In a dynamic world, mechanisms allowing prediction of future situations can provide a selective advantage. We suggest that memory systems differ in the degree of flexibility they offer for anticipatory behavior and put forward a corresponding taxonomy of prospection. The adaptive advantage of any memory system can only lie in what it contributes for future survival. The most flexible is episodic memory, which we suggest is part of a more general faculty of mental time travel that allows us not (...) only to go back in time, but also to foresee, plan, and shape virtually any specific future event. We review comparative studies and find that, in spite of increased research in the area, there is as yet no convincing evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. We submit that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms. A theater metaphor serves as an analogy for the kind of mechanisms required for effective mental time travel. We propose that future research should consider these mechanisms in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action. We maintain that the emergence of mental time travel in evolution was a crucial step towards our current success. (shrink)
When Newton articulated the concept of absolute time in his treatise, Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), along with its correlate, absolute space, he did not present it as anything controversial. Whereas his references to attraction are accompanied by the self- protective caveats that typically signal an expectation of censure, the Scholium following Principia’s definitions is free of such remarks, instead elaborating his ideas as clarifications of concepts that, in some manner, we already possess. This is (...) not surprising. The germ of the concept emerged naturally from astronomers’ findings, and variants of it had already been formulated by other seventeenth century thinkers. Thus the novelty of Newton’s absolute time lay mainly in the use to which he put it. (shrink)
Real Time II extends and evolves D.H. Mellor's classic exploration of the philosophy of time, Real Time . This wholly new book answers such basic metaphysical questions about time as: how do past, present and future differ, how are time and space related, what is change, is time travel possible? His Real Time dominated the philosophy of time for fifteen years. This book will do the same for the next twenty years.
Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way around? What does quantum mechanics really tell us about the world? In this important and accessible book, Huw Price throws fascinating new light on some of the great mysteries of modern physics, and connects them in a wholly original way. Price begins with the mystery of the arrow of time. Why, for example, does disorder always increase, as required (...) by the second law of thermodynamics? Price shows that, for over a century, most physicists have thought about these problems the wrong way. Misled by the human perspective from within time, which distorts and exaggerates the differences between past and future, they have fallen victim to what Price calls the "double standard fallacy": proposed explanations of the difference between the past and the future turn out to rely on a difference which has been slipped in at the beginning, when the physicists themselves treat the past and future in different ways. To avoid this fallacy, Price argues, we need to overcome our natural tendency to think about the past and the future differently. We need to imagine a point outside time -- an Archimedean "view from nowhen" -- from which to observe time in an unbiased way. Offering a lively criticism of many major modern physicists, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking, Price shows that this fallacy remains common in physics today -- for example, when contemporary cosmologists theorize about the eventual fate of the universe. The "big bang" theory normally assumes that the beginning and end of the universe will be very different. But if we are to avoid the double standard fallacy, we need to consider time symmetrically, and take seriously the possibility that the arrow of time may reverse when the universe recollapses into a "big crunch." Price then turns to the greatest mystery of modern physics, the meaning of quantum theory. He argues that in missing the Archimedean viewpoint, modern physics has missed a radical and attractive solution to many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum physics. Many consequences of quantum theory appear counterintuitive, such as Schrodinger's Cat, whose condition seems undetermined until observed, and Bell's Theorem, which suggests a spooky "nonlocality," where events happening simultaneously in different places seem to affect each other directly. Price shows that these paradoxes can be avoided by allowing that at the quantum level the future does, indeed, affect the past. This demystifies nonlocality, and supports Einstein's unpopular intuition that quantum theory describes an objective world, existing independently of human observers: the Cat is alive or dead, even when nobody looks. So interpreted, Price argues, quantum mechanics is simply the kind of theory we ought to have expected in microphysics -- from the symmetric standpoint. Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. In this exciting book, Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of time to look at the world from the fresh perspective of Archimedes' Point and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, the universe around us, and our own place in time. (shrink)
