The Direction of Time

Edited by Sam Baron (Australian Catholic University)
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  1. The Time Flow Manifesto CHAPTER 3 REVERSIBILTY IN PHYSICS.Andrew Holster - manuscript
    The conventional claims and concepts of 5* - 8* are a hang-over from the classical theory of thermodynamics – i.e. thermodynamics based on a fully deterministic micro-theory, developed in the time of Boltzmann, Loschmidt and Gibbs in the late C19th. The classical theory has well-known ‘reversibility paradoxes’ when applied to the universe as a whole. But the introduction of intrinsic probabilities in quantum mechanics, and its consequent time asymmetry, fundamentally changes the picture.
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  2. Two-Dimensional Time.Michael Kowalik - manuscript
    Philosophical views about the logical structure of time are typically divided between proponents of A and B theories, based on McTaggart's A and B series. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology, I develop and defend McTaggart's thesis that the C series and the A series working together give a consistent description of temporal experience, provided that the two series are treated as distinct dimensions internal to time. In the proposed two-dimensional model, the C series expresses a nesting order of the (...)
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  3. The Empirical Content of the Epistemic Asymmetry.Douglas Kutach - manuscript
    I conduct an empirical analysis of the temporally asymmetric character of our epistemic access to the world by providing an experimental scheme whose results represent the core empirical content of the epistemic asymmetry. I augment this empirical content by formulating a gedanken experiment inspired by a proposal from David Albert. This second experiment cannot be conducted using any technology that is likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, but the expected results help us to state an important constraint on (...)
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  4. Matters of Time Directionality in Classical and Quantum Physics.Jean-Christophe Lindner - manuscript
    This report offers a modern perspective on the question of time directionality as it arises in a classical and quantum mechanical context, based on key developments in the field of gravitational physics. Important clarifications are achieved regarding, in particular, the concepts of time reversal, negative energy and causality. From this analysis emerges an improved understanding of the general relativistic concept of stress-energy of matter as being a manifestation of local variations in the energy density of zero-point vacuum fluctuations. Based on (...)
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  5. Programming Relativity and Gravity Via a Discrete Pixel Space in Planck Level Simulation Hypothesis Models.Malcolm J. Macleod - manuscript
    Outlined here is a simulation hypothesis approach that uses an expanding (the simulation clock-rate measured in units of Planck time) 4-axis hyper-sphere and mathematical particles that oscillate between an electric wave-state and a mass (unit of Planck mass per unit of Planck time) point-state. Particles are assigned a spin axis which determines the direction in which they are pulled by this (hyper-sphere pilot wave) expansion, thus all particles travel at, and only at, the velocity of expansion (the origin of $c$), (...)
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  6. Are the Notions of Past, Present and Future Compatible with the General Theory of Relativity?Daniel David Sega Neuman & Daniel Galviz - manuscript
    The notions of time and causality are revisited, as well as the A- and B-theory of time, in order to determine which theory of time is most compatible with relativistic spacetimes. By considering orientable spacetimes and defining a time-orientation, we formalize the concepts of a time-series in relativistic spacetimes; A-theory and B-theory are given mathematical descriptions within the formalism of General Relativity. As a result, in time-orientable spacetimes, the notions of events being in the future and in the past, which (...)
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  7. How Necessary is the Past? Reply to Campbell.Matthew H. Slater - manuscript
    Joe Campbell has identified an apparent flaw in van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument. It apparently derives a metaphysically necessary conclusion from what Campbell argues is a contingent premise: that the past is in some sense necessary. I criticise Campbell’s examples attempting to show that this is not the case (in the requisite sense) and suggest some directions along which an incompatibilist could reconstruct her argument so as to remain immune to Campbell’s worries.
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  8. Counterfactuals, Irreversible Laws and The Direction of Time.Terrance A. Tomkow - manuscript
    The principle of Information Conservation or Determinism is a governing assumption of physical theory. Determinism has counterfactual consequences. It entails that if the present were different, then the future would be different. But determinism is temporally symmetric: it entails that if the present were different, the past would also have to be different. This runs contrary to our commonsense intuition that what has happened in the future depends on the past in a way the past does not depend on the (...)
