Surreal Time and Ultratasks

Review of Symbolic Logic 9 (4):836-847 (2016)
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Abstract
This paper suggests that time could have a much richer mathematical structure than that of the real numbers. Clark & Read (1984) argue that a hypertask (uncountably many tasks done in a finite length of time) cannot be performed. Assuming that time takes values in the real numbers, we give a trivial proof of this. If we instead take the surreal numbers as a model of time, then not only are hypertasks possible but so is an ultratask (a sequence which includes one task done for each ordinal number—thus a proper class of them). We argue that the surreal numbers are in some respects a better model of the temporal continuum than the real numbers as defined in mainstream mathematics, and that surreal time and hypertasks are mathematically possible.
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Archival date: 2018-08-15
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