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Matt Farr
Cambridge University
  1. Conventionalism About Time Direction.Matt Farr - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    In what sense is the direction of time a matter of convention? In 'The Direction of Time', Hans Reichenbach makes brief reference to parallels between his views about the status of time’s direction and his conventionalism about geometry. In this article, I: (1) provide a conventionalist account of time direction motivated by a number of Reichenbach’s claims in the book; (2) show how forwards and backwards time can give equivalent descriptions of the world despite the former being the ‘natural’ direction (...)
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  2. Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (1):177-204.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...)
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  3. Explaining Temporal Qualia.Matt Farr - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):1-24.
    Experiences of motion and change are widely taken to have a ‘flow-like’ quality. Call this ‘temporal qualia’. Temporal qualia are commonly thought to be central to the question of whether time objectively passes: (1) passage realists take temporal passage to be necessary in order for us to have the temporal qualia we do; (2) passage antirealists typically concede that time appears to pass, as though our temporal qualia falsely represent time as passing. I reject both claims and make the case (...)
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  4. C‐Theories of Time: On the Adirectionality of Time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass (12):1-17.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  5.  98
    Perceiving Direction in Directionless Time.Matt Farr - 2021 - In Kasia M. Jaszczolt (ed.), Understanding Human Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Modern physics has provided a range of motivations for holding time to be fundamentally undirected. But how does a temporally adirectional metaphysics, or ‘C-theory’ of time, fit with the time of experience? In this chapter, I look at what kind of problem human time poses for C-theories. First, I ask whether there is a ‘hard problem’ of human time: whether it is in principle impossible to have the kinds of experience we do in a temporally adirectional world. Second I consider (...)
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  6. What’s so Special About Initial Conditions? Understanding the Past Hypothesis in Directionless Time.Matt Farr - 2021 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking the Concept of Laws of Nature: Natural order in the Light of Contemporary Science. Springer.
    It is often said that the world is explained by laws of nature together with initial conditions. But does that mean initial conditions don’t require further explanation? And does the explanatory role played by initial conditions entail or require that time has a preferred direction? This chapter looks at the use of the ‘initialness defence’ in physics, the idea that initial conditions are intrinsically special in that they don’t require further explanation, unlike the state of the world at other times. (...)
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  7. Temporal Experience, Temporal Passage and the Cognitive Sciences.Samuel Baron, John Cusbert, Matt Farr, Maria Kon & Kristie Miller - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (8):560-571.
    Cognitive science has recently made some startling discoveries about temporal experience, and these discoveries have been drafted into philosophical service. We survey recent appeals to cognitive science in the philosophical debate over whether time objectively passes. Since this research is currently in its infancy, we identify some directions for future research.
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  8. A Relic of a Bygone Age? Causation, Time Symmetry and the Directionality Argument.Matt Farr & Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):215-235.
    Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as “a relic of a bygone age”. This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ time symmetry’ (...)
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  9. On A- and B-Theoretic Elements of Branching Spacetimes.Matt Farr - 2012 - Synthese 188 (1):85-116.
    This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...)
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  10.  80
    Review of 'Causation in Science' by Yemima Ben-Menahem. [REVIEW]Matt Farr - forthcoming - Mind.
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