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A reductive account of “before”: deriving temporal succession

Saudek, Daniel (2021) A reductive account of “before”: deriving temporal succession. [Preprint]


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The aim of this paper is to propose a new, reductive account of the relation “before” between events. Rather than basing itself on causal asymmetry or thermodynamics, it instead takes the set of states of an object and exploits a characteristic asymmetry which can be found by quantifying, timelessly, over this set. It is first shown that this asymmetry is sufficient for the relation “before or simultaneous with”, and moreover, that no ordering in terms of “before” can be ascertained independently of this asymmetry appearing on at least a subset of the set of states of some object. Based on this, plus additional steps, a definition of “before” is developed which does not circularly employ temporal notions. The result is an account of “before” which not only saves the phenomena of temporal succession as experienced in everyday life, but is also consonant with physics in that “before” is a local relation which requires no global hypersurfaces of simultaneity, and moreover an emergent one which applies only to the relatively macroscopic world, not an intrinsic feature of the quantum level.

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Item Type: Preprint
Saudek, Daniel
Keywords: before and after, local time, relativity theory, temporal succession, time asymmetry
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: Dr. Daniel Saudek
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 13:13
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 13:13
Item ID: 20893
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: July 2021

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