Backtracking Influence

Backtracking influence is influence that zigzags in time. For example, backtracking influence exists when an event E_1 makes an event E_2 more likely by way of a nomic connection that goes from E_1 back in time to an event C and then forward in time to E_2. I contend that in our local region of spacetime, at least, backtracking influence is redundant in the sense that any existing backtracking influence exerted by E_1 on E_2 is equivalent to E_1's temporally direct influence on E_2. I prove the redundancy of backtracking influence using several plausible physical principles without assuming any fundamental temporal or causal asymmetry. This explanation can play a prominent role in an account of why causation appears to be objectively asymmetric regardless of whether the fundamental laws are symmetric.
Keywords backward causation  asymmetry of time  causal asymmetry
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DOI 10.1080/02698595.2011.552418
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