Awkward New Beginnings…

How do you really start a blog, when, by definition, a new blog has no followers? It is bit like playing a gig for an empty room. Well, I guess you blurt something out and hope for the best. Anyway, this is officially the first post of a blog that is meant to contribute to the growing community of realist metaphysicians trying to promote our understanding of the world.

I myself have just finished a project whose aim is to bring conclusion to a Century of debate about McTaggart’s Paradox. The result? Did he really prove that time is unreal? Not really, but he did produce an argument that moved from given premises to a logically valid conclusion. Our worries should be about the premises, not the argument or the conclusion.

The next project is to address a potential worry about emerging powers-based accounts of causation, notably that they tend to assume—explicitly or implicitly—that the exertion of powers is a question of one object unidirectionally exerting an influence on another object, which in turn merely receives the influence. That is, they assume an agent-patient distinction between interacting objects. The problem is that modern science, arguably, does not recognise any occurrence of unidirectional action. In the words of Mario Bunge:

A severe shortcoming of the strict doctrine of causality is that it disregards the fact that all known actions are accompanied or followed by reactions… [the]… polarization of interacting objects into agents and patients, is ontologically inadequate[…] (1959: 170-1).

Bunge thought we couldn’t accept that interactions were completely reciprocal, but I think we possibly might. So my project is really to explore what happens to our causal models if we accept that interactions are reciprocal in the way science describes them as being. More about the project is found here.


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