The Reality of Time Flow

Local Becoming in Modern Physics

  • Richard T. W. Arthur

Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 1-8
  3. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 9-35
  4. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 37-68
  5. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 69-107
  6. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 109-137
  7. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 139-178
  8. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 179-217
  9. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 219-262
  10. Richard T. W. Arthur
    Pages 263-267
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 269-287

About this book


It is commonly held that there is no place for the 'now’ in physics, and also that the passing of time is something subjective, having to do with the way reality is experienced but not with the way reality is. Indeed, the majority of modern theoretical physicists and philosophers of physics contend that the passing of time is incompatible with modern physical theory, and excluded in a fundamental description of physical reality. This book provides a forceful rebuttal of such claims. In successive chapters the author explains the historical precedents of the modern opposition to time flow, giving careful expositions of matters relevant to becoming in classical physics, the special and general theories of relativity, and quantum theory, without presupposing prior expertise in these subjects. Analysing the arguments of thinkers ranging from Aristotle, Russell, and Bergson to the proponents of quantum gravity, he contends that the passage of time, understood as a local becoming of events out of those in their past at varying rates, is not only compatible with the theories of modern physics, but implicit in them. 


Relativity and the block universe Temporal becoming The present in physics Time and simultaneity Time in quantum theory Time meaning Time philosophy Local becoming Reality of time Alexandrov interval The now in relativity Time flow B-Theory

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard T. W. Arthur
    • 1
  1. 1.McMaster University Dept. PhilosophyHamiltonCanada

Bibliographic information