The Direction of Causation
Mackie (J.L.)
Source: Philosophical Review 75.4, Oct. 1966, pp. 441-466
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsDisclaimer


Philosophers Index Abstract

    We seem to recognize a relation of "causal priority", distinct from temporal priority, which constitutes the difference between "causing" and "being the effect of"; the problem is to give an account of this relation. Several possible analyses of causal priority are considered and rejected. Light is thrown on this relation by an imaginary precognition experiment which, if successful, would give evidence for time-reversed causation1. This leads to an account of causal priority in terms of the contrast between fixity (as seen in what is past or present) and nonfixity (as seen in future contingents). An account is also given of "priority with respect to the dispersal of order". It is concluded that this last, causal priority as analyzable in terms of fixity, and temporal priority are all distinct: it is a contingent fact that they seem always to coincide.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - Sept 2018. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page