Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere (...)passage of time does have causal powers : Sydney Shoemaker's (1969) possible world where temporal vacua (allegedly) take place. I shall argue that Shoemaker's thought-experiment doesn't really aim at teaching us that there can be time without change, but rather that if such a scenario is plausible at all (as I think it is) it provides us with good reasons to think that mere passage of time can be directly causally efficient. (shrink)
This is an expanded and revised discussion of the argument briefly put forward in my 'A New Problem for the A-Theory of Time', where it is claimed that it is impossible to experience real temporal passage and that no such phenomenon exists. In the first half of the paper the premises of the argument are discussed in more detail than before. In the second half responses are given to several possible objections, none of which were addressed in the (...) earlier paper. There is also some discussion of some related epistemic arguments against the passage of time given by Huw Price and David Braddon-Mitchell along with objections raised against them recently by Tim Maudlin and Peter Forrest respectively. (shrink)
Some philosophers believe that the passage of time is a real phenomenon. And some of them find a reason to believe this when they attend to features of their conscious experience. In fact this “argument from experience” is supposed to be one of the main arguments for passage. What exactly does this argument look like? Is it any good?
The prosaic content of these sayings is that events change from future to present and from present to past. Your next birthday is in the future, but with the passage of time it draws nearer and nearer until it is present. 24 hours later it will be in the past, and then lapse forever deeper into history. And things get older: even if they don’t wear out or lose their hair or change in any other way, their chronological (...) age is always increasing. These changes are universal and inescapable: no event could ever fail to be first future, then present, then past, and no persisting thing can avoid growing older. We call this process time’s passage. (shrink)
Since the early part of this century there has been a considerable amount of discussion of the question 'Does time pass?'. A useful way of approaching the debate over the passage of time is to consider the following thesis: The space-time thesis (SPT): Time is similar to the dimensions of space in at least this one respect: there is no set of properties such that (i) these properties are possessed by time, (ii) these properties (...) are not possessed by any dimension of space, and (iii) in virtue of time's possession of these properties it is true to say that time passes. Those who say that time does not pass generally want to affirm something like SPT. But those, on the other hand, who say that time does pass generally want to deny SPT. Of course, SPT is, as it stands, a mere skeleton of a thesis. It needs to be fleshed out. What could the relevant properties be? Why exactly would it be that in virtue of time's possession of these properties it is true to say that time passes? What exactly would it mean to say that time passes? These are all matters that require considerable discussion. The aim of this paper, however, is to take up some linguistic issues that have been considered central to the debate over the passage of time. There are two main reasons why I think it is appropriate to discuss these linguistic issues independently of the relevant metaphysical issues. The first reason is historical: many of the writers who have taken up the issue of whether or not time passes have begun their discussions by focusing on linguistic.. (shrink)
Many philosophers say that time involves a kind of passage that distinguishes it from space. A traditional objection is that this passage would have to occur at some rate, yet we cannot say what the rate would be. The paper argues that the real problem with time’s passage is different: time would have to pass at one second per second, yet this is not a rate of change. This appears to refute decisively not only (...) the view that time passes, but any tensed theory of time. (shrink)
I propose that the passage of time is the successive occurrence of sets of simultaneous events (assuming classical or Newtonian spacetime structure as background). This conception of passage, I claim, is lean enough to survive the criticisms of passage-deniers while robust enough to satisfy the needs of passage-affirmers. I undertake to describe and defend this minimal notion of passage.
It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect (...) to moral discourse and moral reality. This new position retains the advantages of theories like moral realism and naturalism, yet is immune to many of their difficulties. (shrink)
Extending on an earlier paper [Found. Phys. Ltt., 16(4) 343–355, (2003)], it is argued that instants of time and the instantaneous (including instantaneous relative position) do not actually exist. This conclusion, one which is also argued to represent the correct solution to Zeno’s motion paradoxes, has several implications for modern physics and for our philosophical view of time, including that time and space cannot be quantized; that contrary to common interpretation, motion and change are compatible with the (...) “block” universe and relativity; and that time, space, and space-time too, cannot exist. Instead, motion and change become the major players. (shrink)
This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a (...) model with at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
Owing to intensive development of the theory of self-organization of complex systems called also synergetics, profound changes in our notions of time occur. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century, natural sciences, by picking up the general spirit of Einstein's theory of relativity, consider a geometrization as an ideal, i.e. try to represent time and force interactions through space and the changes of its properties, nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century, time turns to be (...) in the focus of attention. It turns to be possible to represent space through time, because synergetics shows that historical and evolutionary stages of development of a complex structure can be found now, in its present spatial configuration. A whole series of paradoxical notions, such as “the influence of the future upon the present”, a “possibility of touching of a rather remote future today”, “availability of the past and the future now, in praesenti”, “irreversibility and elements of reversibility in the course of evolutionary processes in time”, “discrete unites, quanta of time”, appear in synergetics. (shrink)
