Production Requires Endurance and an A View of Time

If causation involves production, then things must endure rather than perdure, because perdurance is incompatible with production, if creation ex nihilo is ruled out. Also, this kind of production is incompatible with the B view of time. The argument for these two points is spelled out in greater detail in (Ingthorsson 2001, 2009, 2016: Ch. 7). Very briefly, if it were assumed that things persist by perduring, i.e. by having temporal parts, and all times exist in parity, then each part must be a distinct and independent substantial entity, each existing at that time without ever coming into or going out of being. If that is the case, then I fail to see what could be produced, by what, and out of what. If one temporal part of a thing is broken and an earlier part is whole, without the part being whole having changed into being broken, then out of what was the broken part produced? The broken part must either (i) always have existed, in which case it was not produced, (ii) be produced by being brought into reality from outside reality, (iii) be produced out of the substance of the Agent, in which case a brick would have to be able to change into a pile of glass and the problem would shift to the production of the brick lying in the pile of glass, or (iv) be produced ex nihilo.

Indeed, most perdurantists would agree and say that, since things perdure, there is no production, everything simply exists, albeit at different times. Here we have the neo-Humean idea of the world as a mosaic of local matters of fact, where everything is loose and separate and nothing originates from anything else. In such a world there can be no generic connections, since they would constitute a substantial connection. I want to make as good sense as I can of the idea that causality involves production, but reject the possibility of creation ex nihilo, and will then have to conclude that if causality involves production then substances persist by enduring. I take myself to be in agreement with Haslanger (1989), who argues that the perdurantist position commits to a neo-Humean interpretation of causality, i.e. to a correlation view of causality, in which production has no place (Ingthorsson 2001). Indeed, it is widely argued that change generally speaking, not just causally produced change, necessarily requires endurance of the substances involved (Metaphysics: Bk. 12, 2; Lowe 1998; Mellor 1998; Simons 2000).

Again, if it is assumed that all times exist in parity, which is the basic tenet of the B view of time, then it follows that every state of every physical system exists in parity with each other, and this requires a perdurantist view of persistence. Perdurance, as I have argued, is incompatible with production, and if the B view is committed to perdurance, then the B view is incompatible with production. This is a simple consequence of Lewis’ problem of temporary intrinsics (1986a: 2Q2ff). The only view of time that will allow a state of a system to cease to exist as it gives rise to a new state is the A view of time (my favoured version is presentism). Now, since the focus of this book is on causation and not time, I refer to my other publications regarding the connection between different views about time and different views about persistence, and their connection to different views on causation (Ingthorsson 2001, 2002, 2009, 2016).

Two states of affairs that are causally related, in the sense given above, will be different states of the very same compound substance, which has changed from one state to the other due to the interaction of its parts. The production of changes cannot then really be construed as involving an external influence on the changing entity (although the parts of that entity act mutually and externally on each other), but to influences internal to a changing compound, or aggregate of substances. That is, on this account, causally produced change is always a change within a system.

(P6): Causally produced change is always internal to a compound substance.

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