Fido exists now because of various things Fido did a couple of minutes ago, such as breathe, pump blood with his heart, etc. So, it seems, Fido's existence is caused by Fido. But self-causation is absurd. So what's going on? Well, that depends on the theory of persistence.
Perdurantists and exdurantists have no problem at all. One temporal part causes another. There isn't even a whiff of absurd self-causation, either. Four-dimensionalist worm-theorists who don't believe in temporal parts can say that Fido doesn't cause his existence, but only aspects of his spatiotemporal dimensions. So on four-dimensional theories, we don't have absurdity.
But what about three-dimensionalist theories? Suppose Fido wholly exists at this time. Then it seems that all of Fido (now) is caused by Fido (five minutes ago), and that would be absurd. But that's not quite right. The eternalist or growing block three-dimensionalist can distinguish. Fido doesn't cause Fido's existing simpliciter. Fido only causes Fido's existing now. If we want more precision, we can say that Fido in virtue of existing five minutes ago causes himself to exist now. No problem, again.
That leaves the other three-dimensionalist option: presentism. And now we have a problem. According to presentism, to exist is to exist presently. Fido's present existence is (was? -- the tenses are hard to get right) caused by Fido. But that just means that Fido's existence is caused by Fido. And that's self-causation.
But perhaps we should take account of the sorts of things presentists say about the problem of transtemporal causation. Maybe it's not quite correct to say that Fido's existence is caused by Fido, but rather that Fido's existing is caused by Fido's having existed five minutes ago. Plus, talking like this makes causation a relation between states of affairs, and some will prefer that. But we still have a problem. For Fido's having existed five minutes ago is a state of affairs involving Fido. But it's absurd for Fido's existing to be caused by any state of affairs involving him, since Fido's existing is explanatorily prior to any state of affairs involving Fido.
Perhaps, though, the presentist can bring in Fido's haecceity H. Fido's existing is caused by H's having been instantiated five minutes ago. That is, I suspect, the presentist's best bet here. But there is a problem for that. For it sure seems like the state of affairs that caused Fido's present existence isn't a state of affairs of his haecceity having had something happen to it (say, being co-instantiated with respiration), but but it is the state of affairs of Fido having done certain things five minutes ago, like breathing. If it is states of affairs about haecceities that are causally relevant, then it looks like the things that are fundamentally involved in causation aren't particulars like Fido but are are abstracta like haecceities. And that's not right.
There is a direct argument here against presentism, too.
- Fido's presently existing is caused by Fido's having existed five minutes ago.
- If presentism is correct, Fido's presently existing is Fido's existing.
- Fido's having existed five minutes ago is a state of affairs of which Fido is a constituent.
- No state of affairs of which Fido is a constituent causes Fido's existing.
- So, if presentism is correct, Fido's existing is caused by Fido's having existed five minutes ago. (1, 2).
- So, if presentism is correct, Fido's existing is caused by a state of affairs of which Fido is a constituent. (3, 5).
- So, presentism is not correct. (4, 6)