This paper is a brief (and hopelessly incomplete) non-standard introduction to the philosophy of space and time. It is an introduction because I plan to give an overview of what I consider some of the main questions about space and time: Is space a substance over and above matter? How many dimensions does it have? Is space-time fundamental or emergent? Does time have a direction? Does time even exist? Nonetheless, this introduction is not standard because (...) I conclude the discussion by presenting the material with an original spin, guided by a particular understanding of fundamental physical theories, the so-called primitive ontology approach. (shrink)
Two radically different views about time are possible. According to the first, the universe is three dimensional. It has a past and a future, but that does not mean it is spread out in time as it is spread out in the three dimensions of space. This view requires that there is an unambiguous, absolute, cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. According to the second view about time, the universe is four dimensional. It is spread out in both (...) space and time - in space-time in short. Special and general relativity rule out the first view. There is, according to relativity theory, no such thing as an unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. However, we have every reason to hold that both special and general relativity are false. Not only does the historical record tell us that physics advances from one false theory to another. Furthermore, elsewhere I have shown that we must interpret physics as having established physicalism - in so far as physics can ever establish anything theoretical. Physicalism, here, is to be interpreted as the thesis that the universe is such that some unified "theory of everything" is true. Granted physicalism, it follows immediately that any physical theory that is about a restricted range of phenomena only, cannot be true, whatever its empirical success may be. It follows that both special and general relativity are false. This does not mean of course that the implication of these two theories that there is no unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" at each instant is false. It still may be the case that the first view of time, indicated at the outset, is false. Are there grounds for holding that an unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" does exist, despite special and general relativity, both of which imply that it does not exist? There are such grounds. Elsewhere I have argued that, in order to solve the quantum wave/particle problem and make sense of the quantum domain we need to interpret quantum theory as a fundamentally probabilistic theory, a theory which specifies how quantum entities - electrons, photons, atoms - interact with one another probabilistically. It is conceivable that this is correct, and the ultimate laws of the universe are probabilistic in character. If so, probabilistic transitions could define unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "nows" at each instant. It is entirely unsurprising that special and general relativity have nothing to say about the matter. Both theories are pre-quantum mechanical, classical theories, and general relativity in particular is deterministic. The universe may indeed be three dimensional, with a past and a future, but not spread out in four dimensional space-time, despite the fact that relativity theories appear to rule this out. These considerations, finally, have implications for views about the arrow of time and free will. (shrink)
Continuists maintain that, aside from their distinct temporal orientations, episodic memory and future-oriented mental time travel (FMTT) are qualitatively continuous. Discontinuists deny this, arguing that, in addition to their distinct temporal orientations, there are qualitative metaphysical or epistemological differences between episodic memory and FMTT. This chapter defends continuism by responding both to arguments for metaphysical discontinuism, based on alleged discontinuities between episodic memory and FMTT at the causal, intentional, and phenomenological levels, and to arguments for epistemological discontinuism, based on (...) alleged discontinuities with respect to the epistemic openness of the past and future, the directness or indirectness of our knowledge of past and future, and immunity to error through misidentification. The chapter concludes by sketching a positive argument for continuism. (shrink)
I distinguish paradoxes and hypodoxes among the conundrums of time travel. I introduce ‘hypodoxes’ as a term for seemingly consistent conundrums that seem to be related to various paradoxes, as the Truth-teller is related to the Liar. In this article, I briefly compare paradoxes and hypodoxes of time travel with Liar paradoxes and Truth-teller hypodoxes. I also discuss Lewis’ treatment of time travel paradoxes, which I characterise as a Laissez Faire theory of time travel. Time (...) travel paradoxes are impossible according to Laissez Faire theories, while it seems hypodoxes are possible. (shrink)
In this chapter we examine the tendency to view future-oriented mental time travel as a unitary faculty that, despite task-driven surface variation, ultimately reduces to a common phenomenological state. We review evidence that FMTT is neither unitary nor beholden to episodic memory: Rather, it is varied both in its memorial underpinnings and experiential realization. We conclude that the phenomenological diversity characterizing FMTT is dependent not on the type of memory activated during task performance, but on the kind of subjective (...) temporality associated with the memory in play. (shrink)
This is a short, nontechnical introduction to features of time in classical and relativistic physics and their representation in the four-dimensional geometry of spacetime. Topics discussed include: the relativity of simultaneity in special and general relativity; the ‘twin paradox’ and differential aging effects in special and general relativity; and time travel in general relativity.
