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What Survives from the Classical Concept of Absolute Time

  • Milic Capek
Chapter
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 123)

Abstract

The title of this paper may be understood as a form of question which is only in part a question of intellectual history. It cannot be answered by a mere outline of the post-Newtonian development of the concept of time; what is needed is also to contrast the modern concept of time with its classical counterpart and to analyze whether some residue of the latter is not perhaps present, no matter how disguised, in the concept which is generally accepted today. I do not mean only the time of relativity; there is a similar problem of time in thermodynamics, in quantum theory and in cosmogony, even though the one in relativity is probably the most fundamental.

Keywords

Classical Physic Universal Time Absolute Time Absolute Space Causal Past 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Cf. Pierre Duhem, Le système du monde (Hermann, Paris, 1956), pp. 439–441;Google Scholar
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    Lectiones geometricae, Lee. I. All these texts (Bruno, Gassendi and Barrow) are reprinted in The Concepts of Space and Time. Their Structure and Their Development, ed. by M. Capek in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, (Reidel, Dordrecht; 1976).Google Scholar
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    Regrettably, even some serious thinkers (e.g. Quine, Donald Williams, G. Schlesinger) believe they are discussing the relativistic space-time while dealing really with the classical space-time only.Google Scholar
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    Cf. in particular: The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics, 2nd ed. (Van Nostrand, Princeton, 1969), esp. Part II and Appendix I and II; “The Myth of Frozen Passage; the Status of Becoming in the Physical World,” Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. II (New York, 1965), pp. 441–463; “Relativity and the Status of Becoming,” Foundations of Physics, vol. 5, No. 4 (December 1975), pp. 606–616; “Time-Space rather than Space-Time,” Diogenes, Unesco, Paris, 1983), pp. 30–49.Google Scholar
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    P.W. Bridgman, Reflections of a Physicist (New York Philosophical Library, 1955), p. 251.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milic Capek
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Philosophy and History of ScienceBoston UniversityUSA

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