In Search of Time Lost: Asymmetry of Time and Irreversibility in Natural Processes [Book Review]

Foundations of Science 25 (3):597-645 (2020)
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In this survey, we discuss and analyze foundational issues of the problem of time and its asymmetry from a unified standpoint. Our aim is to discuss concisely the current theories and underlying notions, including interdisciplinary aspects, such as the role of time and temporality in quantum and statistical physics, biology, and cosmology. We compare some sophisticated ideas and approaches for the treatment of the problem of time and its asymmetry by thoroughly considering various aspects of the second law of thermodynamics, nonequilibrium entropy, entropy production, and irreversibility. The concept of irreversibility is discussed carefully and reanalyzed in this connection to clarify the concept of entropy production, which is a marked characteristic of irreversibility. The role of boundary conditions in the distinction between past and future is discussed with attention in this context. The paper also includes a synthesis of past and present research and a survey of methodology. It also analyzes some open questions in the field from a critical perspective.



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