This introductory chapter reviews research on future-oriented mental time travel to date (the past), provides an overview of the contents of the book (the present), and enumerates some possible research directions suggested by the latter (the future).
Or better: time asymmetry in thermodynamics. Better still: time asymmetry in thermodynamic phenomena. “Time in thermodynamics” misleadingly suggests that thermodynamics will tell us about the fundamental nature of time. But we don’t think that thermodynamics is a fundamental theory. It is a theory of macroscopic behavior, often called a “phenomenological science.” And to the extent that physics can tell us about the fundamental features of the world, including such things as the nature of time, we (...) generally think that only fundamental physics can. On its own, a science like thermodynamics won’t be able to tell us about time per se. But the theory will have much to say about everyday processes that occur in time; and in particular, the apparent asymmetry of those processes. The pressing question of time in the context of thermodynamics is about the asymmetry of things in time, not the asymmetry of time, to paraphrase Price ( , ). I use the title anyway, to underscore what is, to my mind, the centrality of thermodynamics to any discussion of the nature of time and our experience in it. The two issues—the temporal features of processes in time, and the intrinsic structure of time itself—are related. Indeed, it is in part this relation that makes the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics so interesting. This, plus the fact that thermodynamics describes a surprisingly wide range of our ordinary experience. We’ll return to this. First, we need to get the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics out on the table. (shrink)
This paper outlines some key issues that arise when agency and temporality are considered jointly, from the perspective of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, and action theory. I address the difference between time simpliciter and time as represented as it figures in phenomena like intentional binding, goal-oriented action plans, emulation systems, and ‘temporal agency’. An examination of Husserl’s account of time consciousness highlights difficulties in generalizing his account to include a substantive notion of agency, a weakness inherited by (...) explanatory projects like neurophenomenology. I conclude by sketching a project analogous to the projects in neurophenomenology, based on Thompson’s naïve action theory. (shrink)
This paper is an enquiry into the logical, metaphysical, and physical possibility of time travel understood in the sense of the existence of closed worldlines that can be traced out by physical objects. We argue that none of the purported paradoxes rule out time travel either on grounds of logic or metaphysics. More relevantly, modern spacetime theories such as general relativity seem to permit models that feature closed worldlines. We discuss, in the context of Gödel's infamous argument for (...) the ideality of time based on his eponymous spacetime, what this apparent physical possibility of time travel means. Furthermore, we review the recent literature on so-called time machines, i.e., of devices that produce closed worldlines where none would have existed otherwise. Finally, we investigate what the implications of the quantum behaviour of matter for the possibility of time travel might be and explicate in what sense time travel might be possible according to leading contenders for full quantum theories of gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity. (shrink)
Michael Tooley presents a major new philosophical theory of the nature of time, offering a powerful alternative to the traditional "tensed" and recent "tenseless" accounts of time. He argues for a dynamic conception of the universe, in which past, present, and future are not merely subjective features of experience. He claims that the past and the present are real, while the future is not. Tooley's approach accounts for time in terms of causation. He therefore claims that the (...) key to understanding the dynamic nature of the universe is to understand the nature of causation. Time, Tense, and Causation is a landmark treatment of one of the oldest and most perplexing intellectual problems, and will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in the character of time. (shrink)
In this chapter we argue that our concept of time is a functional concept. We argue that our concept of time is such that time is whatever it is that plays the time role, and we spell out what we take the time role to consist in. We evaluate this proposal against a number of other analyses of our concept of time, and argue that it better explains various features of our dispositions as speakers (...) and our practices as agents. (shrink)
McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion. But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A-theory and the B-theory of time. I show how McTaggart’s argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
