Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized — Graham Harman

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is Causality Symmetrical?

Physical laws are time symmetric, but causality only seems to happen in one direction. What is going on? 

This only remains a puzzle if you think that objects sit in a container called “time.” If the container flows a certain way, like a stream, then backwards causation would be like swimming against a current, which might be very strong or all powerful.

If on the other hand, time is emitted by objects themselves, then it's plausible that an object could emit time in such a way as to influence the past.

If an object that is “present” is only a vorhanden caricature of a real object, then the paradox goes away. The paradox of backwards causation is only paradoxical from the standpoint of present-at-hand objects floating in a stream of time.

Furthermore, it becomes even more simple in a relatively flat ontology. My mind is not that different from any interobjective system of entities. In that case, my future seems to influence my present all the time, since I anticipate.

3 comments:

Montag said...

"Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once." (it wasn't me who said that, but i like it.)

whether events happen on a single deterministic timeline, or there are an infinite number of parallel universes, if a specific end-state is Z, then the preceding sequence of events, conditions and circumstances A, B, C... must occur in a very particular and precise way in order to set the table for Z to come to fruition.

i don't know what this says about causation.

Montag said...

is the future a hyperobject "futuring" about current events? ;-)

Ronald C Spencer said...

Well, older interpretations of physical laws (17th century Newtonian physics) are simple enough to appear 'time symmetric'. More like they don't take space-time into account, they didn't have the idea then. But we know better these days.
http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/prigogine.html

Prigogine helped us all out on time.