Originally published in 1980. What is time? How is its structure determined? The enduring controversy about the nature and structure of time has traditionally been a diametrical argument between those who see time as a container into which events are placed, and those for whom time cannot exist without events. This controversy between the absolutist and the relativist theories of time is a central theme of this study. The author's impressive arguments provide grounds for rejecting both these theories, firstly by establishing that ‘empty’ time is possible, and secondly by showing, through a discussion of the structure of time which involves considering whether time might be cyclical, branching, beginning or non-beginning, that the absolutist theory of time is untenable. This book then advances two new theories, and succeeds in shifting the traditional debate about time to a consideration of time as a theoretical structure and as a theoretical framework.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Nature of Time 2. Time and Change 3. The Topology of Time I: The Linearity of Time 4. The Topology ofTime II: The Unity of Time 5. The Topology of Time III: The Beginning of Time 6. The Topology of Time IV: The Micro-aspects 7. The Metric of Time 8. The Special Theory of Relativity 9. The Direction of Time 10. Towards a Positive Theory. Appendix: Properties of Relations
Reviews of the original edition:
"...Newton-Smith brings to bear the sharp analytical tools of modern philosophy. The whole subject is carefully examined at an abstract level, and a host of problems raised that would never have occurred to a simple-minded physicist. It is a rigorous and tough-minded book that makes great demands on the reader, yet well repays careful study.'
Peter Hodgson, New Society