An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Direction in our Concept of Time

Acta Analytica 36 (1):25-47 (2021)
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Abstract

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, only ~ 45% say there is time in C-theory worlds. Thus, while the presence of directedness makes dynamists more inclined to say there is time in a world, a substantial subpopulation of dynamists judge that there is time in non-directed worlds. By contrast, a majority of non-dynamists judged that there was time in both growing block worlds and C-theory worlds, with no significant differences between the means. Experiment 2 found that when participants are only presented with non-dynamical worlds—namely, a directed world and a non-directed world—they report significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in B-theory worlds. However, the majority of participants still judge that there is time in C-theory worlds. We conclude that while the presence of directedness bolsters judgements that there is time, most people do not judge it to be necessary for time.

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Author Profiles

Andrew James Latham
Aarhus University
Kristie Miller
University of Sydney
James Norton
University of Iceland

References found in this work

The Unreality of Time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
What Makes Time Special?Craig Callender - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Objective Becoming.Bradford Skow - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
Time, Tense, and Causation.Michael Tooley - 1997 - Oxford University Press.

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