Causal Approaches to the Direction of Time - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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A Causal Theory of the Direction of Time and Temporal Priority

The idea of analyzing the concept of temporal priority in causal terms is not a recent development, since it dates back at least to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1715/1969) and Immanuel Kant (1781/1961). In more recent years it was advanced by the mathematician Alfred A. Robb (1914, 1921), and by philosophers such as Henryk Mehlberg (1935, 1937), Hans Reichenbach (1956), D. H. Mellor (1981, 1995, 1998), and Michael Tooley (1987, 1997), among others.

Before setting out a causal theory, it will be best to address an initial objection, the thrust of which is that it may well be, as many philosophers and scientists believe (e.g., Lewis 1976), that backward causation is logically possible, and, if this is so, how can the direction of time be defined in terms of the direction of causation?

One response, adopted by some advocates of a causal approach (Mellor 1981, 1995, 1998; Tooley...

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This section contains 2,817 words
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Causal Approaches to the Direction of Time from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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