Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 14, No 3 (2018)

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The Arrow of Time

Ted Dace


The foundation of irreversible, probabilistic time -- the classical time of conscious observation -- is the reversible and deterministic quantum time of the wave function. The tendency in physics is to regard time in the abstract, a mere parameter devoid of inherent direction, implying that a concept of real time must begin with irreversibility. In reality time has no need for irreversibility, and every invocation of time implies becoming or flow. Neither symmetry under time reversal, of which Newton was well aware, nor the absence of an absolute parameter, as in relativity, negates temporal passage. Far from encapsulating time, irreversibility is a secondary property dependent on the emergence of distinct moments from the ceaseless presence charted by the wave function.

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