Thinking about time travel is an entertaining way to explore how to understand time and its location in the broad conceptual landscape that includes causation, fate, action, possibility, experience, and reality. It is uncontroversial that time travel towards the future exists, and time travel to the past is generally recognized as permitted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, though no one knows yet whether nature truly allows it. Coherent time travel stories have added flair to (...) traditional debates over the metaphysical status of the past, the reality of temporal passage, and the existence of free will. Moreover, plausible models of time travel and time machines can be used to investigate the subtle relation between space-time structure and causality. -/- It surveys some philosophical issues concerning time travel and should serves as a quick introduction. It includes a new and improved way to define a time machine. (shrink)
This is a study of the nature of time. In it, redeploying an argument first presented by McTaggart, the author argues that although time itself is real, tense is not. He accounts for the appearance of the reality of tense - our sense of the passage of time, and the fact that our experience occurs in the present - by showing how time is indispensable as a condition of action. Time itself is further analysed, and (...) Dr Mellor gives answers to most of the metaphysical questions it provokes, concerning the relation of time to space, the dissection of time, and its relation to change and causation. (shrink)
This essay aims to provide a self-contained introduction to time in relativistic cosmology that clarifies both how questions about the nature of time should be posed in this setting and the extent to which they have been or can be answered empirically. The first section below recounts the loss of Newtonian absolute time with the advent of special and general relativity, and the partial recovery of absolute time in the form of cosmic time in some (...) cosmological models. Section II considers the beginning and end of time in a broader class of models in which there is not an analog of Newtonian absolute time. As we will see, reasonable physical assumptions imply that the universe is finite to the past, and Section III turns to consideration of the “beginning” itself. We critically review conventional wisdom that a “singularity” reveals flaws in general relativity and briefly assess ways of avoiding the singularity. (shrink)
The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
The Importance of Time is a unique work that reveals the central role of the philosophy of time in major areas of philosophy. The first part of the book consists of symposia on two of the most important works in the philosophy of time over the past decade: Michael Tooley's Time, Tense, and Causation and D.H. Mellor's Real Time II. What characterizes these essays, and those that follow, are the interchanges between original papers, with original (...) responses to them by commentators. The wide range of interrelated topics covered in this book is one of its most distinctive features. The book is divided into six parts: I. Book Symposia, II. Temporal Becoming, III. The Phenomenology of Time, IV. God, Time and Foreknowledge, V. Time and Physical Objects, and VI. Time and Causation, and contains 24 essays by leading philosophers in the various areas: Laurie Paul, Quentin Smith, L. Nathan Oaklander, Hugh Mellor, John Perry, William Lane Craig, Brian Leftow, Ned Markosian, Ronald C. Hoy, Michael Tooley, Storrs McCall, David Hunt, Mark Hinchliff, Robin Le Poidevin, Iain Martel and Eric M. Rubenstein. (shrink)
On Heidegger's Being and Time is an outstanding exploration of Heidegger's most important work by two major philosophers. Simon Critchley argues that we must see Being and Time as a radicalization of Husserl's phenomenology, particularly his theories of intentionality, categorial intuition, and the phenomenological concept of the a priori. This leads to a reappraisal and defense of Heidegger's conception of phenomenology. In contrast, Reiner Schürmann urges us to read Heidegger 'backward', arguing that his later work is the key (...) to unravelling Being and Time . Through a close reading of Being and Time Schürmann demonstrates that this work is ultimately aporetic because the notion of Being elaborated in his later work is already at play within it. This is the first time that Schürmann's renowned lectures on Heidegger have been published. The book concludes with Critchley's reinterpretation of the importance of authenticity in Being and Time . Arguing for what he calls an 'originary inauthenticity', Critchley proposes a relational understanding of the key concepts of the second part of Being and Time : death, conscience and temporality. (shrink)
