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Does "No Cause, No effect" strengthen/weaken causation logic?

youbbyunyoubbyun Alum Member

For causation logic, I know for strengthen questions, there are a few ways to strength an argument

  1. eliminate alternative cause
  2. when cause happens, effects occurs after

But does "No Cause, No effect" also strengthen?

And similarly for weaken question,

does "no cause, effect happens" -- weaken? Couldn't there be another cause that is accounting for that effect, while also still allowing for the original cause to still cause the effect?

For example, Doing bicep curls causes you to grow muscle.

Would an answer explanation of "He didn't do bicep curls but still grew muscle" weaken that argument? I would think not, because there are other ways you can grow muscle, like doing pushups, etc.

Any clarification or explanation on such causation logic and ways to strengthen/weaken causation would be appreciate.d Thank you!


  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    edited December 2018 2531 karma

    No it does not strengthen.

    Imagine a scenario: "If my alarm doesn't work, I am late for work." So here the cause is "alarm doesn't work" and effect is "I am late for work". So, a "No cause, no effect" statement using these same variables would be, "my alarm worked and I arrived to work on time". You can see that logically, this is a completely different statement. It's not a new premise added to the initial statement, nor does it strengthen the connection between the premise and the conclusion. This new statement doesn't strengthen the idea that if your alarm doesn't work you are late for work. It just shows the example of a world in which two things happen coincidentally, but there is no causal relationship between the two.

    "No cause, effect occurs" definitely doesn't weaken because when you negate the sufficient condition the rule falls away - becomes irrelevant. We aren't disproving the claim, but we exist in a world where one or more of the elements in the conditional statement doesn't exist - so by definition the statement itself doesn't exist. The statement only applies in worlds where the cause happens. To reinforce with our example, "If my alarm doesn't work, I am late for work" "No cause, effect occurs" translates this sentence to "my alarm worked, but I was late for work". We can't conclude from this that if your alarm doesn't work, then you would be late, because we are dealing with a world where something else necessarily caused you to be late. But the existence of other causes for the same effect doesn't refute the causal nature of the another cause. More than one thing can cause the same effect.

  • redshiftredshift Alum Member
    261 karma

    @Ohnoeshalpme You're actually wrong in claiming that no cause, effect happens doesn't weaken. It does weaken, you can find examples of cases where that's been the correct answer for certain questions. Check out: PT46/S2/Q17. The correct answer choice reads: "Implying that the legislator has drawn a conclusion about cause and effect without considering how often the alleged effect has occurred in the absence of the alleged cause "

    Cause and Effect reasoning isn't identical to sufficient and necessary reasoning. As such, applying the principle that "negating the premise causes the rule to fall away" is just straight up wrong when applied to cause and effect.

    For example, I could make the argument that eating kale contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Note here that I am not saying that eating kale is sufficient to result in a healthy lifestyle. This is a cause and effect argument, not a formal logic argument, and so conditions of sufficiency and necessariness do not apply precisely. In formal logic, negating a sufficient condition causes the rule to fall away. In correlation/causation logic, showing that a purported effect often exists without the purported cause WEAKENS the argument, for sure. Similarly, showing that the cause exists without the purported effect also weakens the argument.

    162 karma

    @redshift I agree with this. Do you know what are the other ways to strengthen weaken casual?

    So to strengthen a cause b:

    a there b there

    b not there a not there

    a not there b not there

    And to weaken a cause b:

    a there b not there

    b there a not there

    Is that a sufficient list of the ways?

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