Some Remarks on Backwards Causation
Garrett (Brian)
Source: Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, T. 71, Fasc. 4, Metafísica: Problemas Contemporâneos / Metaphysics: Contemporary Issues (2015), pp. 695-703
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. In this discussion I focus on two classic articles: Max Blacks 'Why cannot an effect precede its cause?' (1956) and Michael Dummetts 'Bringing about the Past' (1964).
  2. I argue that Black's bilking argument against the possibility of backwards causation1 fails. I agree with Dummett that the idea of an agent acting in order that something should have happened in the past is not absurd, but I disagree with Dummett's response to a sceptical challenge which attempts to show that it is pointless to attempt to affect the past.

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