Introduction: Conceptual Outline of Time

  • Edward Anderson
Chapter
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 190)

Abstract

This is a conceptual introduction to the subject of time. Unlike the rest of this book, this first chapter is largely free from mathematics or from detailed reference to particular laws of physics. It is, rather, an interdisciplinary account suitable for a very wide and diverse audience: for those who did major in, or are (considering) majoring in, whichever of science, mathematics, engineering or philosophy—or indeed anybody else with an interest in time—to enjoy.

We contemplate a wide range of time-related concepts, from past, present and future to simultaneity, causation, dating and duration. We also consider which properties one would, at least intuitively, expect a notion of time to possess, and likewise for clocks, illustrated with historical examples from early clocks to accurate astronomical timestandards. We also discuss supporting concepts of space, and of rods and other length-measuring devices. This is partly for contrast with time and clocks, and partly because much subsequent physical modelling treats time and space together in the form of spacetime.

References

  1. 83.
    Bachelard, G.: The Dialectic of Duration (1950), in French; an English translation reprint is: Clinamen Press, Manchester (2000) Google Scholar
  2. 135.
    Bergson, H.: The Creative Mind (1907); reprinted by Dover, New York (1998) Google Scholar
  3. 145.
    Blackmore, J.T.: Ernst Mach: His Work, Life and Influence. University of California Press, Berkeley (1972) Google Scholar
  4. 168.
    Bridgman, P.W.: The Logic of Modern Physics. MacMillan, New York (1927) MATHGoogle Scholar
  5. 171.
    Broad, C.D.: Scientific Thought. Routledge, London (1923) MATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 211.
    Clemence, G.M.: Astronomical time. Rev. Mod. Phys. 29, 2 (1957) ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 274.
    Earman, J.: Reassessing the prospects for a growing block model of the universe. Int. Stud. Philos. Sci. 22, 135 (2008) MathSciNetCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 281.
    Einstein, A.: On the electrodynamics of moving bodies. Ann. Phys. (Ger.) 17, 891 (1905); The English translation is available in e.g. The Principle of Relativity. Dover, New York (1952), formerly published by Methuen, London (1923) ADSCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. 289.
    Eliot, T.S.: Four Quartets. Harcourt, Orlando (1943) Google Scholar
  10. 317.
    Fraser, J.T.: The Genesis and Evolution of Time: A Critique of Interpretations in Physics. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst (1982) Google Scholar
  11. 397.
    Grünbaum, A.: In: Philosophical Problems of Space and Time, 2nd edn., p. 405. Reidel, Dordrecht (1973) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 483.
    Isham, C.J.: Canonical quantum gravity and the problem of time. In: Ibort, L.A., Rodríguez, M.A. (eds.) Integrable Systems, Quantum Groups and Quantum Field Theories. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht (1993). gr-qc/9210011 Google Scholar
  13. 519.
    Jammer, M.: Concepts of Space: The History of Theories of Space in Physics, 3rd edn. Dover, New York (1993) Google Scholar
  14. 521.
    Jammer, M.: Concepts of Simultaneity. From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore (2006) Google Scholar
  15. 586.
    Kuchař, K.V.: Time and interpretations of quantum gravity. In: Kunstatter, G., Vincent, D., Williams, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 4th Canadian Conference on General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics. World Scientific, Singapore (1992); Reprinted as Int. J. Mod. Phys. Proc. Suppl. D 20, 3 (2011) Google Scholar
  16. 616.
    Leibniz, G.W.: The Metaphysical Foundations of Mathematics. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1956) Google Scholar
  17. 632.
    Mach, E.: Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwickelung, Historisch-kritisch dargestellt. Barth, Leipzig (1883); An English translation is The Science of Mechanics: A Critical and Historical Account of Its Development. Open Court, La Salle (1960) MATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 649.
    McTaggart, J.M.E.: The unreality of time. Mind 17, 457 (1908) CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  19. 654.
    Minkowski, H.: Space and Time. Address delivered at 80th Assembly of German Natural Scientists and Physicians at Cologne 21 September 1908; The English translation is available in The Principle of Relativity. Dover, New York (1952), formerly published by Methuen, London (1923) Google Scholar
  20. 660.
    Misner, C.W., Thorne, K., Wheeler, J.A.: Gravitation. Freedman, San Francisco (1973) Google Scholar
  21. 669.
    Muga, G., Sala Mayato, R., Egusquiza, I. (eds.): Time in Quantum Mechanics, vol. 1. Springer, Berlin (2008) Google Scholar
  22. 670.
    Muga, G., Sala Mayato, R., Egusquiza, I. (eds.): Time in Quantum Mechanics, vol. 2. Springer, Berlin (2010) Google Scholar
  23. 677.
    Newton-Smith, W.: The Structure of Time. Routledge, London (1980) Google Scholar
  24. 718.
    Poincaré, H.: La Mesure du Temps [The measure of time]. Rev. Métaphys. Morale 6, 1 (1898) ADSGoogle Scholar
  25. 730.
    Reichenbach, H.: The Philosophy of Space and Time. Dover, New York (1950) MATHGoogle Scholar
  26. 731.
    Reichenbach, H.: The Direction of Time. University of California Press, Berkeley (1956) Google Scholar
  27. 764.
    Savitt, S.F. (ed.): Time’s Arrow Today. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1995) Google Scholar
  28. 772.
    Schlegel, R.: Time and the Physical World. Dover, New York (1968) Google Scholar
  29. 888.
    Weinberg, S.: Cosmology. Oxford University Press, New York (2008) MATHGoogle Scholar
  30. 906.
    Whitrow, G.J.: The Natural Philosophy of Time. Nelson, London (1961) MATHGoogle Scholar
  31. 931.
    Zeh, H.D.: The Physical Basis of the Direction of Time. Springer, Berlin (1989) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.DAMTPCentre for Mathematical SciencesCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations