world lines

I write this blog post about something I have not really thought and don't know much about.

The Aeolist discusses the Dowe/Salmon causal processes account of causation and raises important objections in my opinion. (see also here)

But I think there is a more fundamental objection: In order to define world-lines one needs a concept of space and time, but how could one determine the properties of space and time and measure distances between world-lines?

One would have to introduce a metric, in other words a field, and quickly end up with (something like) general relativity and its complications.
As the Aeolist already noticed, the introduction of fields "brings along a whole other suite of problems like how to individuate objects and processes on that conception".

Does it really make sense that philosophers retrace the history of physics (and the inconsistencies of its various concepts) from Newtonian particles to quantum field theory just to define terms like 'process' and 'causation'?

1 comment:

Ponder Stibbons said...

It doesn't. I don't think you need physics to define those terms. The social sciences and biology do fine without referring to a notion of causation that's rooted in physics.