METAPHYSICS – AN OVERVIEW : A Causal Theory of the Direction of Time

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Some Alternatives with regard to a Causal Theory:  (1) A causal theory of time, or of spacetime?  (2) An account in terms of actual causal connections, or in terms of causal connectibility?  (3) A causal theory of the direction of time, or of all temporal relations?
A Prerequisite of any Causal Theory:  An account of the direction of causation that does not involve any temporal notions.
Elements of a Possible Causal Theory:  (1) A definition of simultaneity in terms of spatial relations;  (2) Causal priority as a sufficient condition of temporal priority;  (3) A definition of temporal priority in terms of causal priority plus simultaneity;  (4) Causal relations as holding between spacetime points.
Objections to Causal Theories of Time:  (1) Causal priority presupposes temporal priority;  (2) Accounts involving causal connectibility are implicitly circular;  (3) Backward causation is logically possible;  (4) Empty spatiotemporal regions are logically possible;  (5) Events that are not causally connected to other events are logically possible;  (6) Spacetime itself could be totally empty.
Topic XI.  Laws of Nature:  Realist Versus Reductionist Views
Realist versus Reductionist Views of Laws of Nature:  (1) Reductionism: what laws of nature there are is totally fixed by the complete history of the world;  (2) Realism:  laws of nature are not logically supervenient upon the history of the world.  There could be two worlds with precisely the same history, but with different laws.  (3) Reductionism and regularities: Non-probabilistic laws are either just cosmic regularities, or cosmic regularities that satisfy certain further constraints.
Arguments for a Reductionist View of Laws of Nature:  (1) The appeal to ontological simplicity;  (2) Arguments against theoretical entities:  (a) the problem of meaning;  (b) the problem of confirmation;  (3) The inference problem:  How do laws, realistically conceived, entail the corresponding regularities?  (Bas van Fraassen and David Lewis)

Arguments for a Realist View of Laws of Nature:  (1) The problem of distinguishing between laws and cosmic, accidental regularities;  (2) The logical possibilities of basic, uninstantiated laws;  (3) The improbability of mere cosmic regularities;  (4) The problem of giving a reductionist account of probabilistic laws.

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