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  9. Thermodynamic Time Asymmetry.Craig Callender - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  10. From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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  11. The Cosmic Void.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. Oxford University Press.
    What exists at the fundamental level of reality? On the standard picture, the fundamental reality contains (among other things) fundamental matter, such as particles, fields, or even the quantum state. Non-fundamental facts are explained by facts about fundamental matter, at least in part. In this paper, I introduce a non-standard picture called the "cosmic void” in which the universe is devoid of any fundamental material ontology. Facts about tables and chairs are recovered from a special kind of laws that satisfy (...)
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  12. The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    If the Past Hypothesis underlies the arrows of time, what is the status of the Past Hypothesis? In this paper, I examine the role of the Past Hypothesis in the Boltzmannian account and defend the view that the Past Hypothesis is a candidate fundamental law of nature. Such a view is known to be compatible with Humeanism about laws, but as I argue it is also supported by a minimal non-Humean "governing'' view. Some worries arise from the non-dynamical and time-dependent (...)
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  13. Time, Flies, and Why We Can't Control the Past.Alison Fernandes - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time’s Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Cambridge, Mass.:
    David Albert explains why we can typically influence the future but not the past by appealing to an initial low-entropy state of the universe. And he argues that in the rare cases where we can influence the past, we cannot use this influence to knowingly gain future rewards: so it does not constitute control. I introduce an important new case in which Albert's account implies we can not only influence the past but control it: a case where our actions in (...)
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  14. Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World.Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.) - forthcoming - Harvard University Press.
    A collection of newly commissioned papers on themes from David Albert's Time and Chance (HUP, 2000), with replies by Albert. Confirmed contributors: Sean Carroll, Sidney Felder, Alison Fernandes, Mathias Frisch, Nick Huggett, Jenann Ismael, Doug Kutach, Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Chris Meacham, David Wallace, and Eric Winsberg.
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  15. Temporal Synechism: A Peircean Philosophy of Time.Jon Alan Schmidt - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-37.
    Charles Sanders Peirce is best known as the founder of pragmatism, but the name that he preferred for his overall system of thought was ‘‘synechism’’ because the principle of continuity was its central thesis. He considered time to be the paradigmatic example and often wrote about its various aspects while discussing other topics. This essay draws from many of those widely scattered texts to formulate a distinctively Peircean philosophy of time, incorporating extensive quotations into a comprehensive and coherent synthesis. Time (...)
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  16. What’s So Spatial About Time Anyway?Sam Baron & Peter W. Evans - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):159-183.
    Skow ([2007]), and much more recently Callender ([2017]), argue that time can be distinguished from space due to the special role it plays in our laws of nature: our laws determine the behaviour of physical systems across time, but not across space. In this work we assess the claim that the laws of nature might provide the basis for distinguishing time from space. We find that there is an obvious reason to be sceptical of the argument Skow submits for distinguishing (...)
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  17. Modelling Temporal Assertions for Global Directional Eliminativists.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2021 - Philosophers Imprint 21 (2):1-16.
    Global directional eliminativists deny that there is any global direction to time. This paper provides a way to understand everyday temporal assertions—assertions made outside the physics or metaphysics rooms, the truth of which appears to require that time has a global direction—on the assumption that global directional eliminativism is true.
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  18. An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Direction in our Concept of Time.Andrew James Latham, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (1):25-47.
    This paper empirically investigates one aspect of the folk concept of time by testing how the presence or absence of directedness impacts judgements about whether there is time in a world. Experiment 1 found that dynamists, showed significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in dynamically directed worlds than in non-dynamical non-directed worlds. Comparing our results to those we describe in Latham et al., we report that while ~ 70% of dynamists say there is time in B-theory worlds, (...)
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  19. Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  20. Welcome to the Fuzzy-Verse.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - New Scientist 247 (3298):36-40.
    We expect the laws of nature that describe the universe to be exact, but what if that isn't true? In this popular science article, I discuss the possibility that some candidate fundamental laws of nature, such as the Past Hypothesis, may be vague. This possibility is in conflict with the idea that the fundamental laws of nature can always and faithfully be described by classical mathematics. -/- [Bibliographic note: this article is featured on the magazine website under a different title (...)
