David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 85 (1):71 - 93 (1990)
Can a present or future event bring about a past event? An answer to this question is demanded by many other interesting questions. Can anybody, even a god, do anything about what has already occurred? Should we plan for the past, as well as for the future? Can anybody precognise the future in a way quite different from normal prediction? Do the causal laws and the past jointly preclude free action? Does current physical theory entail a consistent version of backwards causation? Recent articles on the problem of backwards causation have drawn attention to the importance of the principle of the fixity of the past: that the past is now fixed. It can be shown that the standard argument against backwards causation (the bilking experiment) simply builds in the assumption of past fixity. A fixed past deprives future events of past efficacy. This has naturally led to the speculation that by abandoning past fixity real power over the past may be possible.In this paper I show that in order to have an interesting thesis of backwards causation it is not enough simply to drop past fixity. More must go. In particular, to ensure what could be called future-to-past efficacy we must abandon two entrenched principles of permanence: the principle of permanent fixity, and the principle of permanent truth. The only alternative for backwards causal theorists is to embrace real contradictions in nature.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Max Black (1956). Why Cannot an Effect Precede its Cause? Analysis 16 (3):49-58.
Roderick M. Chisholm & Richard Taylor (1960). Making Things to Have Happened. Analysis 20 (4):73 - 78.
Michael Dummett (1964). Bringing About the Past. Philosophical Review 73 (3):338-359.
Michael Dummett (1954). Can an Effect Precede its Cause? Aristotelian Society Proceedings Supplement 28.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Tomis Kapitan (1996). Modal Principles in the Metaphysics of Free Will. Philosophical Perspectives 10:419-45.
Allan Hazlett (2011). How the Past Depends on the Future. Ratio 24 (2):167-175.
Andre Norman Gallois (2009). The Fixity of Reasons. Philosophical Studies 146 (2):233 - 248.
Michael Tooley (2000). Time, Tense, and Causation. Oxford University Press.
Peter J. Riggs (1991). A Critique of Mellor's Argument Against 'Backwards' Causation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 42 (1):75-86.
Peter B. M. Vranas (2005). Do Cry Over Spilt Milk: Possibly You Can Change the Past. The Monist 88 (3):370 - 387.
Hanoch Ben-Yami (2007). The Impossibility of Backwards Causation. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.
Matthew H. Slater (2005). The Necessity of Time Travel (On Pain of Indeterminacy). The Monist 88 (3):362-369.
Kristie Miller (2008). Backwards Causation, Time, and the Open Future. Metaphysica 9 (2):173-191.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads34 ( #52,105 of 1,102,993 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #29,715 of 1,102,993 )
How can I increase my downloads?