This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance (...) theory says that objects persist through time by being wholly present at distinct times as numerically the same entity. Instead of endurantism, it has been argued, we have to adopt either ‘perdurantism’ or the ‘stage theory’. Perdurantism is the theory that objects are four-dimensional ‘space-time worms’ persisting through time by having distinct temporal parts at distinct times. The stage theory says that objects are instantaneous temporal parts (stages) of space-time worms, persisting by having distinct temporal counterparts at distinct times. In the thesis, it is argued that no good arguments have been provided for the conclusion that we are obliged to drop the endurance theory by acceptance of the B-theory. This conclusion stands even if the endurance theory incorporates the claim that objects endure through intrinsic change. It is also shown that perdurantism and the stage theory come with unwelcome consequences. -/- Paper I demonstrates that the main arguments for the view that objects cannot endure in B-time intrinsically unchanged fail. Papers II and III do the same with respect to the traditional arguments against endurance through intrinsic change in B-time. Paper III also contains a detailed account of the semantics of the tenseless copula, which occurs frequently in the debate. The contention of Paper IV is that four-dimensional space-time worms, as traditionally understood, are not suited to take dispositional predicates. In Paper V, it is shown that the stage theory needs to introduce an overabundance of persistence-concepts, many of which will have to be simultaneously applicable to a single object (qua falling under a single sortal), in order for the theory to be consistent. The final article, Paper VI, investigates the sense in which persistence can, as is sometimes suggested, be a ‘conventional matter’. It also asks whether alleged cases of ‘conventional persistence’ create trouble for the endurance theory. It is argued that conventions can only enter at a trivial semantic level, and that the endurance theory is no more threatened by such conventions than are its rivals. (shrink)
This paper outlines some key issues that arise when agency and temporality are considered jointly, from the perspective of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, and action theory. I address the difference between time simpliciter and time as represented as it figures in phenomena like intentional binding, goal-oriented action plans, emulation systems, and ‘temporal agency’. An examination of Husserl’s account of time consciousness highlights difficulties in generalizing his account to include a substantive notion of agency, a weakness inherited by (...) explanatory projects like neurophenomenology. I conclude by sketching a project analogous to the projects in neurophenomenology, based on Thompson’s naïve action theory. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as "a relic of a bygone age." This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ (...) class='Hi'>time symmetry’ of fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)
I distinguish three views, a defence of any one of which would go some way towards vindicating the view that there is something objective about the passage of time: (i) the view that the present moment is objectively distinguished; (ii) the view that time has an objective direction – that it is an objective matter which of two non-simultaneous events is the earlier and which the later; (iii) the view that there is something objectively dynamic, ﬂux-like, or (...) "ﬂow-like" about time. I argue that each of these views is not so much false as doubtfully coherent. In each case, it turns out to be hard to make sense of what the view could be, at least if it is to be non-trivial, and of use to a friend of objective passage. I conclude with some remarks about avenues that seem worth exploring in the philosophy of time, when we are done with trying to make sense of passage. (shrink)
We experience time in different ways, and we construct different kinds of representation of time. What kinds of representation are there and how do they work? In particular, how do we integrate temporal features of the world into our understanding of the mechanisms underlying representations in the media of perception, memory, art, and narrative? Le Poidevin’s well written and carefully argued book is an exploration of these questions. Although interesting in its own right, Le Poidevin pursues this question (...) as a means of exploring another pressing issue, namely the metaphysics of time. The central posit of the book is that we can learn a lot about time from ordinary representations of time, and accordingly the book is an exploration of what representations of time can tell us about the metaphysical structure of time itself. This viewpoint is justified by the adoption of a causal theory of representation, the claim that representations are causally linked to what they represent and that this is what determines both their content and their epistemic status. The central metaphysical concern of the book is the reality of the passage of time. Does time in reality pass, and can events therefore be located in the past, present, or future, or does time not pass and nothing in reality changes its position in time? In McTaggart’s terms, this is the distinction between the A-theory and the B- theory of time. (shrink)
In a crucial passage of the second-edition Transcendental Deduction, Kant claims that the concept of motion is central to our understanding of change and temporal order. I show that this seemingly idle claim is really integral to the Deduction, understood as a replacement for Locke’s “physiological” epistemology (cf. A86-7/B119). Béatrice Longuenesse has shown that Kant’s notion of distinctively inner receptivity derives from Locke. To explain the a priori application of concepts such as succession to this mode of sensibility, Kant (...) construes the mind as receptive to its own activity. As Longuenesse understands Kant’s response to Locke, “motion” becomes little more than a metaphor for the action of understanding on inner sense. For Michael Friedman, in contrast, this passage evidences Kant’s deep concern with the foundations of Newtonian science. He reads it as a reference to inertial motion, the standard by which temporal intervals are measured. I show that Longuenesse’s and Friedman’s interpretations are in fact complementary. Both Locke and Kant are deeply concerned with the quantification of time. So Longuenesse is right that §24 is meant to supplant Locke’s account, and Friedman correctly takes it as the foundation of Kant’s account of the application of quantitative concepts to time. Kant aims, specifically, to explain cognition of time as continuous magnitude. However, Longuenesse leaves Kant without an answer to Locke’s challenge that continuous magnitude cannot be understood on the basis of discrete magnitude. And on Friedman’s view Kant’s account of the understanding’s activity presupposes, and thus cannot explain, the achievements of the mathematical sciences (such as the representation of temporal continuity). On my reading, Kant’s key contention is that we must regard the segregation of temporally ordered representation into units as the work of the understanding, rather than (as Locke views it) of sensibility. By giving the understanding this role, Kant succeeds where he takes Locke to fail. I show how the power to unify temporal representation can be ascribed to the understanding on the basis, not of assumed mathematical or scientific knowledge, but of its characterization as the power of judgment. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface; Introduction; Part I. Times New and Old: 1. McTaggart's systems; 2. Countenancing the Doxai; Part II. The Mater of Time: Motion: 3. Time is not motion; 4. Aristotelian motion (Kinesis); 5. 'The before and after in motion'; Part III. The Form of Time: Perception: 6. Number (Arithmos) and perception (Aisthesis); 7. On a moment's notice; 8. The role of imagination; 9. Time and the common perceptibles; 10. The hylomorphic interpretation illustrated; Part (...) IV. Simultaneity and Temporal Passage: 11. Simultaneity and other temporal relations; 12. Temporal passage; 13. Dissolving the puzzles of IV.10; 14. Concluding summary and historical significance; Bibliography. (shrink)
The kinematical principle of Equal Passage Times (EPT) was introduced by Winnie in his 1970 derivation of the relativistic coordinate transformations compatible with arbitrary synchrony conventions in one-dimensional space. In this paper, the claim by Winnie and later Giannoni that EPT is a direct consequence of the relativity principle is questioned. It is shown that EPT, given Einstein's 1905 postulates, is equivalent to the relativistic (synchrony independent) clock retardation principle, and that for standard synchrony it reduces to an isotropy (...) condition for contraction (and dilation) effects. (shrink)
