THE SPREAD MIND
Why our experience and the object we experience are one

Step 2: To exist is to be the cause of something

Any entity exists if and only if it is the actual cause of an effect. Existence and causation cannot be split. They are different ways to address the same fundamental principle in the fabric of reality. In nature, we experience only actual causes. Nature — as we know it — is an enormous collection of actual causes.

Science considers only actual causes. In fact, experimental protocols address only entities and properties that are actual causes. Both science and personal experience require that all things are causes of effects.

Example 1. we see all the colors of the rainbow. We know that white is their sum. Yet, if we were to look at the colored wheel from far away, we would see white (as it happens on a computer screen with RGB leds). White exists only if the colors are all together the actual cause of an effect.

The existence of something depends on the occurrence of a causal process.

Example 2. A scientist claims to have discovered new phenomenon X, but X does not cause anything to happen. Thus, one cannot observe X. If this were the case, would X exist? Of course not. If X did not cause any effect, X could not be observed in any way. Scientifically, X would not exist.

The idea that something exists only if it causally effective has been suggested by scholars such as Aristotle, Alexander, Kim, and Merricks. The most significant consequences of this conception of existence is that existence is relative and that causal processes single out what the world is made of.

Causal processes pull into existence the world we experience and in which we live.

A physical entity exists if and only if it is the actual cause of something else.

Riccardo Manzotti, January 27, 2015 (revised November 6)