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  1. vaibhavmaskar

    meaning of noncontingencies

    Kelley then argued that people’s failure to detect noncontingencies may result in their attributing uncontrollable outcomes to personal causes.

    what is the meaning of "noncontingencies" in above sentence?

  2. probus's Avatar
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    Re: meaning of noncontingencies

    "Noncontingency" is a new coinage, and an unattractive one I think.

    A contingency is something that may or may not occur. A noncontingency therefore must be something that is certain to occur.

    Kelley's argument is that if people fail to detect a noncontingency they fail to detect the certain outcome, which is a tautology in my opinion.

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    Re: meaning of noncontingencies

    I have to disagree with the above.
    The idea of contingency is based on something happening depending on something else. Therefore, if something is non-contingent on what I do, it's going to happen (or not) whatever I do.
    So Kelly is saying that people can blame themselves for something that wasn't their fault - "attributing uncontrollable outcomes to personal causes".
    For example, my wishing that my enemy would die will not kill that person. But if the person dies, it wasn't my fault, because the death was non-contingent on my wish. Kelly is saying that some people have a weak conception of what is contingent and what is not. This leads to phenomena like superstition, etc.
    Also, 'uncontrollable' doesn't mean inevitable. It means that the event will occur (or not) regardless of whatever agencies try to prevent it (or make it occur).

    Naturally, the wider context would shed light on what Kelly means.
    Last edited by Raymott; 25-Oct-2014 at 16:58.

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