completely fixed in what they are and what they do.
Because of their complete lack of freedom from limits and boundaries, omnideterminate causes cannot generate different effects in a selfsame situation. This thereby entails that only one possible future can result from their genesial determination(s).
For easier readability, because omnideterminate causes can be deemed closed off to all freedom from set limits or boundaries, omnideterminate causes will also be specified in this work as closed causes.
A cosmos fully comprised of closed causes will therefore be one wherein no ontic uncertainty, hence no ontic randomness, occurs.
9.2.2. Negadeterminate Causes—Inadmissible
Let a negadeterminate genesial determinant, i.e. a negadeterminate cause, be understood to be a cause that is fully, or perfectly, nondeterminate ontically, such that the cause has absolutely no ontic limits or boundaries—be these imposed by genesial determinants, telosial determinants, constitutional determinants, formational determinants, or any here unaddressed type of determinant—thereby entailing that the cause does not consist of any ontic determinacy (and, hence, ontic delimitation) while yet holding the ontically determinate (and, hence, ontically delimited) state of being a cause, this at the same time and in the same respect.
One possible example of such negadeterminate cause which some of us might be capable of envisioning can be that of nothingness—this when understood as absolute nonbeing (rather than any state of being—which, for emphasis, is the opposite of nonbeing—wherein there occurs no entities and, hence, no things; with the quantum vacuum being a possible example of the latter)—that, as absolute nonbeing, is a nonembedded cause of existence itself or, else, of some original aspect of existence (e.g., with absolute nonbeing having once generated the gravitational singularity form which the Big Bang is inferred to have commenced).
Another possible example of such negadeterminate cause which some of us might be capable of envisioning can be that of an absolutely, and hence perfectly, infinite being—hence a being absolutely devoid of all finitudes (including those that can be enacted by genesial, telosial, constitutional, and formational determinacies), therefore a being absolutely devoid of all limits or boundaries, be these spatial, temporal, or of any other type—that, as the absolutely infinite being, is a nonembedded cause of all finite existents or, else, some original subset of these (e.g., with the absolutely infinite being having once generated the first instantiation of man and woman from which all people subsequently came to be).
Notwithstanding the possible conceivability of such examples, the notion of negadeterminate causes will, again, specify that a kentron will, at the same time and in the same respect, both a) not be in any way whatsoever ontically limited or bounded and b) be ontically limited or bounded to the condition of being a nonembedded cause.
Due to this logical contradiction, the notion of negadeterminate causes will be deemed inadmissible as possibility of what is or can be ontic.
9.2.3. Semideterminate (aka Open) Causes
Let a semideterminate genesial determinant, i.e. a semideterminate cause, be understood to ontically be a partly determinate and partly nondeterminate cause, such that only some of the cause’s possible limits or boundaries are set while other possible limits or boundaries remain unset.
Semideterminate causes will thereby always hold some—but never complete, or absolute—freedom from set limits or boundaries in what they are and what they do; they thereby always remaining to some extent partly determined by genesial, telosial, constitutional, formational, some other, or all determinacy types (both those herein observed and, if applicable, those not herein observed—if ontically occurrent). Else expressed, semideterminate causes will in all instances be partly free and partly fixed in what they are and what they do.
Therefore, because of their partial freedom from limits and boundaries, semideterminate causes can at least in principle generate different effects in a selfsame situation. This thereby entails that more than one possible future can result from their genesial determination(s).
For easier readability, and because semideterminate causes can be deemed open in respect to some measure of freedom from set limits or boundaries, semideterminate causes will also be specified in this work as open causes.
The ontically partial determinacy of an open cause could in principle fluctuate between being nearly omnideterminate (entailing a near lack of freedom from limits or boundaries) or nearly negadeterminate (entailing a near total freedom from limits or boundaries)—yet, due to not fully being either of the latter but instead holding some degree of partial determinacy coexisting with partial nondeterminacy, all such causes will nevertheless remain properly classified as semideterminate, aka open.
One possible example of open causes will be that of a human consciousness making, hence generating, a decision between alternatives during times of conscious deliberation, such that different decisions given the same alternatives, and the same context to these, could be effected in a selfsame situation by the human consciousness. Likewise could be potentially exemplified as possible candidates for open causation most, if not all, sentience—be it corporeal (e.g., mammals, fish, insects, etc.) or, if such were to exist, incorporeal (e.g., deities, angels, ghosts, etc.).
