The aim of this interdisciplinary study is to reconstruct the evolution of our changing conceptions of time in the light of scientific discoveries. It will adopt a new perspective and organize the material around three central themes, which run through our history of time reckoning: cosmology and regularity; stasis and flux; symmetry and asymmetry. It is the physical criteria that humans choose - relativistic effects and time-symmetric equations or dynamic-kinematic effects and asymmetric conditions - that establish our views on the nature of time. This book will defend a dynamic rather than a static view of time.
Friedel Weinert is professor of philosophy at Bradford University. He is the author of The Scientist as Philosopher (Springer 2004); Copernicus, Darwin and Freud (Blackwell 2008); the editor of Laws of Nature (de Gruyter 1995) and co-editor of Compendium of Quantum Physics (Springer 2009) and Evolution 2.0 (Springer 2012).
1 Evolving Conceptions of Time in the Light of Scientific Discoveries.- Introduction.- 2 Time and Cosmology.- Greek Astronomy.- Plato and Aristotle.- The Need for Physical Time.- Kant's Cosmology.- Time and Causality.- The Topology of Time.- The Metric of Time.- Some Advances in the Theory of Time in Classical Physics.- Time in Modern Physics.- The Measurement of Time in Quantum Mechanics.- Why Measurement?.- On Permissible Inferences from Scientific Theories.- 3 Flux and Stasis.-Parmenidean Stasis and Heraclitean Flux.- Idealism About Time.- Realism About Time.- Relationism About Time.- The Theory of Relativity and the Block Universe.- Minkowski Spacetime and the Block Universe.- An Alternative Representation of Minkowski Space-Time.- Space-Time and Invariance.- The General Theory of Relativity.- Substantivalism and Relationism About Space-Time.- 4 Symmetry and Asymmetry.- Fundamental Equations and Human Experience.- Entropy and Order.- Reversibility and Irreversibility.- The Role of Boundary Conditions.- The Emergence of Time.- Time in Basic Quantum Mechanics.- Time Travel Scenarios.- 5 Conclusion.- Bibliography.- Index.