Causality in Natural Science

Causality in Natural Science

Causality in Natural Science

Causality in Natural Science

Excerpt

THE FIELD of natural science is Nature: the realm of things, properties, and phenomena situated in space and time. Within nature exists the human individual who in diverse ways interacts with his environment. The natural environment provides man with sustenance, it stimulates him to respond, it inspires him to inquire into the constitution of things. In the effort to satisfy a native desire to understand nature, man has created science. Natural science is constituted of conceptual systems by which the mind of man orders, connects, and explains the properties and transformations of natural things in space and time. An essential element of science is expression of the connection between events through the concept of causality.

Natural science originated and developed against a background of common experience. Primitive man perceived things in space, observed events in time, and made conjectures for the explanation of natural phenomena. He inferred from experience that the sun is the cause of light, that fire is the cause of smoke, that injury to his body is the cause of pain. Thus a concept of causality was an instrument of explanation in early stages of experience. The concept expresses causation: a process by which one phenomenon, the cause, gives rise to a succeeding phenomenon, the effect.

The presuppositions of common experience are an in-

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