Farr, Matt ORCID: 0000-0001-6238-7990 and Reutlinger, Alexander (2013). A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument. Erkenntnis, 78. S. 215 - 236. DORDRECHT: SPRINGER. ISSN 1572-8420

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Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as a relic of a bygone age (Russell in Proc Aristot Soc 13:1-26, 1913). This paper assesses one of Russell's arguments for this conclusion: the 'Directionality Argument', which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the 'time symmetry' of fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if 'time symmetry' is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if 'time symmetry' is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell's writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Farr, MattUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0001-6238-7990UNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-470455
DOI: 10.1007/s10670-013-9510-z
Journal or Publication Title: Erkenntnis
Volume: 78
Page Range: S. 215 - 236
Date: 2013
Publisher: SPRINGER
Place of Publication: DORDRECHT
ISSN: 1572-8420
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
PhilosophyMultiple languages
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/47045


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