On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes

Synthese 188 (1):85-116 (2012)
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Abstract

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.

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Matt Farr
Cambridge University

References found in this work

The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Direction of Time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Dover Publications.
The Unreality of Time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.

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