A new event is defined as an intervention in the time reversible dynamical trajectories of particles in a system. New events are then assumed to be quantum fluctuations in the spatial and momentum coordinates, and mental action is assumed to work by ordering such fluctuations. It is shown that when the cumulative values of such fluctuations in a mean free path of a molecule are magnified by molecular interaction at the end of that path, the momentum of a molecule (...) can be changed from its original direction to any other direction. In this way mental action can produce effects through the ordering of thermal motions. Examples are given which show that the ordering of 10^4 10^5 molecules is sufficient to (a) produce detectible PK results and (b) open sufficient ion channels in the brain to initiate a physical action. The relationship of the above model to the arrow of time is discussed. (shrink)
Defending the tenseless theory of time requires dealing adequately with the experience of temporal becoming. The issue centers on whether the defender of tenseless time can provide an adequate analysis of the presence of experience and the appropriateness of certain of our attitudes toward future and past events. By responding to a recent article, ‘Passage and the Presenee of Experience’, by H . Scott Hestevold, I shall attempt to show that adequate analysis of tenseless time is (...) possible. (shrink)
Relativity allegedly contradicts presentism, the dynamic view of time and reality, according to which temporal passage is conceived of as an existentially distinguished ‘moving’ now. Against this common belief, the paper motivates a presentist interpretation of spacetime: It is argued that the fundamental concept of time—proper time—cannot be characterized by the earlier-later relation, i.e., not in the B-theoretical sense. Only the presentist can provide a temporal understanding of the twins’ paradox and of universes with closed timelike (...) curves. (shrink)
It seems a contradiction to hold of something both that it took a while and that no time elapsed or passed between its start and finish; there is a connection between the ideas of temporal extendedness and passage. The article develops this connection into a defense of the passage view of time and shows how without this sort of defense, conclusions of arguments putatively in support of the passage view may be reinterpreted as not in (...) fact being expressions of that view. (shrink)
I first distinguish several notions that have traditionally been conflated (or otherwise neglected) in discussions of the metaphysics of time. Thus, for example, I distinguish between the passage of time and temporal becoming. The former is, I maintain, a confused notion that does not represent a feature of the world; whereas a proper understanding of the latter provides the key for a plausible and comprehensive account of the nature of temporal reality. There are two general classes of (...) views of the nature of temporal reality; proponents of particular views in both classes attempt to account for the phenomenon of temporal becoming in terms of qualitative change. I argue that any such account – in terms of change – is irredeemably problematic. And so I propound a different account of temporal becoming, based on the notion that temporal reality is transient, which provides the means to characterize intuitively and vividly the significant effects of time on the metaphysical nature of the world. (shrink)
Between 1927 and 1936, Martin Heidegger devoted almost one thousand pages of close textual commentary to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This article aims to shed new light on the relationship between Kant and Heidegger by providing a fresh analysis of two central texts: Heidegger’s 1927/8 lecture course Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and his 1929 monograph Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. I argue that to make sense of Heidegger’s reading of Kant, one must resolve two (...) questions. First, how does Heidegger’s Kant understand the concept of the transcendental? Second, what role does the concept of a horizon play in Heidegger’s reconstruction of the Critique? I answer the first question by drawing on Cassam’s model of a self-directed transcendental argument, and the second by examining the relationship between Kant’s doctrine that ‘pure, general logic’ abstracts from all semantic content and Hume’s attack on metaphysics. I close by sketching the implications of my results for Heidegger’s own thought. Ultimately, I conclude that Heidegger’s commentary on the Critical system is defined, above all, by a single issue: the nature of the ‘form’ of intentionality. (shrink)
I distinguish paradoxes and hypodoxes among the conundrums of time travel. I introduce ‘hypodoxes’ as a term for seemingly consistent conundrums that seem to be related to various paradoxes, as the Truth-teller is related to the Liar. In this article, I briefly compare paradoxes and hypodoxes of time travel with Liar paradoxes and Truth-teller hypodoxes. I also discuss Lewis’ treatment of time travel paradoxes, which I characterise as a Laissez Faire theory of time travel. Time (...) travel paradoxes are impossible according to Laissez Faire theories, while it seems hypodoxes are possible. (shrink)
This paper aims to investigate the temporal content of perceptual experience. It argues that we must recognize the existence of temporal perceptions, i.e., perceptions the content of which cannot be spelled out simply by looking at what is the case at an isolated instant. Acts of apprehension can cover a succession of events. However, a subject who has such perceptions can fall short of having a concept of time. Similar arguments have been put forward to show that a subject (...) who has spatial perceptions can fall short of having a concept of space. In both cases, it is the fact that perception is from a point of view which stands in the way of it constituting an exercise of a concept of how things are objectively. However, the paper also shows that the way in which perception is perspectival takes a different form in each of the two cases. (shrink)
This paper examines Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy of time in light of his critique and reconceptualization of Edmund Husserl’s early time-analyses. Drawing on The Visible and the Invisible and lecture courses, I elaborate Merleau-Ponty’s re-reading of Husserl’s time-analyses through the lens of Rudolf Bernet’s “Einleitung” to this work. My question is twofold: what becomes of the central Husserlian concepts of present and retention in Merleau-Ponty’s later work, and how do Husserl’s elisions, especially of the problem of forgetting, (...) become generative moments for Merleau-Ponty’s thought on time? The answer passes through the logic of institution as the “retrograde movement of the true” (Henri Bergson) and through unconsciousness as disarticulation of the perceptual field, as Merleau-Ponty attempts to detach Husserlian concepts from the philosophy of consciousness and rehabilitate them within an ontology of time. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the clash of the Sellars’ two images is particularly acute in the case of time. In Time and the World Order Sellars seems embarked on a quest to locate manifest time in Minkowski spacetime. I suggest that he should have argued for the replacement of manifest time with the local, path-dependent time of the “scientific image”, just as he suggests that manifest objects must be replaced by their scientific counterparts.
