Time Remains

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):663-705 (2016)
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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.

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Karim Thebault
University of Bristol


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