These examples of sentience mentioned, it at this juncture in the work also remain conceivable and noncontradictory that most if not all inanimate, physical existents might be open causes (this rather than closed causes)—such that different inanimate, physical existents might hold vastly different degrees of freedom from limits or boundaries while yet all being open causes. For example, the inanimate, physical entities which surround our everyday lives (e.g., chairs, coffee mugs, rocks, etc.) can with relative ease be conceived of holding virtually no freedom from set limits or boundaries while yet technically remaining open causes whereas the physical entities studied by quantum physics from which these former entities are constituted (e.g., atoms, protons, electrons, etc.) might hold very large degrees of freedom from set limits or boundaries as open causes, this at least by comparison to the former.
Two distinct types of open causes can be distinguished when taking telosial determinacy into consideration (this without further taking into direct consideration the roles which constitutional, formational, and previous genesial determinacies might also play in determining the nature of the open cause at any given time).
It will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that those here concerned cannot envision any additional general variant of open causes not specified in the following two subcategories when open causes are addressed in respect to telosial determinacy.
220.127.116.11. Telosially Determined Open Causes (aka Poietic Causes)
Let a telosially determined open cause be understood to be an open cause that is to any extent (partly) determined by one or more teloi.
Derived from the Ancient Greek ποιέω (poiéō, “to make; to create”), poiesis (for which poietic is the adjectival form) signifies “the act or process of creation”. In part because the making or creating of some kentron will at the very least connote intended causation—hence, the causation of one or more effects for the sake of fulfilling one or more teloi (hence, for some purpose)—and because this implies that the making or creating of some kentron will hence always be a telosially determined causation, it has been deemed beneficial for the sake of readability to also address telosially determined open causes as poietic causes.
It will first be observed that individual poietic causes cannot hold random effects—here to be understood as effects that are in no manner predictable even in principle were all ontic factors to be known, this due to all the cause’s possible effects being equally probable. Despite the partial nondeterminacy in what they generate, because they are to some degree telosially determined, poietic causes shall always genesially determine effects in manners that best fulfill the one or more teloi they are driven by—hence, telosially determined by. This, in turn, signifies that poietic causes shall always minimally hold an underlying, telosial reason for their genesial determinacies. Hence, were their telos or teloi to be known together with their situational context, one could accurately predict that those possible effects which do not serve to fulfill the respective telos or teloi will not be genesially determined by the poietic cause—although, notwithstanding, one might not be able to likewise accurately predict which of the remaining possible effects that can fulfill the telos or teloi shall be in fact generated.
Else expressed, although poietic causes can effect different outcomes in a selfsame situation, what they do cause—despite not being completely predictable—can always be accurately predicted to be an effect that best fulfills (or, in the case of all sentient poietic causes, an effect that is deemed by the respective eidem to best fulfill) the one or more teloi by which the poietic cause is telosially determined.
Because of this, it then becomes impossible that poietic causes generate their effects randomly—despite nevertheless remaining open, rather than closed, causes. (This topic will be further explored in latter portions of this work.)
With that mentioned, it will nevertheless be further observed that interaction between two or more poietic causes (or cohorts of such) where each is telosially determined by a competing telos can lead to ontically random outcomes. As one relatively simple example of this, when presuming that—in simplistic terms—we humans are the (sapient) poietic causes of our own actions, and when entertaining a situation in which two cohorts of humans of relatively equal ability are to be involved in, for example, a fair game of soccer—and, thus, where each team holds the common telos that they rather the other team shall be the winner of the game via the effects which the team-members together generate—the outcome of the game, as an effect produced by all parties concerned, can be deemed ontically random prior to its commencement: prior to the game’s commencement, which of the two teams will win the game might in this example not be predictable even in principle, this due to both possible outcomes potentially being equally probable.
18.104.22.168. Non-Telosially-Determined Open Causes (aka Tychistic Causes)
We can conceive of individual open causes that generate random effects. Such cases can be invoked in arguments against the possibility of free will: wherein humans as agential causes (who in such examples are implicitly understood to neither be an omnideterminate causes nor negadeterminate causes, and to thereby be open causes by default) are said to possibly make choices randomly (cf., O’Connor and Franklin, 2022, Section #3.1).
