An empirical investigation of the role of direction in our concept of time

Acta Analytica:1-23 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
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 report that while ~70% of dynamists say there is time in B-theory worlds, only ~45% say there is time in C-theory worlds. Thus, while the presence of directedness makes dynamists more inclined to say there is time in a world, a substantial subpopulation of dynamists judge that there is time in non-directed worlds. By contrast, a majority of non-dynamists (those who deny that the actual world contains an A-series) judged that there was time in both growing block worlds (78.1%—80.5%) and C-theory worlds (70.7%—75.6%), with no significant differences between these judgements. Experiment 2 found that when participants are only presented with non-dynamical worlds—namely, a directed (B-theory) world and a non-directed (C-theory) world—they report significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in B-theory worlds. However, the majority of participants (67.2%—73.8%) still judge that there is time in C-theory worlds. We conclude that while the presence of directedness bolsters judgements that there is time, most people do not judge it to be necessary for time.
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Archival date: 2020-04-14
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2020-04-14

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