David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Norton (2003 and 2006) has recently argued that causation is merely a useful folk concept and that it fails to hold for some simple systems even in the supposed paradigm case of a causal physical theory – namely Newtonian mechanics. The purpose of this article is to argue against this devaluation of causality in physics. My main argument is that Norton’s alleged counterexample to causality (and determinism) within standard Newtonian physics fails to obey what I shall call the causal core of Newtonian mechanics. In particular, I argue, Norton’s example is not in conformity with Newton’s first law. Moreover, Norton’s reformulation of this first law (in an instantaneous form) seems insufficient as a replacement for the original version since the notion of inertial frames in the resulting reformulated theory lacks a physical justification, and since an intelligible notion of time in Newtonian mechanics appears to be closely tied to Newton’s first law in its standard form. I will finally suggest how, given a plausible relationist account of time, the causal core of Newtonian mechanics may play a central role also in relativity and quantum theory.
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
J. S. Alper, M. Bridger, J. Earman & J. D. Norton (2000). What is a Newtonian System? The Failure of Energy Conservation and Determinism in Supertasks. Synthese 124 (2):281-293.
Michael Esfeld (2010). Physics and Causation. Foundations of Physics 40 (9-10):1597-1610.
Ardnés Rivadulla (2004). The Newtonian Limit of Relativity Theory and the Rationality of Theory Change. Synthese 141 (3):417 - 429.
John Norton (2009). Is There an Independent Principle of Causality in Physics? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):475-486.
U. Meyer (2012). Explaining Causal Loops. Analysis 72 (2):259-264.
John Norton (2000). What Is a Newtonian System? The Failure of Energy Conservation and Determinism in Supertasks. Synthese 124 (2):281 - 293.
Mathias Frisch (2009). Causality and Dispersion: A Reply to John Norton. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):487 - 495.
James W. Mcallister (1999). Universal Regularities and Initial Conditions in Newtonian Physics. Synthese 120 (3):325-343.
Added to index2009-06-07
Total downloads32 ( #85,358 of 1,700,240 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #53,539 of 1,700,240 )
How can I increase my downloads?