Time in physics

Abstract

No one conception of time emerges from a study of physics. As science changes—over time or through varying interpretations at a time—our conception of physical time changes. Each of these changes and resulting theories of time has been the subject of philosophical scrutiny, so there are many philosophical controversies internal to particular physical theories. For instance, the move to special relativity radically transformed our understanding of time, but it also gave rise to debates about the nature of simultaneity within the theory itself. Nevertheless, there are some philosophical puzzles that appear at every stage of the development of physics. Perhaps most generally, there is the perennial question, Is there a ‘gap’ between the conception of time as found in physics and the conception of time as found in philosophy?

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