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  21. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  22. C‐Theories of Time: On the Adirectionality of Time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass (12):1-17.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  23. Temporal Phenomenology: Phenomenological Illusion Versus Cognitive Error.Kristie Miller, Alex Holcombe & Andrew James Latham - 2020 - Synthese 197 (2):751-771.
    Temporal non-dynamists hold that there is no temporal passage, but concede that many of us judge that it seems as though time passes. Phenomenal Illusionists suppose that things do seem this way, even though things are not this way. They attempt to explain how it is that we are subject to a pervasive phenomenal illusion. More recently, Cognitive Error Theorists have argued that our experiences do not seem that way; rather, we are subject to an error that leads us mistakenly (...)
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  24. Beyond A-Theory and the Block Universe: A Non-Circular Derivation of “Before”, Change, and the Local Arrow of Time.Daniel Saudek - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):21-48.
    This article proposes a “third way” in the philosophy of time beyond A-theory and the block universe, in which time is understood as a purely local phenomenon. It does so by starting with simple metaphysical assumptions about substances and their properties. Based on these assumptions, the notions of “before”, of change, and of time as local quantification of change can be derived non-circularly, i.e. without invoking temporal concepts. I then proceed to prove the irreversibility of local time by showing that (...)
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  25. The Block Universe: A Philosophical Investigation in Four Dimensions.Pieter Thyssen - 2020 - Dissertation, KU Leuven
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to closely explore the nature of Einstein’s block universe and to tease out its implications for the nature of time and human freedom. Four questions, in particular, are central to this dissertation, and set out the four dimensions of this philosophical investigation: (1) Does the block universe view of time follow inevitably from the theory of special relativity? (2) Is there room for the passage of time in the block universe? (3) Can we (...)
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  26. Time Travel and Counterfactual Asymmetry.Alison Fernandes - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):1983-2001.
    We standardly evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms—by keeping the past fixed and holding the future open. Only future events depend counterfactually on what happens now. Past events do not. Conversely, past events are relevant to what abilities one has now in a way that future events are not. Lewis, Sider and others continue to evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms, even in cases of backwards time travel. I’ll argue that we need more temporally neutral methods. (...)
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  27. Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):195-211.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...)
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  28. Backwards Causation and the Chancy Past.John Cusbert - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):1-33.
    I argue that the past can be objectively chancy in cases of backwards causation, and defend a view of chance that allows for this. Using a case, I argue against the popular temporal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to times, and all chancy events must lie in the future. I then state and defend the causal view of chance, according to which chances are defined relative to causal histories, and all chancy events must lie causally (...)
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  29. Remembering Past Experiences: Episodic Memory, Semantic Memory and the Epistemic Asymmetry.Christoph Hoerl - 2018 - In Kourken Michaelian, Dorothea Debus & Denis Perrin (eds.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 313-328.
    There seems to be a distinctive way in which we can remember events we have experienced ourselves, which differs from the capacity to retain information about events that we can also have when we have not experienced those events ourselves but just learned about them in some other way. Psychologists and increasingly also philosophers have tried to capture this difference in terms of the idea of two different types of memory: episodic memory and semantic memory. Yet, the demarcation between episodic (...)
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  30. Fundamentality and Time’s Arrow.Christian Loew - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):483-500.
    The distribution of matter in our universe is strikingly time asymmetric. Most famously, the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that entropy tends to increase toward the future but not toward the past. But what explains this time-asymmetric distribution of matter? In this paper, I explore the idea that time itself has a direction by drawing from recent work on grounding and metaphysical fundamentality. I will argue that positing such a direction of time, in addition to time-asymmetric boundary conditions, enables a (...)
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  31. The Implicative Dimension of Time: From Bergson’s Duration to Deleuze’s Virtuality.Florian Vermeiren - 2018 - Pli 29.
  32. Weak Interactions: Asymmetry of Time or Asymmetry in Time?Jerzy Gołosz - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (1):19-33.
    The paper analyzes the philosophical consequences of the recent discovery of direct violations of the time–reversal symmetry of weak interactions. It shows that although we have here an important case of the time asymmetry of one of the fundamental physical forces which could have had a great impact on the form of our world with an excess of matter over antimatter, this asymmetry cannot be treated as the asymmetry of time itself but rather as an asymmetry of some specific physical (...)
