How Anti-Humeans Can Embrace a Thermodynamic Reduction of Time’s Causal Arrow

Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1161-1171 (2021)
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Some argue that time’s causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of ‘produce’. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time’s causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that ‘reduction-plus-production’ is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects’ velocities in any state, given other—including far later—states’ properties. The Past Hypothesis may thus be a metaphysical condition, not a physical law.

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Eli I. Lichtenstein
University of Edinburgh


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