Time of Nature and the Nature of Time

Philosophical Perspectives of Time in Natural Sciences

  • Christophe Bouton
  • Philippe Huneman

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 326)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. The Experience of Time and the Scientific Framing of Time

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Carlo Proietti
      Pages 39-53
    3. David Braddon-Mitchell, Kristie Miller
      Pages 67-85
  3. Time Paradoxes in Physics

  4. Dealing with Deep Time (Paleontology)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 209-209
    2. John Huss
      Pages 211-235
    3. Pascal Tassy
      Pages 253-271
  5. Time of the Evolution (Evolutionary and Developmental Biology)

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 273-273
    2. Antonine Nicoglou
      Pages 359-390
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 391-403

About this book


This volume addresses the question of time from the perspective of the time of nature. Its aim is to provide some insights about the nature of time on the basis of the different uses of the concept of time in natural sciences. Presenting a dialogue between philosophy and science, it features a collection of papers that investigate the representation, modeling and understanding of time as they appear in physics, biology, geology and paleontology. It asks questions such as: whether or not the notions of time in the various sciences are reducible to the same physical time, what status should be given to timescale differences, or what are the specific epistemic issues raised by past facts in natural sciences.

The book first explores the experience of time and its relation to time in nature in a set of chapters that bring together what human experience and physics enable metaphysicians, logicians and scientists to say about time. Next, it studies time in physics, including some puzzling paradoxes about time raised by the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. The volume then goes on to examine the distinctive problems and conceptions of time in the life sciences. It explores the concept of deep time in paleontology and geology, time in the epistemology of evolutionary biology, and time in developmental biology. Each scientific discipline features a specific approach to time and uses distinctive methodologies for implementing time in its models. This volume seeks to define a common language to conceive of the distinct ways different scientific disciplines view time. In the process, it offers a new approach to the issue of time that will appeal to a wide range of readers: philosophers and historians of science, metaphysicians and natural scientists - be they scholars, advanced students or readers from an educated general audience.


Block Universe Deep Time Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Physics Philosophy of Time Time Scale

Editors and affiliations

  • Christophe Bouton
    • 1
  • Philippe Huneman
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de Philosophie/SPH, UFR HumanitésUniversité Bordeaux MontaignePessac CedexFrance
  2. 2.Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques (IHPST)CNRS/Université Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

Bibliographic information