It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect (...) to moral discourse and moral reality. This new position retains the advantages of theories like moral realism and naturalism, yet is immune to many of their difficulties. (shrink)
This chapter discusses the notion that time passes, along with two major families of objections to this notion. The first kind of objection concerns the rate at which time passes; it has often been suggested that no coherent rate can be given. The alleged problems for the standard view, that time passes at one second per second, are discussed. A positive suggestion is then made for a way of making sense of the claim that time passes (...) at one second per second, based on the notion of ‘stretching’ properties such as ‘being future’ across a time series made up of events. The second family of objections concerns the experience of time passing. Two arguments are discussed, one of which concerns epistemological issues while the other concerns the intentionality of experience. Overall the arguments from experience weigh against the passage of time. (shrink)
In this chapter I argue that there can be no mental representation of objective ‘tensed’ features of reality of the kind that might be thought to occur when we experience time passing or think of times as past, present or future, whether or not such features are part of mind-independent reality. This, I hold, has important consequences for metaphysics; but (as will be most relevant to this volume) it is also likely to have important consequences for a correct semantics (...) for tense. In a nutshell, no correct semantics for tense can treat what philosophers call ‘A-properties’ (such as real pastness, presentness or futurity) as semantic values. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that time representation should be classified as agent dependent motor-intentional, agent dependent conceptual and agent independent conceptual. I employ this classification to explain certain features of psychological and cultural time and discuss how biological time constrains such features. The paper argues that motor-intentional time is a crucial psychophysical link that bridges the gap between purely biochemical cycles and conceptual-intentional representations of time, and proposes that the best way to understand the (...) transitions from biological to psychological time is to characterize them as phase transitions that emerge on the global properties of a system regardless of specific aspects of the underlying processing units. With respect to hierarchical models of time, the paper claims that although the hierarchical organization of constraints limits the number of possible instantiations of temporal information, informational phases have principles of organization of their own. Based on these proposals, I conclude that since information assembles itself into the temporal behavior of an agent, it is more accurate to call the principles governing such a behavioral unity a phase, rather than a hierarchy. To support these theses, the paper draws upon research in biology, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
This chapter approaches the hierarchical theory of time from a philosophical point of view. It is based on a critical reading of Fraser's work through Neo-Kantian eyes. The chapter reflects upon the methodological constraints that apply to a natural philosophy of time. At the same time, it attempts to resolve some tensions between this theory's content and its epistemological and ontological foundations as stated by Fraser himself. The chapter begins with a discussion on the essential characteristics of (...) the Neo-Kantian point of view. Next, it enumerates the main points of contention between Fraser's and the Neo-Kantian point of view, but also the logical tensions inherent in Fraser's position. This is followed by a critical review of Fraser's "working concept" of truth and of the extended umwelt principle. Some consequences for the hierarchical theory of time are proposed. (shrink)
[Time, the fundamental dimension of our existence, has fascinated artists, philosophers, and scientists of every culture and every century. All of us can remember a moment as a child when time became a personal reality, when we realized what a "year" was, or asked ourselves when "now" happened. Common sense says time moves forward, never backward, from cradle to grave. Nevertheless, Einstein said that time is an illusion. Nature's laws, as he and Newton defined them, describe (...) a timeless, deterministic universe within which we can make predictions with complete certainty. In effect, these great physicists contended that time is reversible and thus meaningless. (shrink)
Ulrich Meyer defends a novel theory about the nature of time, and argues against the consensus view that time and space are fundamentally alike. He presents the first comprehensive defense of a 'modal' account, which emphasizes the similarities between times and possible worlds in modal logic, and is easily reconciled with the theory of relativity.