In a recent paper, Steven Savitt attempts to demonstrate that there is an area of common ground between one classic proponent of temporal passage, C.D. Broad, and one classic opponent of passage, D.C. Williams. According to Savitt, Broad's notion of “absolute becoming” as the ordered occurrence of (simultaneity sets of) events, and Williams’ notion of “literal passage,” as the happening of events strung along the four-dimensional space-time manifold, are indistinguishable. Savitt recognizes that some might think it (...) preposterous to maintain that Broad and Williams agree regarding the nature of passage, but by a consideration of Broad’s “OstensibleTemporality,” and Williams’ “The Myth of Passage,” Savitt attempts to demonstrate that they do in fact hold the same, and indeed the correct, view of passage. I shall argue, however, that Broad’s account of the transitory aspect of time is ontologically distinguishable from Williams’ and that only by confusing Broad’s A-theory with Williams’ B-theory or Williams’ B-theory with Broad’s A-theory could Savitt have thought that there is an area of overlap between them. A demonstration of these points will have the benefit of enabling us to clarify the ontological character ofthe dispute, of which Broad was well-aware, between the A- and B-theories of time. (shrink)
Elsewhere I have suggested that the B-theory includes a notion of passage, by virtue of including succession. Here, I provide further support for that claim by showing that uncontroversial elements of the B-theory straightforwardly ground a veridical sense of passage. First, I argue that the B-theory predicts that subjects of experience have a sense of passivity with respect to time that they do not have with respect to space, which they are right to have, even according to (...) the B-theory. I then ask what else might be involved in our experience of time as passing that is not yet vindicated by the B-theoretic conception. I examine a recent B-theoretic explanation of our ‘illusory’ sense of passage, by Robin Le Poidevin, and argue that it explains away too much: our perception of succession poses no more of a problem on the B-theory than it does on other theories of time. Finally, I respond to an objection by Oreste Fiocco that a causal account of our sense of passage cannot succeed, because it leaves out the ‘phenomenological novelty’ of each moment. (shrink)
This paper discusses Robin Le Poidevin’s proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides a reason to relinquish the fear of death. After outlining Le Poidevin’s views on time and death, I analyze the specific passages in which he makes his proposal, giving close attention to the claim that, for the B-theorist, one’s life is “eternally real.” I distinguish two possible interpretations of this claim, which I call alethic eternalism and ontic eternalism respectively, and argue, with (...) reference to statements by other B-theroists, that alethic eternalism is the only viable option. I highlight two problems for Le Poidevin’s proposal: firstly, even if alethic eternalism does provide a reason not to fear death, this same reason is available to A-theorists; and secondly, alethic eternalism does not in fact provide such a reason. Having critically assessed possible responses to these problems, I conclude that Le Poidevin’s proposal is unfounded. (shrink)
models of cognition are essentially incomplete because they fail to capture the temporal properties of mental processing. I present two possible interpretations of the dynamicists' argument from time and show that neither one is successful. The disagreement between dynamicists and symbolic theorists rests not on temporal considerations per se, but on differences over the multiple realizability of cognitive states and the proper explanatory goals of psychology. The negative arguments of dynamicists against symbolic models fail, and it is doubtful whether (...) pursuing dynamicists' explanatory goals will lead to a robust psychological theory. Introduction Elements of the symbolic theory Elements of dynamical systems theory The argument from time 4.1 First interpretation of the argument from time 4.2 Second interpretation of the argument from time Limits of dynamical systems theory. (shrink)
Reactive emotion accounts hold that blameworthiness should be analyzed in terms of the familiar reactive emotions. However, despite the attractions of such views, we are not persuaded that blameworthiness is ultimately a matter of correctly felt reactive emotion. In this paper, we draw attention to a range of little-discussed considerations involving the moral significance of the passage of time that drive a wedge between blameworthiness and the reactive emotions: the appropriateness of the reactive emotions is sensitive to the (...)passage of time in ways that attributions of blameworthiness are not. There are a number of ways in which reactive emotion accounts might attempt to accommodate the moral significance of time, however. We consider the most important of these, but ultimately find them wanting. Accordingly, we conclude that the prospects for the reactive emotion accounts are bleak. Our argument, if successful, has a range of implications for legal theory, most importantly in providing a novel moral basis for statutes of limitations and in shedding light on new avenues in the theory of criminal law generally. (shrink)
The question of the existence and the properties of time has been subject to debate for thousands of years. This considered and complete study offers a contrastive analysis of phenomenologies of time from the perspective of the problematics of the visibility of time. Is time perceptible only through the veil of change? Or is there a naked presence of "time itself"? Or has time always effaced itself? McClure's new work also stages confrontations between phenomenology (...) of time and analytical philosophy of time. By doing so he explores ancient issues from a fresh perspective, such as whether time passes, whether experimental time is "real time," and whether the very concept of time is contradictory. (shrink)
For Vajrayana Buddhism, the now is an interval, a boundary, a point of tension and suspension with an atmosphere of uncertainty. It is a bifurcation point of variable length; its name is “bardo.” The bardo is immersed in the conventional, or “seeming” reality. It emerges from what is called the “unstained” ultimate or primordial emptiness or “basal clear light.” Further, the ultimate (basal clear light) is not the sphere of cognition. Cognition, including cognition of time, belongs to conventional (...) reality. Buddhahood, in contrast, is a condition of uncompounded knowledge where basic mind blossoms without temporal or other cognitive distinctions, unmade, unfabricated, luminous and pristine. -/- Cyclical existence involves both the ultimate and the conventional as it moves through six bardos—all of which are the effulgent of the basal clear light—until Buddhahood. The six are: the bardo of this life (or birth); the bardo of dream; the bardo of meditation; the bardo of dying; the bardo of dharmata (or reality); and the bardo of existence. Each realm is both ultimate and conventional, and has specific initiation-based yogas to investigate these differences. The process of transition from one to the next involves at least three bodies, one mind, and aspects of speech. -/- In each bardo, the character of the now as embodiment and temporal knowing varies yet a complete and consistent cross-bardo yogic wisdom leads to its total cessation in the basal clear light; the now is extinguished. -/- The author presents, from the viewpoint of a knowledgeable practitioner of over 30 years, an essay on Vajrayana Buddhist time, drawing implications for Fraser’s time typology. The essay will draw from English translations of significant older, tantric texts on dream yoga (Tsongkhapa, 1996), deity yoga (Fremantle, 2001), the Chod (Edou, 1996), tantric time (T. Gyatso, 1985; Prasad, 1991; Berzin,1997; Lamrimpa, 1999; and K. Gyatso, 2004), the bardo of death (Fremantil 2001), and empowerment (Rangdrol, 1993). Useful practices that can be applied by the audience to test the tradition and author’s assertions will be suggested (Tulku, 1977). (shrink)
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in (...) a twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (shrink)
Introduction -- Fatalism, free will, and foreknowledge -- Mind, the metric, and conventionality -- Time travel and backward causation -- Time's origin, and relationism vs. substantivalism -- McTaggart, tensed facts, and time's flow -- Presentism, the block universe, and perduring objects -- The arrow of time -- Zeno's paradoxes and supertasks.
