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The C theory of time

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Part of the TCSS Annual Symposium

Does time have a direction? Intuitively, it does. After all, our experiences, our thoughts, and indeed out scientific explanations of phenomena are ordinarily time-directed; systems evolve from earlier to later and depend upon initial and not final conditions and it would seem unnecessary, and indeed odd, to try to expunge such talk from our scientific lexicon. Nevertheless, in this talk I make the case for what I call the ‘C theory of time’: in short, the thesis that time does not have a direction. I do so by making the theory as palatable as possible, and this will involve giving an account of why it is permissible and indeed useful to talk in time-directed terms, what role time-directed explanations play in physics, and why neither of these should commit us to the claim that reality is fundamentally directed in time. Moreover, I demonstrate that the C theory provides a better understanding of time asymmetries in physics than rival time-direction-realist accounts.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society (TCSS) series.

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