An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Direction in our Concept of Time

Acta Analytica 36 (1):25-47 (2021)
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Abstract
This paper empirically investigates one aspect of the folk concept of time by testing how the presence or absence of directedness impacts judgements about whether there is time in a world. Experiment 1 found that dynamists, showed significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in dynamically directed worlds than in non-dynamical non-directed worlds. Comparing our results to those we describe in Latham et al., 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 judged that there was time in both growing block worlds and C-theory worlds, with no significant differences between the means. Experiment 2 found that when participants are only presented with non-dynamical worlds—namely, a directed world and a non-directed world—they report significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in B-theory worlds. However, the majority of participants 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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2020, 2021
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PhilPapers/Archive ID
LATAEI-2
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Archival date: 2020-04-14
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2020-04-14

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