The Temporal Asymmetry of Causation

Cambridge University Press (2023)
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Abstract

Causes always seem to come prior to their effects. What might explain this asymmetry? Causation's temporal asymmetry isn't straightforwardly due to a temporal asymmetry in the laws of nature—the laws are, by and large, temporally symmetric. Nor does the asymmetry appear due to an asymmetry in time itself. This Element examines recent empirical attempts to explain the temporal asymmetry of causation: statistical mechanical accounts, agency accounts and fork asymmetry accounts. None of these accounts are complete yet and a full explanation of the temporal asymmetry of causation will likely require contributions from all three programs.

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Alison Sutton Fernandes
Trinity College, Dublin

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