What's So Spatial About Time Anyway?

Publication Year:
Usage 163
Downloads 163
Social Media 4
Tweets 4
Repository URL:
Baron, Samuel; Evans, Peter W.
Most Recent Tweet View All Tweets
preprint description
Both Skow (2007) and Callender (2008) independently argue that time can be distinguished from space due to the special role it plays in our laws of nature: our laws determine the behaviour of physical systems across time, but not across space. In this work we asses the claim that the laws of nature might provide the basis for distinguishing time from space by looking specifically at the claims of Skow and Callender. We find that there is an obvious reason to be sceptical of the argument Skow submits for distinguishing time from space: Skow fails to pay sufficient attention to the relationship between the dynamical laws and the antecedent conditions required to establish a complete solution from the laws. Callender's more sophisticated argument in favour of distinguishing time from space by virtue of the laws of nature presents a much stronger basis to draw the distinction. We raise, however, the possibility that Callender's account in a certain sense shifts the bump in the carpet: that laws are more 'informative' in the temporal direction seems to call out for an underlying explanation, and whatever this underlying factor is, surely this is the real distinction between time and space.