There has long been a dispute among philosophers about whether causation must by definition work only from the past, and some argue that there is no reason in principle why causation should not work from the future as well. Some science fiction writers have explored possible paradoxes caused by causation from the future, and in general there is a cloud of confusion over this whole area. Many of the equations of physics are reversible and some interpretations of quantum mechanics allow for influences to pass backwards in time. For example in Richard Feynman's interpretations of quantum mechanics a positron can be regarded as an electron moving backwards in time.
In John Cramer's transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics when a photon is emitted from the sun and takes 8 minutes before it is absorbed by something on earth, the absorber on earth sends a reverse signal to the emitter on the sun 8 minutes before the photon from the sun strikes the absorber. There is a kind of 'handshake' between the emitter and the absorber. Retrocausation takes on a practical significance in trying to interpret evidence for precognition, which is relatively common in dreams, and also for presentiment or "feeling the future."
A New Lab Dedicated to the Study of Retrocausation
PDFs of Peer-Reviewed Papers
On Precognition & Presentiment
(Compiled by Dean Radin)
- Honorton & Ferrari (1989). "Future telling": A meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments, 1935-1987
- Spottiswoode & May (2003). Skin Conductance Prestimulus Response: Analyses, Artifacts, and a Pilot Study
- Radin (2004). Electrodermal presentiments of future emotions
- McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 1. The Surprising Role of the Heart
- McCraty et al (2004). Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A System-Wide Process?
- Radin & Lobach (2007). Toward understanding the placebo effect: Investigating a possible retrocausal factor
- Radin & Borges (2009). Intuition through time: What does the seer see?
- Bem (2011). Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect
- Bem et al (2011). Must Psychologists Change the Way They Analyze Their Data?
- Bierman (2011). Anomalous Switching of the Bi-Stable Percept of a Necker Cube: A Preliminary Study
- Radin et al (2011). Electrocortical activity prior to unpredictable stimuli in meditators and non-meditators
- Radin (2011). Predicting the Unpredictable: 75 Years of Experimental Evidence
- Tressoldi et al (2011). Let Your Eyes Predict : Prediction Accuracy of Pupillary Responses to Random Alerting and Neutral Sounds
- Galek et al (2012). Correcting the Past: Failures to Replicate Psi
- Mossbridge et al (2012). Predictive physiological anticipation preceding seemingly unpredictable stimuli: a meta-analysis