Conventionalism about time direction

Synthese 200 (1):1-21 (2022)
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In what sense is the direction of time a matter of convention? In 'The Direction of Time', Hans Reichenbach makes brief reference to parallels between his views about the status of time’s direction and his conventionalism about geometry. In this article, I: (1) provide a conventionalist account of time direction motivated by a number of Reichenbach’s claims in the book; (2) show how forwards and backwards time can give equivalent descriptions of the world despite the former being the ‘natural’ direction of time; and (3) argue that this offers an important middle-ground position between existing realist and antirealist accounts of the direction of time.

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Matt Farr
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Perceiving Direction in Directionless Time.Matt Farr - 2023 - In Kasia M. Jaszczolt (ed.), Understanding Human Time. Oxford University Press. pp. 199-219.

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References found in this work

The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The direction of time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Maria Reichenbach.
Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
Reconsidering Logical Positivism.Michael Friedman - 1999 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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