While experience tells us that time flows from the past to the present and into the future, a number of philosophical and physical objections exist to this commonsense view of dynamic time. In an attempt to make sense of this conundrum, philosophers and physicists are forced to confront fascinating questions, such as: Can effects precede causes? Can one travel in time? Can the expansion of the Universe or the process of measurement in quantum mechanics define a direction in time? In (...) this book, researchers from both physics and philosophy attempt to answer these issues in an interesting, yet rigorous way. This fascinating book will be of interest to physicists and philosophers of science and educated general readers interested in the direction of time. (shrink)
I S.Steven F. Savitt - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50:19-24.details
Richard Arthur and I proposed that the present in Minkowski spacetime should be thought of as a small causal diamond. That is, given two timelike separated events p and q, with p earlier than q, they suggested that the present is the set I+ ∩ I-. Mauro Dorato presents three criticisms of this proposal. I rebut all three and then offer two more plausible criticisms of the Arthur/Savitt proposal. I argue that these criticisms also fail.
The distinction between presentism and eternalism is usually sought in some formula like ‘Only presently existing things exist’ or ‘Past, present, and future events are equally real’. I argue that ambiguities in the copula prevent these slogans from distinguishing significant opposed positions. I suggest in addition that one can find a series of significant distinctions if one takes spacetime structure into account. These presentisms and eternalisms are not contradictory. They are complementary elements of a complete naturalistic philosophy of time.
I propose that the passage of time is the successive occurrence of sets of simultaneous events (assuming classical or Newtonian spacetime structure as background). This conception of passage, I claim, is lean enough to survive the criticisms of passage-deniers while robust enough to satisfy the needs of passage-affirmers. I undertake to describe and defend this minimal notion of passage.
Mark Hinchliff concludes a recent paper, "The Puzzle of Change," with a section entitled "Is the Presentist Refuted by the Special Theory of Relativity?" His answer is "no." I respond by arguing that presentists face great difficulties in merely stating their position in Minkowski spacetime. I round up some likely candidates for the job and exhibit their deficiencies.
In this paper I argue that the clash of the Sellars’ two images is particularly acute in the case of time. In Time and the World Order Sellars seems embarked on a quest to locate manifest time in Minkowski spacetime. I suggest that he should have argued for the replacement of manifest time with the local, path-dependent time of the “scientific image”, just as he suggests that manifest objects must be replaced by their scientific counterparts.
In a recent book, Asymmetries in Time, Paul Horwich presents a systematic account of various temporal asymmetries, including a neo-Reichenbachian account of the (apparent) fact that we know more about the past than the future, the epistemological time asymmetry. I find some obscurities in Horwich's presentation, however, and I argue that when his view is understood in a way that I shall propose, it does represent an advance on Reichenbach's, but it fails to vindicate Horwich's "main point...that our special knowledge (...) of the past derives from the fork asymmetry. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam argued that the special theory of relativity shows that there can be no temporal becoming. Howard Stein replied by defining a becoming relation in Minkowski spacetime. Clifton and Hogarth extended and sharpened Stein’s results. Game over? To the contrary, it has been argued that the Stein-Clifton-Hogarth theorems actually support Putnam’s contention, in that if an apparently minimal condition is put on the becoming relation, then these theorems entail that the becoming relation must be the universal relation. I recount (...) this dialectic in some detail and then try to define and defend a becoming relation based on a present that does indeed consist of more than one point or event but still satisfies the sort of objectivity requirements that Stein-Clifton-Hogarth require of a becoming relation. This present is not a global hyperplane or surface, however; it is a local structure. I close with some methodological remarks about the relation between the present and the real and about the importance of the specious or psychological present. (shrink)
Some elementary properties of tachyons are described and then it is argued that the claim that (T) Tachyons exist, is incompatible with the truth of the Special Theory of Relativity (STR). First it is argued that from T, STR, and the negation of the principle that (Pl) Effect never precedes cause, one can derive a paradoxical conclusion, one of the so-called "causal paradoxes". An obvious response is to affirm (Pl), but then it is argued that (Pl) and (T) entail that (...) STR is false. (shrink)