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  33. Meso-Level Objects, Powers, and Simultaneous Causation.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2017 - Metaphysica 18 (1):107-125.
    I argue that Mumford and Anjum’s recent theory of simultaneous causation among powerful meso-level objects is problematic in several respects: it is based on a false dichotomy, it is incompatible with standard meso-level physics, it is explanatory deficient, and it threatens to render the powers metaphysics incoherent. Powers theorists are advised, therefore, to adopt a purely sequential conception of causation.
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  34. Backtracking Counterfactuals Revisited.Justin Khoo - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):841-910.
    I discuss three observations about backtracking counterfactuals not predicted by existing theories, and then motivate a theory of counterfactuals that does predict them. On my theory, counterfactuals quantify over a suitably restricted set of historical possibilities from some contextually relevant past time. I motivate each feature of the theory relevant to predicting our three observations about backtracking counterfactuals. The paper concludes with replies to three potential objections.
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  35. The Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence.Christian Loew - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):436-455.
    A certain type of counterfactual is thought to be intimately related to causation, control, and explanation. The time asymmetry of these phenomena therefore plausibly arises from a time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence. But why is counterfactual dependence time asymmetric? The most influential account of the time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence is David Albert’s account, which posits a new, time-asymmetric fundamental physical law, the so-called “past hypothesis.” Albert argues that the time asymmetry of counterfactual dependence arises from holding fixed the past (...)
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  36. A Blast From The Past.Kristie Miller - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 77:82-86.
    That we find the idea of travelling in time, and in particular travelling backwards in time, fascinating, is evidenced by the plethora of new science fictions shows depicting time travel that hit our TV screens in 2016. I love time travel shows, and I can hardly keep up. In almost all cases these shows depict what philosophers call inconsistent time travel stories: stories that commit what my colleague Nick Smith (The University of Sydney) calls the second time around fallacy. These (...)
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  37. Time Reversal Invariance in Quantum Mechanics.Reza Moulavi Ardakani - 2017 - Dissertation, Texas Tech University
    Symmetries have a crucial role in today’s physics. In this thesis, we are mostly concerned with time reversal invariance (T-symmetry). A physical system is time reversal invariant if its underlying laws are not sensitive to the direction of time. There are various accounts of time reversal transformation resulting in different views on whether or not a given theory in physics is time reversal invariant. With a focus on quantum mechanics, I describe the standard account of time reversal and compare it (...)
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  38. Space, Time, and Irreversibility.Gustavo E. Romero - 2017 - MÈTODE Science Studies Journal 7:201-209.
    Scientific philosophy is that which is informed by science. It uses exact tools such as logic and mathematics and provides a framework for scientific activity to solve more general questions about nature, the language we use to describe it, and the knowledge we obtain thanks to it. Many of the scientific philosophy theories can be proven and evaluated using scientific evidence. In this paper, I focus on showing how several classical philosophy topics, such as the nature of space and time (...)
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  39. Chance and Temporal Asymmetry, Edited by Alastair Wilson: Oxford: Routledge, 2014, Pp. Vii + 297, £45. [REVIEW]Craig Callender - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):209-210.
  40. Vor dem Starten ankommen. Über Zeitreisen und Warp-Antriebe.Kay Herrmann - 2016 - Universitätsverlag Chemnitz.
    Time travel and superluminal travel are two of mankind's dreams. They inspire our imagination and provide material for bizarre stories. -/- A work on the subject of time travel and superluminal travel forces us to re-examine our concept of "time". The complexity and the contradictory nature this subject makes it difficult to be more precise about "time". On its deepest subjective side, time is a means of perception, a biological rhythm, a social phenomenon in terms of our collective understanding of (...)
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  41. Review of Tim Maudlin, "Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time". [REVIEW]Matt Farr - 2015 - Philosophy in Review 35 (4):208-210.
    A review of Tim Maudlin's "Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time".
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  42. The Unrealities of Time.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2015 - Dialogue 54 (1):25-44.
