Levels of Physical Reality and Causation

However, how might such a peculiar level of spatial partitioning of C(E*) be ontologically fundamental and “absolute”? At this point, it ought to be already clear that it is absurd to assert that the part-constellation at the “fundamental” level causes the part-constellation at the higher, “less fundamental” levels. It does no such thing (for one thing, it would imply the existence of fact-causation; but there is no fact-causation). All that is true is that the part-constellation at every higher level of the hierarchy can be reconstructed from the parts given, in a certain constellation, on the “fundamental” level: by “putting together again” what had been “taken apart”. In the end (after going all the way back in the tree of dichotomous division), the parts at the “fundamental” level—taken with their positions in space—add up to form C(E*). However, the same is true of the parts at each level of the hierarchy. On a closer look, there is no ontological prerogative of the micro-levels— the levels with high numbers of parts in the partitioning of C(E*)—over the macro-levels—the levels with low numbers of parts in the partitioning of C(E*). One level of the partitioning of C(E*) is as good, ontologically, as any other. If one level in the (appropriately constructed exponentially jumping iso-dichotomously connected) hierarchy is naturally ultimate and ontologically fundamental, then we should be able to give objective reasons for this being really the case. But we cannot give any such reasons.

It is a misconceived question if it be asked at which level of physical reality—specifically, at which level of C(E*)—agent-causation “comes in”. This has nothing to do with agent-causation specifically; if there were event- causation, it would likewise be a misconceived question if it were asked at which level of physical reality—specifically, at which level of C(E*)—event- causation “comes in”. It is tempting but false to think of the levels of spatial partitioning of a physical object (for example, of those in an exponentially jumping iso-dichotomously connected hierarchy of such levels) as spatial levels, one over the other, like floors in a high-rise building. In a high-rise building, of course, causation can come in at a certain level, and from there it can and go upward or downward (or both ways). But there is no coming- in of causation at a certain level of C(E*)’s levels of spatial partitioning, and there is no upward or downward causation between them. In particular, there is no upward or downward causation between a “fundamental” micro-level of C(E*) and a non-fundamental macro-level. All that is there— at those levels—are partitionings of always the same: of C(E*), of a human brain at t*—partitionings always consisting of the same: spatially located parcels of matter and empty space, which, in sum, always come to the same: C(E*), a human brain at t*. The only difference between the partitionings is that they consist of different numbers of spatially located parts of C(E*)— parts which, taken in sum, always are C(E*). And this remains perfectly true if the partitioning at each level (in an appropriately constructed hierarchy) is natural, in other words: never “cuts through” an elementary particle in

C(E*). Clearly, what happens to the 100 pence that are in a pound does not cause what happens to the pound, nor vice versa; for what happens to the pence happens ipso facto to the pound, and vice versa, because the pence in the pound just are, in sum, the pound. And what happens to the thousands of pixels in an electronic picture does not cause what happens to the picture, nor vice versa; for what happens to the pixels happens ipso facto to the picture, and vice versa, because the pixels in the picture just are, in sum, the picture.

 
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