The Direction of Time

Edited by Sam Baron (Australian Catholic University)
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  1. The Time Flow Manifesto CHAPTER 3 REVERSIBILTY IN PHYSICS.Andrew Holster - manuscript
    The conventional claims and concepts of 5* - 8* are a hang-over from the classical theory of thermodynamics – i.e. thermodynamics based on a fully deterministic micro-theory, developed in the time of Boltzmann, Loschmidt and Gibbs in the late C19th. The classical theory has well-known ‘reversibility paradoxes’ when applied to the universe as a whole. But the introduction of intrinsic probabilities in quantum mechanics, and its consequent time asymmetry, fundamentally changes the picture.
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  2. The Empirical Content of the Epistemic Asymmetry.Douglas Kutach - manuscript
    I conduct an empirical analysis of the temporally asymmetric character of our epistemic access to the world by providing an experimental scheme whose results represent the core empirical content of the epistemic asymmetry. I augment this empirical content by formulating a gedanken experiment inspired by a proposal from David Albert. This second experiment cannot be conducted using any technology that is likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, but the expected results help us to state an important constraint on (...)
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  3. Matters of Time Directionality in Quantum Physics.Jean-Christophe Lindner - manuscript
    This is the second of two reports concerning the issue of time directionality in fundamental theoretical physics. Here a fresh perspective is offered on several aspects of the problem of the interpretation of quantum theory which centers around a reconsideration of the significance of the requirement of time reversal symmetry. Following a critical review of early time-symmetric formulations of quantum mechanics, it is argued that a more consistent approach must overcome the contradictions of the orthodox interpretation that follow from its (...)
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  4. Programming Relativity and Gravity Via a Discrete Pixel Space in Planck Level Simulation Hypothesis Models.Malcolm J. Macleod - manuscript
    Outlined here is a simulation hypothesis approach that uses an expanding (the simulation clock-rate measured in units of Planck time) 4-axis hyper-sphere and mathematical particles that oscillate between an electric wave-state and a mass (unit of Planck mass per unit of Planck time) point-state. Particles are assigned a spin axis which determines the direction in which they are pulled by this (hyper-sphere pilot wave) expansion, thus all particles travel at, and only at, the velocity of expansion (the origin of $c$), (...)
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  5. Are the Notions of Past, Present and Future Compatible with the General Theory of Relativity?Daniel David Sega Neuman & Daniel Galviz - manuscript
    The notions of time and causality are revisited, as well as the A- and B-theory of time, in order to determine which theory of time is most compatible with relativistic spacetimes. By considering orientable spacetimes and defining a time-orientation, we formalize the concepts of a time-series in relativistic spacetimes; A-theory and B-theory are given mathematical descriptions within the formalism of General Relativity. As a result, in time-orientable spacetimes, the notions of events being in the future and in the past, which (...)
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  6. Counterfactuals, Irreversible Laws and The Direction of Time.Terrance A. Tomkow - manuscript
    The principle of Information Conservation or Determinism is a governing assumption of physical theory. Determinism has counterfactual consequences. It entails that if the present were different, then the future would be different. But determinism is temporally symmetric: it entails that if the present were different, the past would also have to be different. This runs contrary to our commonsense intuition that what has happened in the future depends on the past in a way the past does not depend on the (...)
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  7. What’s So Spatial About Time Anyway?Sam Baron & Peter W. Evans - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy077.
    Skow ([2007]), and much more recently Callender ([2017]), argue that time can be distinguished from space due to the special role it plays in our laws of nature: our laws determine the behaviour of physical systems across time, but not across space. In this work we assess the claim that the laws of nature might provide the basis for distinguishing time from space. We find that there is an obvious reason to be sceptical of the argument Skow submits for distinguishing (...)
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  8. The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    If the Past Hypothesis underlies the arrows of time, what is the status of the Past Hypothesis? In this paper, I examine the role of the Past Hypothesis in the Boltzmannian account and defend the view that the Past Hypothesis is a candidate fundamental law of nature. Such a view is known to be compatible with Humeanism about laws, but as I argue it is also supported by a minimal non-Humean "governing'' view. Some worries arise from the non-dynamical and time-dependent (...)
