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Temporal and Atemporal Asymmetries in Causation

Saudek, Daniel (2021) Temporal and Atemporal Asymmetries in Causation. [Preprint]


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This article proposes a new account of causal asymmetry and of how it relates to temporal asymmetry. The key concept on which the account is based is that of inclusion, i.e. of an object being “in” another. Thus, part I develops the notion of what is “possible with respect to” a given object, and what is not, based on what is included in it. This leads to a counterfactual dependence asymmetry which is independent of the direction of time. Part II provides a crash course in local time, describing how to derive temporal precedence (“before”) and time’s characteristic asymmetry in terms only of states of physical objects called “recorders”, a derivation which yields a relativistically correct model of time’s arrow. Putting the counterfactual and temporal asymmetries together allows, in part III, to propose an explanation of why causes are observed to precede their effects in time. The upshot is that, even though many of our intuitions about causal asymmetry are profoundly connected to our temporal perspective, there remains a robust counterfactual asymmetry whereby a change in an object requires something distinct from it.

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Item Type: Preprint
Saudek, Daniel
Keywords: causal asymmetry, counterfactual dependence, local time, change, perspectivity, inclusion, possibility, aition.
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Daniel Saudek
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 13:12
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 13:12
Item ID: 20892
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: March 2021

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