In review, individual open causes whose effects are ontically random cannot be telosially determined. If they were, they would telosate the fulfillment of one or more teloi in their generation of effect(s), entailing that their generation of effect(s) will be determined by that telos which is telosated by the open cause—thereby signifying that the generated effects hold an underlying, telosial reason for their being so generated (such that were their telos or teloi to be known, this together with their situational context, their causation of effects could be at least to some measure predicted by us). This will stand in contrast to effects being generated in literally random manners, hence generated for no reason whatsoever, and hence generated in manners not possible in principle to even slightly predict were all ontic factors to be known.
Hence, our conception of open causes with ontically random effects can only consist of open causes wholly devoid of telosial determinacy—i.e., of non-telosially-determined open causes.
For more concise language, ontic randomness, and, hence, ontic chance when thus interpreted, shall within this treatise be specified via the adjective tychistic—where tychistic (from the Ancient Greek τύχη (túkhē, “chance”)) is also deemed the adjectival form of tychism, a term coined by Charles Sanders Peirce to specify the doctrine that chance has an objective status in the world (Burch, 2022, Section #5).
Hence, non-telosially-determined open causes shall in this work be more succinctly specified as tychistic causes.
With tychistic causes having been mentioned, tychistic events—and tychism in general—were these to ontically occur, could then currently be explained either via the occurrence of tychistic cause(s) or, else, via the interactions of two or more poietic causes (or of two or more cohorts of such) that hold competing teloi.
Whereas the generation of effects by a closed cause will be explainable in principle by such cause’s omnideterminate state of being were all its ontic determinants to be known, and the generation of effects by a poietic cause will in principle be minimally explainable (at least in part) by such cause’s specific telos or teloi, the question is placed: What could in principle determine, and thereby give grounds to explain, a tychistic cause’s generation of effects? Why generate this effect rather than that effect at this time rather than that time—or, for that matter, why generate any effect at all so as to be defined as a cause in the first place?
This question will for now remain open ended.
9.3. A Cause’s Status of Being Self-Generated (aka Self-Caused; aka Causa Sui)
Let a self-generated cause be understood to be a genesial determinant which genesially determined itself at a former time.
This section’s classification is in part provided to make explicit those categories of self-generated causes which can currently be found contradictory and, thereby, inadmissible as possibilities of what is or can be ontic. Notwithstanding, because the currently admissible categories of this section’s classification will not be paramount to the overall work, coinage of more concise terminology for the categories specified will not be here provided.
It will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that all types of causes we can envision will necessarily be defined by one of this section’s subcategories.
9.3.1. Non-Self-Generated Nonembedded Causes
Let a non-self-generated nonembedded cause be understood to be a nonembedded cause whose occurrence as such was not generated, hence caused, by itself.
Currently, the category of non-self-generated nonembedded causes will be deemed admissible as a possibility of what is or can be ontic.
9.3.2. Self-Generated Nonembedded-Causes—Inadmissible
Let a self-generated nonembedded cause be understood to be a nonembedded cause whose occurrence as such was generated, hence caused, by itself.
This category entails the following contradiction: prior to the initial occurrence of a self-generated nonembedded-cause, the given cause will at the same time and in the same respect both a) not have occurred as a genesial determinant (for it will at this point not have in any way yet caused itself into being as a nonembedded cause) and b) will have occurred as a genesial determinant (as is required by its causing itself into being as a nonembedded cause).
Additionally, this category also entails a second contradiction: as a self-generated, initially occurring nonembedded cause, it will at the same time and in the same respect, both a) not be the effect of any cause and b) be the effect of itself as cause.
Due to these two contradictions, the notion of a self-generated nonembedded cause will be deemed inadmissible as possibility of what is or can be ontic.
9.3.3. Non-Self-Generated Embedded Causes
Let a non-self-generated embedded cause be understood to be an embedded cause whose occurrence as such was in no way generated, hence caused, by itself at a former time.
Currently, the category of non-self-generated embedded causes will be deemed admissible as a possibility of what is or can be ontic.
9.3.4. Self-Generated Embedded Causes
Let a self-generated embedded cause be understood to be an embedded cause—hence, a cause which is thereby the effect of causes—which was in some way caused by itself at a former time.