The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
In Book IV, Chapter 11 of the Physics, Aristotle claims that ‘the before and after’ exists in time because it also exists in change, and it exists in change because it also exists in magnitude, and, further, that ‘time follows change’ and ‘change follows magnitude’.1 This is usually taken to mean that moments of time correspond to momentary stages of changes, and that momentary stages of changes correspond to points in magnitudes, so that time derives its (...) ‘before and after’ from that of change, and change from that of magnitude.2 But this is widely thought to land Aristotle in the following difﬁ culty: If Socrates walks between points A and C, for instance, he can either proceed from point A to point.. (shrink)
These nine essays address fundamental questions about time in philosophy, physics, linguistics, and psychology. Are there facts about the future? Could we affect the past? In physics, general relativity and quantum theory give contradictory treatments of time. So in the current search for a theory of quantum gravity, which should give way: general relativity or quantum theory? In linguistics and psychology, how does our language represent time, and how do our minds keep track of it?
This paper explores the distinction between perceiving an object as extended in time, and experiencing a sequence of perceptions. I argue that this distinction cannot be adequately described by any present theory of time-consciousness and that in order to solve the puzzle, we need to consider perceptual content as having three distinct constituents: Explicit content, which has a particular phenomenal character, modal content, or the kind of content that is contributed by the psychological mode, and implicit content, which (...) lacks phenomenal character. These notions are then further clarified and related to each other. (shrink)
Part I: Dimensions of time's enigma -- Is time real? -- Eleaticism, temporality, and time -- The makings of a temporal universe -- Pastness and futurity -- Synchronicity and synchronicity -- Temporal pace and measurement -- Presentness or the present -- Aristotle's real account of time -- Parmenidean time and the impossible now -- Cosmic motion and the speed of time -- Time as the motion of the cosmos -- Time as the (...) cosmos itself -- Time as motion and all change -- Temporal cognition and the return of the now -- Real temporality in an Aristotelian world -- Does Aristotle refute eleaticism? -- Bisection argument I -- Bisection argument II -- Bisection argument III -- Plotinus' vitalistic platonism and the real origins of time -- Temporality, eternality, and Plotinus' new metaphysic -- Plotinus' critique of Aristotelian motion -- Indefinite temporality and the measure of motion -- Plotinus' neoplatonic account of time. (shrink)
This book brings together new essays on a major focus of debate in contemporary metaphysics: does time really pass, or is our ordinary experience of time as consisting of past, present, and future an illusion? The international contributors broaden this debate by demonstrating the importance of questions about the nature of time for philosophical issues in ethics, aesthetics, psychology, science, religion, and language.
Introduction : the course of the argument -- Substance poem versus function poem : two poems of Friedrich Hölderlin -- Entering the phenomenological school and discovering the color of shame -- Existence toward space : two "Rainbows" from around 1916 -- The problem of historical time : conversing with Scholem, criticizing Heidegger in 1916 -- Meaning in the proper sense of the word : "On language as such and on human language" and related logico-linguistic studies -- Pure knowledge and (...) the continuity of experience : "On the program of the coming philosophy" and its supplements -- The political counterpart to pure practical reason : from Kant's doctrine of right to Benjamin's category of justice -- Conclusion : the shape of time. (shrink)
Visit the author's Web site at www.11PicsOfTime.com Time is a mystery that has perplexed humankind since time immemorial. Resolving this mystery is of significance not only to philosophers and physicists but is also a very practical concern. Our perception of time shapes our values and way of life; it also mediates the interaction between science and religion both of which rest fundamentally on assumptions about the nature of time. C K Raju begins with a critical exposition (...) of various time-beliefs, ranging from the earliest times through Augustine, Newton and Einstein to Stephen Hawking and current notions of chaos and time travel. He traces the role of organised religion in subverting time beliefs for its political ends. The book points out how this resulted in a facile dichotomy between 'linear' and 'cyclic' time, thereby inaugurating a confusion which, according to the author, has handicapped Western thought ever since, eventually influencing the content of science itself. Thus, this book daringly asserts that physical theory, traditionally regarded as amoral and objective, has depended on cultural beliefs about time. The author points out that time beliefs are again being manipulated today as the credibility of science is being exploited to promote a picture of time and, hence, a pattern of human behaviour which is convenient to the agenda of globalisation of culture. The linkages between modern theology and this 'brave new physics' are traced against the wider context of the so-called 'clash of civilisations', and the attempts to remake the world order. The conclusions point to the need to de-theologise time. The author challenges Einstein's understanding of relativity theory and suggests that a 'tilt in the arrow of time', or a small tendency towards cyclicity, will help repair the prevalent confusion about time. A 'tilt' also enables a physics that permits both memory and creativity, so that purpose and spontaneous growth of order are returned to human life. The book ends with a vision of Man as Creator, surprising God. Extensive research in physics, the history of science, comparative religions, and sociology lend weight to the important and challenging conclusions reached by the author. Written as a rejoinder to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, this book goes much further and, unlike any previous book, it gives a critical exposition of various world religions-Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism-while exploring their intricate links, through time beliefs, to current physics on the one hand, and to global political and economic trends, on the other. This book will appeal to scholars and laypersons equally. It will fascinate anyone who reads it and will teach its readers to question the unquestionable. (shrink)
Time belongs to a handful of categories (like form, symbol, cause) that are genuinely transdisciplinary. Time touches every dimension of our being, every object of our attention - including attention itself. It therefore can belong to no single field of study. Of course, this universalist view of time is not itself universal but rather is a product of the modern age, an age that conceived of itself as the 'new' time. Time has thus gained new (...) importance as a theme of general research with the 'post-modern turn' now manifest in many areas of intellectual endeavor, especially in the humanities and social sciences. 'Chronotypes' are models or patterns through which time assumes practical or conceptual significance. Time is not given but (as the subtitle indicates) fabricated in an ongoing process. Chronotypes are themselves temporal and plural, constantly being made and remade at multiple individual, social, and cultural levels. They interact, they change over time, and they have histories, whose construal is itself an act of temporal construction. This book - an interdisciplinary collaboration of philosophers, historians, literary critics, and anthropologists - examines the ways individuals, societies, and cultures make sense of time by constructing it in diverse patterns. Its title intentionally echoes a concept of narrative theory, Mikhail Bakhtin's 'chronotype', because narrative recurs as a chief form within which we build temporality. The topics treated by these essays range from story-telling to cross-cultural communication, from epistemological debates to concepts of historical periodization, from the construction of life stories to the stratification of social time. (shrink)
Thomas Sattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
In Physics IV 14, 223a16-223a29 Aristotle raises two questions: (Q1) How is time related to the soul? (Q2) Why is time thought to be in everything? Aristotle's juxtaposition of these questions indicates some relation between them. I argue that Aristotle is committed to the claim that time only exists where change is countable. Aristotle must answer (Q2) in a way that doesn't conflict with this commitment. Aristotle's answer to (Q1) offers him such a way. Since time (...) is change qua countable, time is dependent on souls capable of counting. But the thing that time is, change, is not so dependent. Likewise, time is not located in everything, but change, the substratum of time, is. This answers (Q2) in a way that's compatible with Aristotle's commitments. (shrink)
