The Asymmetry of Influence

Douglas Kutach

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199298204
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Asymmetry of Influence

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  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Science



This chapter considers the nature of the causal asymmetry, or even more generally, the asymmetry of influence. Putting aside explanations which would appeal to an asymmetry in time as explaining this asymmetry, it aims to show, using current physical theory and no ad hoc time asymmetric assumptions, why it is that future-directed influence sometimes advances one's goals but backward-directed influence does not. The chapter claims that agency is crucial to the explanation of the influence asymmetry. It provides an exhaustive account of the advancement asymmetry that is connected with fundamental physics, influence, causation, counterfactual dependence, and related notions in palatable ways.

Keywords: causal asymmetry; influence asymmetry; fundamental physics; causation; counterfactual dependence

Article.  14980 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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