Skeptical notes on a physics of passage.
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Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, ISSN: 1749-6632, Vol: 1326, Issue: 1, Page: 9-17
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- Neuroscience; Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; Arts and Humanities
This paper investigates the mathematical representation of time in physics. In existing theories, time is represented by the real numbers, hence their formal properties represent properties of time: these are surveyed. The central question of the paper is whether the existing representation of time is adequate, or whether it can or should be supplemented: especially, do we need a physics incorporating some kind of "dynamical passage" of time? The paper argues that the existing mathematical framework is resistant to such changes, and might have to be rejected by anyone seeking a physics of passage. Then it rebuts two common arguments for incorporating passage into physics, especially the claim that it is an element of experience. Finally, the paper investigates whether, as has been claimed, causal set theory provides a physics of passage.