Among the most important questions in the metaphysics of science are "What are the natures of fundamental laws and chances?" and "What grounds the direction of time?" My aim in this paper is to examine some connections between these questions, discuss two approaches to answering them and argue in favor of one. Along the way I will raise and comment on a number of issues concerning the relationship between physics and metaphysics and consequences for the subject matter and methodology (...) of metaphysics. (shrink)
In this book and the companion volume The Tenseless Theory of Time: A Critical Examination, Craig undertakes the first thorough appraisal of the arguments for and against the tensed and tenseless theories of time.
What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time (according to the theory) can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This paper critiques (...) the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the causal reading requires time-reversal-related models to be understood as representing distinct possible worlds, and on such a reading causal relations are compatible with time reversal symmetry. Second, I argue that the former approach does however raise serious sceptical problems regarding the causal relations of paradigm causal processes, and as a consequence there are overwhelming reasons to prefer a non-causal reading of time reversal whereby time reversal leaves causal relations invariant. On the non-causal reading, time reversal symmetry poses no significant conceptual nor epistemological problems for causation. -/- . (shrink)
Evidence that led to the hypothesis of a backwards referral of conscious sensory experiences in time, and the experimental tests of its predictions, is summarized. Criticisms of the data and the conclusion by Churchland that this hypothesis is untenable are analysed and found to be based upon misconceptions and faulty evaluations of facts and theory. Subjective referral in time violates no neurophysiological principles or data and is compatible with the theory of "mental" and "physical" correspondence.
Personal time, as opposed to external time, has a certain role to play in the correct account of death and immortality. But saying exactly what that role is, and what role remains for external time, is not straightforward. I formulate and defend accounts of death and immortality that specify these roles precisely.
Darwin and feminism: preliminary investigations into a possible alliance -- Darwin and the ontology of life -- The Nature of culture -- Law, justice, and the future -- The Time of violence: Derrida, deconstruction, and value -- Drucilla Cornell, identity, and the "Evolution" of Politics -- Philosophy, knowledge, and the future -- Deleuze, Bergson, and the virtual -- Merleau-Ponty, Bergson, and the question of ontology -- The thing -- Prosthetic objects -- Identity, sexual difference, and the future -- The (...)Time of thought -- The Force of sexual difference -- (Inhuman) forces: power, pleasure, and desire -- The future of female sexuality. (shrink)
The empirically documented fact is that people’s preferences are time -biased. The main aim of this paper is to analyse in which sense do time -biases violate the requirements of rationality, as many authors assume. I will demonstrate that contrary to many influential views in psychology, economy and philosophy it is very difficult to find why the bias toward the near violates the requirements rationality. I will also show why the bias toward the future violates the requirements of (...) rationality in a very basic sense. (shrink)
This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or pastness and do not (...) merely ascribe relations of earlier than or simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light rays, rigid bodies, and the like. (shrink)
Thomas Sattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
We aim to show that Kant’s theory of time is consistent by providing axioms whose models validate all synthetic a priori principles for time proposed in the Critique of Pure Reason. In this paper we focus on the distinction between time as form of intuition and time as formal intuition, for which Kant’s own explanations are all too brief. We provide axioms that allow us to construct ‘time as formal intuition’ as a pair of continua, (...) corresponding to time as ‘inner sense’ and the external representation of time as a line Both continua are replete with infinitesimals, which we use to elucidate an enigmatic discussion of ‘rest’ in the Metaphysical foundations of natural science. Our main formal tools are Alexandroff topologies, inverse systems and the ring of dual numbers. (shrink)
