Date of Award

6-2001

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Dr. Quentin Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Arthur Falk

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy McGrew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The question posed is one of time. Through the presentation of arguments and evidence from thermodynamics, cosmology, (quantum and classical) mechanics, and recent proposals in quantum gravity cosmology, a framework is established for an atemporal account of reality, and the suggestion that 'time' is metaphysical nonexistent. Specifically, two theses are presented:

The first, which relies upon a strong interpretation of the evidence, argues that the temporally asymmetric macrophenomena of classic thermodynamics, as well as the temporal anisotropy often attributed to modem cosmology, may be rendered compatible with the T-symmetric dynamic laws of physics by the elimination of time as primitive. Furthermore, since the quantization of gravity results in the elimination of the time parameter from the Einstein-Schrodinger wave, the strong thesis proposes that time is unreal, and only an atemporal C-series obtains.

The second thesis takes a weaker position with respect to the actual nature of time. The weak thesis admits that those aspects of time adhering to the more common A- or B-series interpretations of time are real, but are so only contingently, whereas the C-series remains ontologically necessary. The weak thesis concedes that the A- or B-series is actual but accidental to the nature of time, whereas the C-series is both actual and essential.

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