The fate of causal structure under time reversal



Published 25-04-2022
Porter Williams


What happens to the causal structure of a world when time is reversed? At first glance it seems there are two possible answers: the causal relations are reversed, or they are not. I argue that neither of these answers is correct: we should either deny that time-reversed worlds have causal relations at all, or deny that causal concepts developed in the actual world are reliable guides to the causal structure of time-reversed worlds. The first option is motivated by the instability of time-reversed dynamical evolutions under interventions. The second option is motivated by a recognition of how contingent structural features of the actual world shape our causal concepts and reasoning strategies.

How to Cite

Williams, P. (2022). The fate of causal structure under time reversal. THEORIA, 37(1), 87–102.
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causality, causal structure, reversed time, causal concepts, intervention