About the confusion between the course of time and the arrow of time

Foundations of Science 12 (3):203-221 (2007)
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Abstract

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.

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