It will be deemed an unfalsified certainty that all types of self-generated embedded-causes we can envision will necessarily be defined by one of this section’s two, general subcategories.
22.214.171.124. Omni-Self-Generated Embedded Causes—Inadmissible
Let an omni-self-generated embedded cause be understood to be an embedded cause that is fully (that is all, or completely) self-generated—thereby necessitating that it as an embedded cause was ultimately self-generated by its former self as a self-generated nonembedded cause.
Because an omni-self-generated embedded cause is contingent on the occurrence of a self-generated nonembedded cause, due to the contradictions provided in §9.3.2 for the latter, an omni-self-generated embedded cause will be deemed inadmissible as possibility of what is or can be ontic.
126.96.36.199. Semi-Self-Generated Embedded-Causes
Let a semi-self-generated embedded cause be understood to be an embedded cause that is only partly self-generated—thereby necessitating that it as an embedded cause was not self-generated by a self-generated nonembedded cause.
The possible to conceive, metaphysical variations of semi-self-generated embedded causes are many—for one example, including that of an embedded cause being self-generated by its former self as non-self-generated nonembedded cause; for another example, including that all cooccurring embedded causes being self-generated by their former selves as either one singular non-self-generated nonembedded cause or a plurality of the latter. A thorough investigation into the admissibility of all such possible to conceive of variations will be beyond the scope of this chapter.
Here, instead, will solely be addressed one such type of semi-self-generated embedded cause: namely, that of an embedded cause only partly self-generated from its former self as embedded cause (this irrespective of whether there might in fact be such a thing as nonembedded cause(s) from which all embedded causes would have commenced).
One example of such is the relatively commonsense notion that an adult human as kentron was in part genesially determined—and thereby partly formed—by the same human’s former activities and choices.
As one physiological example of this, an adult human’s type of facial wrinkles can be deemed to have been in part caused by the same human’s previously enacted facial expressions—such that if the human had most always frowned in life, the facial wrinkles that now appear on the adult human’s face will in part be indicative of this habit of frowning, and will thereby differ from the wrinkles that would have otherwise accumulated in part from the same person most always smiling.
Alternatively, as one psychological example of the same, consider a person who at one point in their lives was ignorant of literary business practices. At this former juncture in their lives, the person caused their decisions regarding the writing of a novel for financial profit in manners ignorant of what would be able to sell in the marketplace—and, consequently, was unable to generate a substantial living from their writing of novels. This same person then genesially determined their decision to become familiarized with literary business practices. In so effecting, the person then became familiar with literary business practices—and, consequently, began writing novels for a satisfactory financial profit. In this hypothetical, the change in the human from being ignorant of literary business practices to now being knowledgeable of literary business practices—with the latter now in part defining who the person currently is as a genesial determinant of their presently made choices—was itself in part caused by the said person at a former time, this via a former choice the person genesially determined.
In these and like examples, there will be a person who is an embedded cause of effects whose effects in part determine the changed attributes of the same person at later times—thereby signifying that the later person is a semi-self-generated embedded cause.
Currently, the category of semi-self-generated embedded causes—minimally taking the form of an embedded cause partly self-generated by its former self as an embedded cause—will be deemed admissible as a possibility of what is or can be ontic.
9.4. Concluding Remarks
This chapter has outlined three metaphysical categories of causes which shall be in part, and to differing extents, implemented to evidence the reality of our free will as eidems—this where the free will addressed shall be equated to an eidem’s poietic causation of those effects which take the form of made choices.
In review, causes can only be a) either embedded or nonembedded; b) either closed, poietic, or tychistic, and c) either non-self-generated or else semi-self-generated and embedded—with all other conceivable alternatives, where applicable, pertaining to the classifications this chapter addresses being inadmissible as possibilities of what is or can be ontic.
Were all proposed unfalsified certainties in this chapter to be so evidenced upon scrutiny, this would then next facilitate the derivation of Chapter 10’s principle unfalsified certainty: namely, that of our dwelling with a causally semideterminate world.
- O’Connor, Timothy and Christopher Franklin, "Free Will", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2022/entries/freewill/>.
- Burch, Robert, "Charles Sanders Peirce", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2022/entries/peirce/>.