cn: sexual assault and victim blaming are discussed briefly as an example.
Often we observe some phenomena or trend, and we wish to explain what caused it. Different people can disagree on the cause. Or perhaps they agree on the causes, but disagree on which causes are important. Bold claim: There is no objective way to assess the relative importance of two causes.
I’m making a purely abstract argument, but I’ll offer a few provocative examples:
1. Is a given human trait caused by genetics, or the environment?
2. Is personal success caused by hard work, or by lucky circumstance?
3. Is terrorism caused by politics, or by religion?
4. If a woman is victim of sexual assault, is that caused by the perpetrator, or by risky behaviors on her part?
5. Is our knowledge of physics the result of scientific research, or is it the result of the continuing absence of an earth-destroying supernova?
Among these examples, we’d obviously like to say that some causes are more important than others. We are welcome to say so, but there is necessarily an element of subjectivity in our words.