Time, Tense, and Causation
Michael Tooley presents a major new philosophical study of time and its relation to causation. The nature of time has always been one of the most fascinating and perplexing problems of philosophy. In recent years it has become the focus of vigorous debate between advocates of rival theories, as traditional, 'tensed' accounts of time, which hold that time has a direction and that the flow of time is part of the nature of the universe, have been challenged by 'tenseless' accounts of time, according to which past, present, and future are merely subjective features of experience, rather than objective features of events. Time, Tense, and Causation offers a new approach, in many ways intermediate between these two rivals. Tooley shares with tensed approaches the view that the universe is dynamic, holding that the past and the present are real while the future is not; but he rejects the view that this entails that there are irreducible tensed facts. Tooley's approach accounts for time in terms of its relation to causation: he argues that the direction of time is based upon the direction of causation, and that the key to understanding the dynamic nature of the universe is to understand the nature of causation. He also offers analyses of tensed concepts, and discusses semantic issues concerning truth and time. Finally, addressing the formidable difficulties posed for tensed accounts of time by the Special Theory of Relativity, he suggests that a modified version of the theory, compatible with the account of time in this book, is to be preferred to the standard version. Time, Tense, and Causation is rich in sophisticated and stimulating discussions of many of the deepest problems of metaphysics.
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