As we speak about time in the context of everyday life, we have no problem with what we mean by time. We take time as given. Different kinds of theories of development rely on the ordinary concept of time. Time is a sequence of instants, and we are moving along from the past to the future, from birth to death. Moving in time also means development. It does not take into account how a human (...) being is in the time. It flattens our view of human life and cannot describe our manifold being. According to theories of development, if a child does not behave in a certain instant as the theories expect, there must be a problem with that child or she has not developed as well as others.Heidegger uses terms like time-space, temporality and ecstases of time. The question of time is of the same kind as the question of Being. We are in the world and in time in the same way. We all have experience of time, how it sometimes goes quickly and sometimes very slowly. Time is not experienced as moments one after another. It is time-space. Time-space means that time has three dimensions and it consists of the ecstatical opening up of the future, the past and the present. In this article, I will open up the question how the traditional understanding of time and the ecstatic understanding of time understand children differently. What does it mean that little children live exclusively in the present? (shrink)
Robin Le Poidevin (2007) claims that we do form perceptual beliefs regarding order and duration based on our perception of events, but neither order nor duration are by themselves objects of perception. Temporal properties are discernible only when one first perceives their bearers, and temporal relations are discernible only when one first perceives their relata. The epistemic issue remains as to whether or not our perceptual beliefs about order and duration are formed on the causal basis of an event’s objective (...) order and duration. Le Poidevin raises this issue in the form of an epistemological puzzle of time perception, from which he derives the claim that the order and duration of events do not causally contribute to our perceptual beliefs about them. Since his view is motivated by a causal truthmaker principle for grounding knowledge, it also holds that perceptual beliefs about temporal features must be caused by the features themselves in order to count as knowledge. Given these theoretical commitments, there is a puzzle concerning how such perceptual beliefs could constitute knowledge of temporal properties. In response to Le Poidevin, I argue for an account according to which order and duration are objects of perception, causally contribute to our perceptual beliefs about them, and such beliefs are capable of counting as knowledge. I conclude by showing that, on my alternative account, the epistemological puzzle dissolves and his own solution to it fails. (shrink)
Introduction : The promise of time : subjectivity in Husserl's transcendental phenomenology -- The ritual of clarification -- A rehersal of difficulties -- The ghosts of Brentano-- The retention of time past -- The impossible puzzle -- The lives of Others -- The life of consciousness.
A battle over the politics (and philosophy) of time is a major part of what is at stake in the differences between three competing currents of contemporary philosophy: analytic philosophy, post-structuralist philosophy, and phenomenological philosophy. Avowed or tacit philosophies of time define representatives of each of these groups and also guard against their potential interlocutors. However, by bringing the temporal differences between these philosophical trajectories to the fore, and showing both their methodological presuppositions and their ethico-political implications, this (...) book begins a long overdue dialogue on their respective strengths and weaknesses. It argues that there are systemic temporal problems (chronopathologies) that afflict each, but especially the post-structuralist tradition (focusing on Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida and their prophetic future politics) and the analytic tradition (focusing on John Rawls and analytic methodology in general, particularly the tendency to oscillate between forms of atemporality and intuition-oriented “presentism”). What is required is a “middle-way” that does not treat the living-present and the pragmatic temporality associated with bodily coping as an epiphenomenon to be explained away as either a transcendental illusion (and as a reactive force that is ethically problematic), or as a subjective/psychological experience that is not ultimately real. (shrink)
"Only a wayfarer born under unruly stars would attempt to put into practice in our epoch of proliferating knowledge the Heraclitean dictum that `men who love wisdom must be inquirers into very many things indeed.'" Thus begins this remarkable interdisciplinary study of time by a master of the subject. And while developing a theory of "time as conflict," J. T. Fraser does offer "many things indeed"--an enormous range of ideas about matter, life, death, evolution, and value.
This volume provides a balanced set of reviews which introduce the central topics in the philosophy of time. This is the first introductory anthology on the subject to appear for many years; the contributors are distinguished, and two of the essays are specially written for this collection. In their introduction, the editors summarize the background to the debate, and show the relevance of issues in the philosophy of time for other branches of philosophy and for science. Contributors include (...) J.M.E. McTaggart, Arthur N. Prior, D.H. Mellor, Sydney Shoemaker, Graeme Forbes, Lawrence Sklar, Michael Dummett, David Lewis, W.H. Newton-Smith, and Anthony Quinton. (shrink)
Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way around? What does quantum mechanics really tell us about the world? In this important and accessible book, Huw Price throws fascinating new light on some of the great mysteries of modern physics, and connects them in a wholly original way. Price begins with the mystery of the arrow of time. Why, for example, does disorder always increase, as required (...) by the second law of thermodynamics? Price shows that, for over a century, most physicists have thought about these problems the wrong way. Misled by the human perspective from within time, which distorts and exaggerates the differences between past and future, they have fallen victim to what Price calls the "double standard fallacy": proposed explanations of the difference between the past and the future turn out to rely on a difference which has been slipped in at the beginning, when the physicists themselves treat the past and future in different ways. To avoid this fallacy, Price argues, we need to overcome our natural tendency to think about the past and the future differently. We need to imagine a point outside time -- an Archimedean "view from nowhen" -- from which to observe time in an unbiased way. Offering a lively criticism of many major modern physicists, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking, Price shows that this fallacy remains common in physics today -- for example, when contemporary cosmologists theorize about the eventual fate of the universe. The "big bang" theory normally assumes that the beginning and end of the universe will be very different. But if we are to avoid the double standard fallacy, we need to consider time symmetrically, and take seriously the possibility that the arrow of time may reverse when the universe recollapses into a "big crunch." Price then turns to the greatest mystery of modern physics, the meaning of quantum theory. He argues that in missing the Archimedean viewpoint, modern physics has missed a radical and attractive solution to many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum physics. Many consequences of quantum theory appear counterintuitive, such as Schrodinger's Cat, whose condition seems undetermined until observed, and Bell's Theorem, which suggests a spooky "nonlocality," where events happening simultaneously in different places seem to affect each other directly. Price shows that these paradoxes can be avoided by allowing that at the quantum level the future does, indeed, affect the past. This demystifies nonlocality, and supports Einstein's unpopular intuition that quantum theory describes an objective world, existing independently of human observers: the Cat is alive or dead, even when nobody looks. So interpreted, Price argues, quantum mechanics is simply the kind of theory we ought to have expected in microphysics -- from the symmetric standpoint. Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. In this exciting book, Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of time to look at the world from the fresh perspective of Archimedes' Point and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, the universe around us, and our own place in time. (shrink)
While experience tells us that time flows from the past to the present and into the future, a number of philosophical and physical objections exist to this commonsense view of dynamic time. In an attempt to make sense of this conundrum, philosophers and physicists are forced to confront fascinating questions, such as: Can effects precede causes? Can one travel in time? Can the expansion of the Universe or the process of measurement in quantum mechanics define a direction (...) in time? In this book, researchers from both physics and philosophy attempt to answer these issues in an interesting, yet rigorous way. This fascinating book will be of interest to physicists and philosophers of science and educated general readers interested in the direction of time. (shrink)
"A discussion of the historical development of our ideas of time as they relate to nature, human nature and society. . . . The excellence of The Discovery of Time is unquestionable."--Martin Lebowitz, The Kenyon Review.
