Temporal and Causal Asymmetry

  • Richard A. Healey
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 157)


There is a sense in which the causal relation is associated with the temporal direction earlier to later rather than the reverse. There is also a sense in which irreversible natural processes define a unique temporal direction. Just what these senses are needs to be clarified. But pending such clarification it seems clear that one can raise the question whether there is any relation between these two directions (the “direction of causation” and the “arrow of time”), and if so, what it is. This paper attempts to clarify, sharpen and return a provisional answer to this question. The philosophical aim which lies behind the investigation (but sometimes becomes more explicit) is to approach an improved understanding of the place of causation in physics, in the world, and in our thought. To introduce the relevance of our question to this aim, consider two opposing approaches to causation.


Causal Relation Irreversible Process Causal Power Epistemic Community Conceptualist Criterion 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Healey

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