Did time have a beginning?

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):237 – 258 (2008)
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Abstract

By analyzing the meaning of time I argue, without endorsing operationalism, that time is necessarily related to physical systems which can serve as clocks. This leads to a version of relationism about time which entails that there is no time 'before' the universe. Three notions of metaphysical 'time' (associated, respectively, with time as a mathematical concept, substantivalism, and modal relationism) which might support the idea of time 'before' the universe are discussed. I argue that there are no good reasons to believe that metaphysical 'time' can be identified with what we ordinarily call time. I also briefly review and criticize the idea of time 'before' the big bang, associated with some recent speculative models in modern cosmology, and I argue that if the big bang model is a (roughly) correct description of our universe, then the best current answer to the question in the title is that time did have a beginning

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Henrik Zinkernagel
University of Granada

Citations of this work

On the physical basis of cosmic time.Svend E. Rugh & Henrik Zinkernagel - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):1-19.
Trans-Planckian philosophy of cosmology.Mike D. Schneider - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 90 (C):184-193.
On the physical basis of cosmic time.Svend E. Rugh & Henrik Zinkernagel - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (1):1-19.

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Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
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Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

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