What’s So Spatial about Time Anyway?

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):159-183 (2021)
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Abstract

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 time from space: Skow fails to pay sufficient attention to the relationship between the dynamical laws and the antecedent conditions required to establish a complete solution from the laws. Callender’s more sophisticated arguments in favour of distinguishing time from space by virtue of the laws of nature presents a much stronger basis to draw the distinction. By developing a radical reading of Callender’s view we propose a novel approach to differentiating time and space that we call temporal perspectivalism. This is the view according to which the difference between time and space is a function of the agentive perspective.

Author Profiles

Sam Baron
University of Melbourne
Peter W. Evans
University of Queensland

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