Bilking the bilking argument

Analysis 69 (4):605-611 (2009)
Abstract
Is it conceptually possible for an event, L, to be the cause of an earlier event, E? Some writers have employed the so-called bilking argument to attempt to show that the idea of such backwards causation is incoherent . According to this argument, if we are presented with what someone claims to be a case of backwards causation, it would be possible in principle to wait for E to occur, and then intervene to prevent the occurrence of L, thus demonstrating that E could not have been caused by L after all. Moreover, if our attempts to bilk L-type events having observed E-type events always fail, we have grounds to argue that any causal relationship between the two is not one of backwards causation, but of ordinary, forwards, earlier-to-later causation.Does the bilking argument succeed in showing backwards causation to be incoherent? Before answering this question, let us deal with a far simpler reason for deeming backwards causation incoherent, whose elucidation now will be useful later. To those attracted to the view that temporal order is determined by causal order, 1 backwards causation may seem incoherent because on this view a cause is by definition earlier than its effect. I do not take issue with this view, and wish my conception of backwards causation to be compatible with it. 2 By ‘backwards causation’, I mean causation that runs in the opposite direction to some other causal processes, such that the temporal order entailed by such backwards causation is the reverse of that entailed by those other causal processes. In most philosophical discussions of backwards causation, we are at least implicitly given reasons to believe that these other causal processes dictate the …
Keywords Bilking argument  Backwards causation  Dummett  Flew  Tooley
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Rebecca Roache, Bilking the bilking argument
External links
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
Hanoch Ben-Yami (2007). The Impossibility of Backwards Causation. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.
Michael Dummett (1964). Bringing About the Past. Philosophical Review 73 (3):338-359.

View all 6 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-05-27

Total downloads

172 ( #6,379 of 1,696,303 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

14 ( #36,721 of 1,696,303 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.