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.
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
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
Reissuing five works originally published between 1937 and 1991, this collection contains books addressing the subject of time, from a mostly philosophic point of view but also of interest to those in the science and mathematics worlds. These texts are brought back into print in this small set of works addressing how we think about time, the history of the philosophy of time, the measurement of time, theories of relativity and discussions of the wider thinking about time and space, among other aspects. One volume is a thorough bibliography collating references on the subject of time across many disciplines.