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  9. From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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  10. The Cosmic Void.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. Oxford University Press.
    What exists at the fundamental level of reality? On the standard picture, the fundamental reality contains (among other things) fundamental matter, such as particles, fields, or even the quantum state. Non-fundamental facts are explained by facts about fundamental matter, at least in part. In this paper, I introduce a non-standard picture called the "cosmic void” in which the universe is devoid of any fundamental material ontology. Facts about tables and chairs are recovered from a special kind of laws that satisfy (...)
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  11. Modelling Temporal Assertions for Global Directional Eliminativists.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Philosophers Imprint.
    Global directional eliminativists deny that there is any global direction to time. This paper provides a way to understand everyday temporal assertions—assertions made outside the physics or metaphysics rooms, the truth of which appears to require that time has a global direction—on the assumption that global directional eliminativism is true.
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  12. An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Direction in Our Concept of Time.Andrew James Latham, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-23.
    This paper empirically investigates one aspect of the folk concept of time (amongst US residents), by testing how the presence or absence of directedness impacts judgements about whether there is time in a world. Experiment 1 found that dynamists (those who think the actual world contains an A-series), showed significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in dynamically directed (growing block) worlds than in non-dynamical non-directed (C-theory) worlds. Comparing our results to those of Latham et al. (ms), we (...)
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  13. Welcome to the Fuzzy-Verse.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - New Scientist 247 (3298):36-40.
    We expect the laws of nature that describe the universe to be exact, but what if that isn't true? In this popular science article, I discuss the possibility that some candidate fundamental laws of nature, such as the Past Hypothesis, may be vague. This possibility is in conflict with the idea that the fundamental laws of nature can always and faithfully be described by classical mathematics. -/- [Bibliographic note: this article is featured on the magazine website under a different title (...)
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  14. Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  15. C‐Theories of Time: On the Adirectionality of Time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass (12):1-17.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  16. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    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 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 article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  17. Temporal Phenomenology: Phenomenological Illusion Versus Cognitive Error.Kristie Miller, Alex Holcombe & Andrew James Latham - 2020 - Synthese 197 (2):751-771.
    Temporal non-dynamists hold that there is no temporal passage, but concede that many of us judge that it seems as though time passes. Phenomenal Illusionists suppose that things do seem this way, even though things are not this way. They attempt to explain how it is that we are subject to a pervasive phenomenal illusion. More recently, Cognitive Error Theorists have argued that our experiences do not seem that way; rather, we are subject to an error that leads us mistakenly (...)
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  18. The Block Universe: A Philosophical Investigation in Four Dimensions.Pieter Thyssen - 2020 - Dissertation, KU Leuven
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to closely explore the nature of Einstein’s block universe and to tease out its implications for the nature of time and human freedom. Four questions, in particular, are central to this dissertation, and set out the four dimensions of this philosophical investigation: (1) Does the block universe view of time follow inevitably from the theory of special relativity? (2) Is there room for the passage of time in the block universe? (3) Can we (...)
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  19. Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):195-211.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...)
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  20. A Blast From The Past.Kristie Miller - 2017 - The Philosophers' Magazine 77:82-86.
    That we find the idea of travelling in time, and in particular travelling backwards in time, fascinating, is evidenced by the plethora of new science fictions shows depicting time travel that hit our TV screens in 2016. I love time travel shows, and I can hardly keep up. In almost all cases these shows depict what philosophers call inconsistent time travel stories: stories that commit what my colleague Nick Smith (The University of Sydney) calls the second time around fallacy. These (...)
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  21. Time Reversal Invariance in Quantum Mechanics.Reza Moulavi Ardakani - 2017 - Dissertation, Texas Tech University
    Symmetries have a crucial role in today’s physics. In this thesis, we are mostly concerned with time reversal invariance (T-symmetry). A physical system is time reversal invariant if its underlying laws are not sensitive to the direction of time. There are various accounts of time reversal transformation resulting in different views on whether or not a given theory in physics is time reversal invariant. With a focus on quantum mechanics, I describe the standard account of time reversal and compare it (...)
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  22. Space, Time, and Irreversibility.Gustavo E. Romero - 2017 - MÈTODE Science Studies Journal 7:201-209.