This book, ten years in the making, is the first factual and conceptual history of Martin Heidegger's _Being and Time_, a key twentieth-century text whose background until now has been conspicuously absent. Through painstaking investigation of European archives and private correspondence, Theodore Kisiel provides an unbroken account of the philosopher's early development and progress toward his masterwork. Beginning with Heidegger's 1915 dissertation, Kisiel explores the philosopher's religious conversion during the bleak war years, the hermeneutic breakthrough in the war-emergency semester of (...) 1919, the evolution of attitudes toward his phenomenological mentor, Edmund Husserl, and the shifting orientations of the three drafts of _Being and Time_. Discussing Heidegger's little-known reading of Aristotle, as well as his last-minute turn to Kant and to existentialist terminology, Kisiel offers a wealth of narrative detail and documentary evidence that will be an invaluable factual resource for years to come. A major event for philosophers and Heidegger specialists, the publication of Kisiel's book allows us to jettison the stale view of _Being and Time_ as a great book "frozen in time" and instead to appreciate the erratic starts, finite high points, and tentative conclusions of what remains a challenging philosophical "path.". (shrink)
On one popular view, the general covariance of gravity implies that change is relational in a strong sense, such that all it is for a physical degree of freedom to change is for it to vary with regard to a second physical degree of freedom. At a quantum level, this view of change as relative variation leads to a fundamentally timeless formalism for quantum gravity. Here, we will show how one may avoid this acute ‘problem of time’. Under our (...) view, duration is still regarded as relative, but temporal succession is taken to be absolute. Following our approach, which is presented in more formal terms in, it is possible to conceive of a genuinely dynamical theory of quantum gravity within which time, in a substantive sense, remains. 1 Introduction1.1 The problem of time1.2 Our solution2 Understanding Symmetry2.1 Mechanics and representation2.2 Freedom by degrees2.3 Voluntary redundancy3 Understanding Time3.1 Change and order3.2 Quantization and succession4 Time and Gravitation4.1 The two faces of classical gravity4.2 Retaining succession in quantum gravity5 Discussion5.1 Related arguments5.2 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
Mind, it has recently been argued1, is a thoroughly temporal phenomenon: so temporal, indeed, as to defy description and analysis using the traditional computational tools of cognitive scientific understanding. The proper explanatory tools, so the suggestion goes, are instead the geometric constructs and differential equations of Dynamical Systems Theory. I consider various aspects of the putative temporal challenge to computational understanding, and show that the root problem turns on the presence of a certain kind of causal web: a web that (...) involves multiple components (both inner and outer) linked by chains of continuous and reciprocal causal influence. There is, however, no compelling route from such facts about causal and temporal complexity to the radical anti- computationalist conclusion. This is because, interactive complexities notwithstanding, the computational approach provides a kind of explanatory understanding that cannot (I suggest) be recreated using the alternative resources of pure Dynamical Systems Theory. In particular, it provides a means of mapping information flow onto causal structure -- a mapping that is crucial to understanding the distinctive kinds of flexibility and control characteristic of truly mindful engagements with the world. Where we confront especially complex interactive causal webs, however, it does indeed become harder to isolate the syntactic vehicles required by the computational approach. Dynamical Systems Theory, I conclude, may play a vital role in recovering such vehicles from the burgeoning mass of real-time interactive complexity. (shrink)
This paper proposes a view of time that takes passage to be the most basic temporal notion, instead of the usual A-theoretic and B-theoretic notions, and explores how we should think of a world that exhibits such a genuine temporal passage. It will be argued that an objective passage of time can only be made sense of from an atemporal point of view and only when it is able to constitute a genuine change of objects across time. (...) This requires that passage can flip one fact into a contrary fact, even though neither side of the temporal passage is privileged over the other. We can make sense of this if the world is inherently perspectival. Such an inherently perspectival world is characterized by fragmentalism, a view that has been introduced by Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’ (2005). Unlike Fine's tense-theoretic fragmentalism though, the proposed view will be a fragmentalist view based in a primitive notion of passage. (shrink)
It has been suggested that there is something worrisome, puzzling, or incomprehensible about the sorts of causal loops sometimes involved in backwards time travel. This paper disentangles two distinct puzzles and evaluates whether they provide us reason to find backwards time travel incomprehensible, inexplicable, or otherwise worrisome. The paper argues that they provide no such reason.
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ (...)time symmetry’ of fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: if ‘ time symmetry’ is understood as the time -reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and if ‘ time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)