more from Wesley Salmon

Single Idea 8413

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 5. Direction of causation]

Full Idea

In a typical cause-effect situation (a 'propagation') cause must precede effect, for propagation over a finite time interval is an essential feature. In an 'interaction', an intersection of processes resulting in change, we have simultaneity.

Gist of Idea

Cause must come first in propagations of causal interactions, but interactions are simultaneous


Wesley Salmon (Causality: Production and Propagation [1980], 8)

Book Reference

'Causation', ed/tr. Sosa,E. /Tooley,M. [OUP 1993], p.170

A Reaction

This takes the direction of time as axiomatic, and quite right too. Salmon isn't addressing the real difficulty, though, which is that the resultant laws are usually held to be time-reversible, which is a bit of a puzzle.