The causal efficiency of the passage of time

Philosophia 40 (4):763-769 (2012)
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Abstract

Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of time does have causal powers : Sydney Shoemaker's (1969) possible world where temporal vacua (allegedly) take place. I shall argue that Shoemaker's thought-experiment doesn't really aim at teaching us that there can be time without change, but rather that if such a scenario is plausible at all (as I think it is) it provides us with good reasons to think that mere passage of time can be directly causally efficient.

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Jiri Benovsky
University of Fribourg

Citations of this work

The Sense of Time.Gerardo Viera - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):443-469.
Still Foes: Benovsky on Relationism and Substantivalism.Claudio Mazzola - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (2):247-260.

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References found in this work

The Unreality of Time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.David K. Lewis - 1976 - American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (2):145-152.
Causality and Properties.Sydney Shoemaker - 1980 - In Peter van Inwagen (ed.), Time and Cause. D. Reidel. pp. 109-35.
Real Time Ii.D. H. Mellor - 1998 - Routledge.
Real Time Ii.D. H. Mellor - 1998 - Routledge.

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