    Scientific philosophy is that which is informed by science. It uses exact tools such as logic and mathematics and provides a framework for scientific activity to solve more general questions about nature, the language we use to describe it, and the knowledge we obtain thanks to it. Many of the scientific philosophy theories can be proven and evaluated using scientific evidence. In this paper, I focus on showing how several classical philosophy topics, such as the nature of space and time (...)
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  23. Vor dem Starten ankommen. Über Zeitreisen und Warp-Antriebe.Kay Herrmann - 2016 - Universitätsverlag Chemnitz.
    Time travel and superluminal travel are two of mankind's dreams. They inspire our imagination and provide material for bizarre stories. -/- A work on the subject of time travel and superluminal travel forces us to re-examine our concept of "time". The complexity and the contradictory nature this subject makes it difficult to be more precise about "time". On its deepest subjective side, time is a means of perception, a biological rhythm, a social phenomenon in terms of our collective understanding of (...)
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  24. Is the Past a Matter of Chance?Antony Eagle - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. U.K: Oxford University Press. pp. 126-158.
    This volume sets the agenda for future work on time and chance, which are central to theemerging sub-field of metaphysics of science.
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  25. About Appearance of the Irreversibility.Igor V. Lebed - 2014 - Open Journal of Fluid Dynamics 4 (3):298-320.
    The inevitability of arising in equations of kinetics and hydrodynamics irreversibility not contained in original equations of classic mechanics is substantiated. It is established that transfer of information about the direction of system evolution from initial conditions to resulting equations is the consequence of losing information about the position of an individual particle in space, which takes place at roughening description. It is shown that the roughening with respect to impact parameters of colliding particles is responsible for appearance of the (...)
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  26. The Identification of the Intrinsic Nature of Time.Vincent Vesterby - 2014
    For millennia people have speculated about the nature of time—without success. Time plays a role with all processes and events studied by all the disciplines. It is reported here that the existence of time is a direct consequence of the existence of space. Space exists, and it continues to exist. Space is there, and it continues to be there. Space exists as place, the three-dimensional place that matter can occupy. The three-dimensional extension of spatial-place is measured with a ruler of (...)
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  27. A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    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’ (...)
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  28. Causation and Its Basis in Fundamental Physics.Douglas Kutach - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
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  29. In Search of the Arrow of Time. Temporal Asymmetries in Leibniz.Jean-Pascal Anfray - 2012 - Studia Leibnitiana 44 (1):81-106.
    This paper examines the problem of the basis of time’s asymmetry. I hold the view that there is an objective temporal asymmetry in Leibniz’s philosophy of time. I closely examine various asymmetrical phenomena, which can be candidates as an explanation of time’s asymmetry: (1) causation; (2) the flow of time; (3) the modal difference between past and present; (4) counterfactual dependence; and, finally (5) the asymmetry of the world’s progress and its direction and (6) of the progress of rational creatures. (...)
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  30. On A- and B-Theoretic Elements of Branching Spacetimes.Matt Farr - 2012 - Synthese 188 (1):85-116.
    This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...)
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  31. The Universal Arrow of Time.Oleg Kupervasser, Hrvoje Nikolić & Vinko Zlatić - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (9):1165-1185.
    Statistical physics cannot explain why a thermodynamic arrow of time exists, unless one postulates very special and unnatural initial conditions. Yet, we argue that statistical physics can explain why the thermodynamic arrow of time is universal, i.e., why the arrow points in the same direction everywhere. Namely, if two subsystems have opposite arrow-directions at a particular time, the interaction between them makes the configuration statistically unstable and causes a decay towards a system with a universal direction of the arrow of (...)
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  32. A Study of Time in Modern Physics.Peter W. Evans - 2011 - Dissertation,
    This thesis is a study of the notion of time in modern physics, consisting of two parts. Part I takes seriously the doctrine that modern physics should be treated as the primary guide to the nature of time. To this end, it offers an analysis of the various conceptions of time that emerge in the context of various physical theories and, furthermore, an analysis of the relation between these conceptions of time and the more orthodox philosophical views on the nature (...)
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  33. The Asymmetry of Influence.Douglas Kutach - 2011 - In Craig Callender (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford University Press.
