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A recent version of the causal theory of time makes crucial use of a concept of the genidentity of events when it attempts to define temporal betweenness in terms of empirical, physical properties. By presenting and discussing an apparent counter-example it is argued that the role of genidentity in an empirical theory of time is problematic. In particular, it may be that the temporal behavior of objects is used to decide which events are genidentical, and, if so, the definition of temporal betweenness is circular. On the other hand, though there are strategies for avoiding the charge of circularity, in certain hypothetical situations the definition may yield inconsistent temporal orders. Then, the definition would have to be supplemented by a choice of temporal orders, and this choice may introduce an element of conventionality into the causal theory of time.
Philosophy of Science © 1975 The University of Chicago Press