Causality and temporal order in special relativity

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):459-479 (2006)
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David Malament tried to show that the causal theory of time leads to a unique determination of simultaneity relative to an inertial observer, namely standard simultaneity. I show that the causal relation Malament uses in his proofs, causal connectibility, should be replaced by a different causal relation, the one used by Reichenbach in his formulation of the theory. I also explain why Malament's reliance on the assumption that the observer has an eternal inertial history modifies our conception of simultaneity, and I therefore eliminate it. Having made these changes, Malament's uniqueness result no longer follows, although the conventionality of simultaneity is not reinstated. I contrast my approach with previous criticisms of Malament. Introduction Causality and Temporal Order Malament's Argument Causality versus Causal Connectibility Simultaneity and History Conclusion.



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Hanoch Ben-Yami
Central European University

Citations of this work

The time-lag argument and simultaneity.Zhiwei Gu - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11231-11248.
Conventionality of simultaneity.Allen Janis - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Absolute Distant Simultaneity in Special Relativity.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2019 - Foundations of Physics 49 (12):1355-1364.
The impossibility of backwards causation.Hanoch Ben-Yami - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):439–455.

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