Journal Article

Causality and Temporal Order in Special Relativity

Hanoch Ben-Yami

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 57, issue 3, pages 459-479
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online August 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axl019
Causality and Temporal Order in Special Relativity

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David Malament tried to show that the causal theory of time leads to a unique determination of simultaneity relative to an inertial observer, namely standard simultaneity. I show that the causal relation Malament uses in his proofs, causal connectibility, should be replaced by a different causal relation, the one used by Reichenbach in his formulation of the theory. I also explain why Malament's reliance on the assumption that the observer has an eternal inertial history modifies our conception of simultaneity, and I therefore eliminate it. Having made these changes, Malament's uniqueness result no longer follows, although the conventionality of simultaneity is not reinstated. I contrast my approach with previous criticisms of Malament.

Introduction

Causality and Temporal Order

Malament's Argument

Causality versus Causal Connectibility

Simultaneity and History

Conclusion

Journal Article.  9272 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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