    Is time flowing? A-theorists say yes, B-theorists say no. But both take time to be real. It means that B-theorists accept that time might be real, even if lacking a property usually ascribed to it. In this paper, I want to ask what are the different properties usually ascribed to time in order to draw the list of different possible kinds of realism and anti-realism about time. As we will see, there are three main kinds of anti-realism. I will claim (...)
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  43. Lebensweltliche Und Physikalische Zeit.Gregor Schiemann - 2015 - In G. Hartung (ed.), Mensch und Zeit. Springer. pp. 207-225.
    Zur Aufklärung der vielschichtigen Beziehungen zwischen Lebenswelt und Physik diskutiere ich die für die beiden Erfahrungsweisen jeweils typischen Konzeptualisierungen von Zeit. Nach einer Einleitung beginne ich mit der Analyse der subjektiven und objektiven lebensweltlichen Zeitformen. Anschließend erörtere ich im dritten Abschnitt das Verhältnis von lebensweltlichen und physikalischen Elementen der Weltzeit. Vier physikalische Zeitverständnisse stelle ich in ihrer Differenz zur lebensweltlichen Auffassung im vierten Abschnitt dar. Historisch hat sich die generelle Tendenz zur Vergrößerung dieser Differenz fortgesetzt, ohne dass schon Instanzen zur (...)
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  44. Causal Decision Theory and the Fixity of the Past.Arif Ahmed - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):665-685.
    Causal decision theory (CDT) cares only about the effects of a contemplated act, not its causes. The article constructs a case in which CDT consequently recommends a bet that the agent is certain to lose, rather than a bet that she is certain to win. CDT is plainly giving wrong advice in this case. It therefore stands refuted. 1 The Argument2 The Argument in More Detail2.1 The betting mechanism2.2 Soft determinism2.3 The content of P 2.4 The argument again3 The Descriptive (...)
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  45. Is the Past a Matter of Chance?Antony Eagle - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. U.K: Oxford University Press. pp. 126-158.
    This volume sets the agenda for future work on time and chance, which are central to theemerging sub-field of metaphysics of science.
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  46. Algebraic Collisions: Challenging Descartes with Cartesian Tools.Scott J. Hyslop - 2014 - Foundations of Science 19 (1):35-51.
    Algebraic equations in the tradition of Descartes and Frans Van Schooten accompany Christiaan Huygens’s early work on collision, which later would be reorganized and presented as De motu corporum ex percussione. Huygens produced the equations at the same time as his announcement of his rejection of Descartes’s rules of collision. Never intended for publication, the equations appear to have been used as preliminary scaffolding on which to build his critiques of Descartes’s physics. Additionally, Huygens used algebraic equations of this form (...)
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  47. About Appearance of the Irreversibility.Igor V. Lebed - 2014 - Open Journal of Fluid Dynamics 4 (3):298-320.
    The inevitability of arising in equations of kinetics and hydrodynamics irreversibility not contained in original equations of classic mechanics is substantiated. It is established that transfer of information about the direction of system evolution from initial conditions to resulting equations is the consequence of losing information about the position of an individual particle in space, which takes place at roughening description. It is shown that the roughening with respect to impact parameters of colliding particles is responsible for appearance of the (...)
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  48. On Mellor and the Future Direction of Time.Lisa Leininger - 2014 - Analysis 74 (1):148-157.
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  49. Do Brains Have an Arrow of Time?Ryan Smith - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (2):265-275.
    There is a persisting tension that exists between the block universe conception of time in modern physics and philosophy and the conception of time that stems naturally from experience, and entropic asymmetries have been proposed to explain this tension. This article argues that as biochemical processes in the brain depend upon spontaneous entropy increases in the forward-time direction, this should provide an entropic basis for the unidirectionality of psychological processes. As this view does not depend on considerations of abstract information (...)
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  50. The Identification of the Intrinsic Nature of Time.Vincent Vesterby - 2014
    For millennia people have speculated about the nature of time—without success. Time plays a role with all processes and events studied by all the disciplines. It is reported here that the existence of time is a direct consequence of the existence of space. Space exists, and it continues to exist. Space is there, and it continues to be there. Space exists as place, the three-dimensional place that matter can occupy. The three-dimensional extension of spatial-place is measured with a ruler of (...)
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