    An explanation of our seeming inability to influence the past.
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  34. Backtracking Influence.Douglas Kutach - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):55-71.
    Backtracking influence is influence that zigzags in time. For example, backtracking influence exists when an event E_1 makes an event E_2 more likely by way of a nomic connection that goes from E_1 back in time to an event C and then forward in time to E_2. I contend that in our local region of spacetime, at least, backtracking influence is redundant in the sense that any existing backtracking influence exerted by E_1 on E_2 is equivalent to E_1's temporally direct (...)
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  35. Aristotle on the Order and Direction of Time.John Bowin - 2009 - Apeiron 42 (1):49-78.
    This paper defends Aristotle’s project of deriving the order of time from the order of change in Physics 4.11, against the objection that it contains a vicious circularity arising from the assumption that we cannot specify the direction of a change without invoking the temporal relations of its stages. It considers and rejects a solution to this objection proposed by Ursula Coope, and proposes an alternative solution. It also considers the related problem of how the temporal orders and directions derived (...)
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  36. Bilking the Bilking Argument.Rebecca Roache - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):605-611.
    Is it conceptually possible for an event, L, to be the cause of an earlier event, E? Some writers have employed the so-called bilking argument to attempt to show that the idea of such backwards causation is incoherent . According to this argument, if we are presented with what someone claims to be a case of backwards causation, it would be possible in principle to wait for E to occur, and then intervene to prevent the occurrence of L, thus demonstrating (...)
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  37. Do Time Travelers Suffer From Paradoxes?Daisuke Kachi - 2007 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 15 (2):95-98.
    In this paper I give consideration to some apparent impossibilities for the time travelers to the past. After criticizing the views of D. Lewis and K. Vihvelin, I will show in what sense they are really impossible.
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  38. Can We Describe Possible Circumstances in Which We Would Have.Graham Oppy - 2004 - Ratio 17 (1):68-83.
    This paper investigates the question whether we could have reason to believe that time is two-dimensional. I connect discussion of this question to discussion of the question whether we could have reason to believe that there has been a global time freeze.
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  39. Tensed Ontology Based on Simple Partial Logic.Daisuke Kachi - 2002 - Proceedings of Ninth International Symposium on Temporal Representation and Reasoning: TIME-02:141-145.
    Simple partial logic (=SPL) is, broadly speaking, an extensional logic which allows for the truth-value gap. First I give a system of propositional SPL by partializing classical logic, as well as extending it with several non-classical truth-functional operators. Second I show a way based on SPL to construct a system of tensed ontology, by representing tensed statements as two kinds of necessary statements in a linear model that consists of the present and future worlds. Finally I compare that way with (...)
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  40. The Computable Universe: From Prespace Metaphysics to Discrete Quantum Mechanics.Martin Leckey - 1997 - Dissertation, Monash University
    The central motivating idea behind the development of this work is the concept of prespace, a hypothetical structure that is postulated by some physicists to underlie the fabric of space or space-time. I consider how such a structure could relate to space and space-time, and the rest of reality as we know it, and the implications of the existence of this structure for quantum theory. Understanding how this structure could relate to space and to the rest of reality requires, I (...)
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  41. Principles of Physical Time Directionality and Fallacies of the Conventional Philosophy.Andrew Holster - manuscript
    These are the first two chapters from a monograph (The Time Flow Manifesto, Holster, 2013-14; unpublished), defending the concepts of time directionality and time flow in physics and naturalistic metaphysics, against long-standing attacks from the ‘conventional philosophy of physical time’. This monograph sets out to disprove twelve specific “fallacies of the conventional philosophy”, stated in the first section below. These are the foundational principles of the conventional philosophy, which developed in the mid-C20th from positivist-inspired studies. The first chapter begins by (...)
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  42. Reading the Past in the Present.Nick Huggett - unknown
    Why is our knowledge of the past so much more ‘expansive’ (to pick a suitably vague term) than our knowledge of the future, and what is the best way to capture the difference(s) (i.e., in what sense is knowledge of the past more ‘expansive’)? One could reasonably approach these questions by giving necessary conditions for different kinds of knowledge, and showing how some were satisfied by certain propositions about the past, and not by corresponding propositions about the future. I take (...)
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