Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > From Physical Causes to Organisms of Meaning > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Causes are not laws (2)

As for the “chimera” of causes, popularly conceived, there is no reason we cannot speak of them, if only roughly, in contexts that are more or less stable and closed. They are the basis for what we might refer to as the “cause-and-effect because”, or the “machine-like because”, for we try to make our machines (in their standard working contexts) into just such closed, causal systems. And we typically succeed well enough, until rust or a power glitch or the fist of a disaffected user or normal wear and tear brings an end to the desired causal regularity of the system. Presumably nothing ever goes wrong with the physical laws that were operative in the system, but any given causal relations can always be sabotaged by a contextual change.

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