This is a book about the philosophy of time, and in particular the philosophy of the great logician Kurt Godel (1906-1978). It evaluates Godel's attempt to show that Einstein has not so much explained time as explained it away. Unlike recent more technical studies, it focuses on the reality of time. The book explores Godel's conception of time, existence, and truth with special reference to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Frege. In the light of this investigation an (...) attempt is made to shed light on such issues as the precise sense in which Godel believed in the possibility of time travel, the relationship of the reality of time to the objectivity of temporal becoming, and the significance of time for human existence.This is a book about the philosophy of time, and in particular the philosophy of the great logician Kurt Godel (1906-1978). It evaluates Godel's attempt to show that Einstein has not so much explained time as explained it away. Unlike recent more technical studies, it focuses on the reality of time. The book explores Godel's conception of time, existence, and truth with special reference to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Frege. In the light of this investigation an attempt is made to shed light on such issues as the precise sense in which Godel believed in the possibility of time travel, the relationship of the reality of time to the objectivity of temporal becoming, and the significance of time for human existence. (shrink)
The literature on time perception is discussed. This is done with reference both to the ''cognitive-timer'' model for time estimation and to the subjective experience of apparent duration. Three assumptions underlying the model are scrutinized. I stress the strong interplay among attention, arousal, and time perception, which is at the base of the cognitive-timer model. It is suggested that a multiplicative function of two key components (the number of subjective time units and their size) should predict (...) apparent duration. Implications for other cognitive domains are drawn, and in particular an analogy is suggested between apparent duration and apparent movement. (shrink)
This paper examines various philosophical arguments to do with time travel. It argues that time travel has not been shown to be logically impossible. It then considers whether time travel would give rise to improbable strings of coincidences, or closed causal loops. Finally, it considers whether we could ever be justified in believing someone who claimed to be a time traveller, or whether we would always be more justified in believing that the claimant was either deluded (...) or trying to deceive us. For this last issue the Terry Gilliam film ‘Twelve Monkeys’ is used as an example. (shrink)
Introduction -- Newton's laws of motion versus nature's -- The continuity conundrum -- Continuity and linearity : confusion twice confounded -- From illusions of precision and reproducibility in natural science to delusions of normalcy in social science -- Mutability -- Laws of motion : natural law and questions of mutability -- Essential and intangible role of temporal factors : a detailed example -- Detaching Canada's East Coast Fishery from its history : causes and consequences -- Mishandling temporal factors : a (...) problem of method -- Social science and the problem of linearised time -- The dialectic of nature and its usefulness for the social sciences -- Placing Tlinear on life support -- Merchant's capital : key historic intangible of the East Coast Fishery -- The 800-pound gorilla. (shrink)
In this paper I consider two objections raised by Nick Smith (1997) to an argument against the probability of time travel given by Paul Horwich (1995, 1987). Horwich argues that time travel leads to inexplicable and improbable coincidences. I argue that one of Smith's objections fails, but that another is correct. I also consider an instructive way to defend Horwich's argument against the second of Smith's objections, but show that it too fails. I conclude that unless there is (...) something faulty in the conception of explanation implicit in Horwich's argument, time travel presents us with nothing that is inexplicable. (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
The conceptual and technical difficulties involved in creating a quantum theory of gravity have led some physicists to question, and even in some cases to deny, the reality of time. More surprisingly, this denial has found a sympathetic audience among certain philosophers of physics. What should we make of these wild ideas? Does it even make sense to deny the reality of time? In fact physical science has been chipping away at common sense aspects of time ever (...) since its inception. Section 1 offers a brief survey of the demolition process. Section 2 distinguishes a tempered from an extremely radical form that a denial of time might take, and argues that extreme radicalism is empirically self-refuting. Section 3 begins an investigation of the prospects for tempered radicalism in a timeless theory of quantum gravity. (shrink)
This paper searches for an explicit expression of the so-called problem of the direction of time. I argue that the traditional version of the problem is an artifact of a mistaken view in the foundations of statistical mechanics, and that to the degree it is a problem, it is really one general to all the special sciences. I then search the residue of the traditional problem for any remaining difficulty particular to time's arrow and find that there is (...) a special puzzle for some types of scientific realist. (shrink)
Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and (...) ‘time without change’. As we shall see, the two allegedly very different rival views are much less different than has been thought: their structure is extremely similar, their strategies are extremely similar, and they can both face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’ in the same way. Thus, I argue in favour of a certain kind of equivalence between the two views; I discuss a Strong and a Weak version of this claim; and I provide reasons for endorsing the former. I also discuss the parallel between this pair of views about the nature of time and another analogous pair of views: the bundle theory and the substratum theory about the nature of material objects, with respect to the problem with Identity of Indiscernibles. (shrink)
It is argued that the main problem with "the problem of the direction of time" is to figure out what the problem is or is supposed to be. Towards this end, an attempt is made to disentangle and to classify some of the many issues which have been discussed under the label of 'the direction of time'. Secondly, some technical apparatus is introduced in the hope of producing a sharper formulation of the issues than they have received in (...) the philosophical literature. Finally, some tentative suggestions about the central issues are offered. In particular, it is suggested that entropy and irreversibility are much less crucial to the central issues than most philosophers would have us believe. This suggestion is not made because of any firm conviction of its correctness but rather because it helps to focus the discussion on some basic but long neglected assumptions which underlie traditional approaches. (shrink)
In what follows, I suggest that, against most theories of time, there really is an actual present, a now, but that such an eternal moment cannot be found before or after time. It may even be semantically incoherent to say that such an eternal present exists since “it” is changeless and formless (presumably a dynamic chaos without location or duration) yet with creative potential. Such a field of near-infinite potential energy could have had no beginning and will have (...) no end, yet within it stirs the desire to experience that brings forth singularities, like the one that exploded into the Big Bang (experiencing itself through relative and relational spacetime). From the perspective of the eternal now of near-infinite possibilities (if such a sentence can be semantically parsed at all), there is only the timeless creative present, so the Big Bang did not happen some 13 billion years ago. Inasmuch as there is neither time past nor time future nor any time at all at the null point of forever, we must understand the Big Bang (and all other events) as taking place right here and now. In terms of the eternal now, the beginning is happening now and we just appeared (and are always just appearing) to witness it. The rest is all conscious construction; time and experience are so entangled, they need each other to exist. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to introduce philosophers of science to some recent philosophical discussions of the nature and origin of the direction of time. The essay is organized around books by Hans Reichenbach, Paul Horwich, and Huw Price. I outline their major arguments and treat certain critical points in detail. I speculate at the end about the ways in which the subject may continue to develop and in which it may connect with other areas of philosophy.
