Defending Backwards Causation against the Objection from the Ignorance Condition

  • 1 University of Nebraska-Lincoln,

Abstract

Since Michel Dummett published “Can an effect precede its cause?” (1954), in which he argued for the logical consistency of backwards causation, the controversial concept has turned to a subject of all kinds of interpretations and misinterpretations. Some like Ben-yami, Peijnenburg and Gorovitz have wrongly ascribed to Dummett the view that the argument for the consistency of believing in backwards causation applies only in cases where the agent doesn’t know about the occurrence of the past effect. In this paper I defend Dummett’s argument by clearing up the confusion caused by ascribing the ignorance condition to Dummett.

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  • Dummett, Michael. 1980. Bringing About the Past. In Truth and Other Enigmas. Harvard University Press.

  • Dummett, Michael. 1980. Can an Effect Precede its Cause? In Truth and Other Enigmas. Harvard University Press.

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  • Hanoch, Ben-Yami. 2007. The Impossibility of Backwards Causation. The Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228): 439-455.

  • Peijnenburg, Jeanne. 2006. Shaping your own Life. Metaphilosophy 37 (2): 240-253.

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