Graduate studies at Western
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (1):59-71 (2003)
|Abstract||I attempt a reconstruction of Kant's version of the causal theory of time that makes it appear coherent. Two problems are at issue. The first concerns Kant's reference to reciprocal causal influence for characterizing simultaneity. This approach is criticized by pointing out that Kant's procedure involves simultaneous counterdirected processes-which seems to run into circularity. The problem can be defused by drawing on instantaneous processes such as the propagation of gravitation in Newtonian mechanics. Another charge of circularity against Kant's causal theory was leveled by Schopenhauer. His objection was that Kant's approach is invalidated by the failure to deliver non-temporal criteria for distinguishing between causes and effects. I try to show that the modern causal account has made important progress toward a successful resolution of this difficulty. The fork asymmetry, as based on Reichenbach's principle of the common cause, provides a means for the distinction between cause and effect that is not based on temporal order (if some preconditions are realized).|
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