This chapter is concerned with the representation of time and change in classical (i.e., non-quantum) physical theories. One of the main goals of the chapter is to attempt to clarify the nature and scope of the so-called problem of time: a knot of technical and interpretative problems that appear to stand in the way of attempts to quantize general relativity, and which have their roots in the general covariance of that theory. The most natural approach to these questions (...) is via a consideration of more clear cases. So much of the chapter is given over to a discussion of the representation of time and change in other, better understood theories, starting with the most straightforward cases and proceeding through a consideration of cases that lead up to the features of general relativity that are responsible for the problem of time. (shrink)
Leibniz's philosophy of time, often seen as a precursor to current forms of relationalism and causal theories of time, has rightly earned the admiration of his more recent counterparts in the philosophy of science. In this article, I examine Leibniz's philosophy of time from a new perspective: the role that tense and non-tensed temporal properties/relations play in it. Specifically, I argue that Leibniz's philosophy of time is best (and non-anachronistically) construed as a non-tensed theory of (...) class='Hi'>time, one that dispenses with tensed temporal properties such as past, present, and future. In arguing for this thesis, I focus on the three facets of Leibniz's philosophy most relevant for evaluating his commitment to a B-theory of time: (1) the nature of change, (2) the reality of the future, and (3) the truth-conditions for tensed temporal statements. Despite prima facie evidence to the contrary, I show that a close examination of Leibniz's views on these topics provides compelling evidence for interpreting his philosophy of time as a B-theory of time. (shrink)
The frequencies with which photons pass through half-silvered mirrors in the forward direction of time is always approximately 1/2, whereas the frequencies with which photons pass through mirrors in the backward direction in time can be highly time-dependent. I argue that whether one should infer from this time-asymmetric phenomenon that time has an objective direction will depend on one's interpretation of quantum mechanics.
I discuss Julian Barbour's Machian theories of dynamics, and his proposal that a Machian perspective enables one to solve the problem of time in quantum geometrodynamics (by saying that there is no time!). I concentrate on his recent book, The End of Time (1999). A shortened version will appear in The British Journal for Philosophy of Science}.
A conclusion drawn after a conference devoted (in 1995) to the “arrow of time” was the following: “Indeed, it seems not a very great exaggeration to say that the main problem with “the problem of the direction of time” is to figure out exactly what the problem is supposed to be !” What does that mean? That more than 130 years after the work of Ludwig Boltzmann on the interpretation of irreversibility of physical phenomena, and that one century (...) after Einstein’s formulation of Special Relativity, we are still not sure what we mean when we talk of “time” or “arrow of time”. We shall try to show that one source of this difficulty is our tendency to confuse, at least verbally, time and becoming, i.e. the course of time and the arrow of time, two concepts that the formalisms of modern physics are careful to distinguish. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue with Ernst Cassirer that anticipation plays an essential part in the constitution of time, as seen from a transcendental perspective. Time is, as any transcendental concept, regarded as basically relational and subjective and only in a derivative way objective and indifferent to us. This entails that memory is prior to history, and that anticipation is prior to prediction. In this paper, I will give some examples in order to argue for this point. (...) Furthermore, I will also argue, again with Cassirer and contra Henri Bergson, that time should be seen as a functional unity, and not as a collection of three different things-in-themselves (past, present and future). (shrink)
Possibly the most fundamental scientific problem is the origin of time and causality. The inherent difficulty is that all scientific theories of origins and evolution consider the existence of time and causality as given. We tackle this problem by starting from the concept of self-organization, which is seen as the spontaneous emergence of order out of primordial chaos. Self-organization can be explained by the selective retention of invariant or consistent variations, implying a breaking of the initial symmetry exhibited (...) by randomness. In the case of time, we start from a random graph connecting primitive “events”. Selection on the basis of consistency eliminates cyclic parts of the graph, so that transitive closure can transform it into a partial order relation of precedence. Causality is assumed to be carried by causal “agents” which undergo a more traditional variation and selection, giving rise to causal laws that are partly contingent, partly necessary. (shrink)
Abstract This is a study of the figure of the ?last God? as it appears in Martin Heidegger's Beiträge zur Philosophie. In what sense is this figure related to philosophy of religion as traditionally understood? It is certainly closely related to the question of the relation of time and eternity. Heidegger's earliest accounts of the relation between time and eternity are examined, and Heidegger's reflections in the Beitrage are examined in the context of the accusation of ?theosophy? which (...) Heidegger levels against the most prominent of the ancient thinkers of time and eternity, namely Plotinus. (shrink)