Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time

Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time

by HuwPrice (Author)


The arrow of time and the meaning of quantum mechanics are two of the great mysteries of modern physics. This important book - written for non-specialist readers, as well as physicists and philosophers - throws a fascinating new light on both issues, and connects them in a wholly original way. In considering attempts to understand the arrow of time in physics, Huw Price shows that for over a century physicists have fallen repeatedly for the same trap: treating the past and future in different ways. To overcome this natural tendency, we need to imagine a point outside time - an Archimedean viewpoint, as Price calls it - from which to think about the arrow of time in an unbiased way. Taking this Archimedean viewpoint, Price asks why we assume that the past affects the future but not vice versa, and argues that causation is much more symmetric in microphysics: to a limited extent, the future does affect the past. Thus he avoids the usual paradoxes of quantum mechanics, without succumbing to the rival paradoxes of causal loops and time travel.



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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Published: 25 Apr 1996

ISBN 10: 0195100956
ISBN 13: 9780195100952

Media Reviews
Huw Price's book is a significant contribution, remarkable in its scope.
This work is teeming with fresh insights and may be fairly said to light the fires of our imagination. It is a work that deserves to be widely read and to have a place in every science library. * Dennis H. Rouvray, Endeavour, Vol. 20, no. 4, 1996 *
The book is a tour de force. Price addresses some of the most difficult issues in physics and philosophy, and offers highly original solutions. Yet the book is written in a style which assumes no previous knowledge, and will be accessible to any reader who is prepared to think hard. In the course of his book, he makes real progress with the direction of time. If he leaves us with a new problem at the end, this only testifies to the number of old problems he has resolved along the way. * TLS *
philosophically well presented book ... For anyone who has read just the odd book on the nature of time and cosmological questions this is the ideal book to read next to find a fairer, less partial exploration of other thinkers in the field, and the too often neglected gratitude that the modern celebrity scientists have given them ... The Philosophers verdict: Praiseworthy, all round. * The Philosopher Vol 87 no 2 *
the treatment is wide-ranging and substantial. The discussion is carefully signposted and chapters contain point-by-point summaries of the argument and the author's principal conclusions. * Nature *
if words like entropy and nonlocality get your synapses buzzing then you'll find Price's analysis very stimulating indeed, even if you don't go along with his controversial conclusions * Scotland on Sunday *
An attempt to grapple with the ... problems of the arrow of time with a high degree of analytical care, John D. Barrow, Nature 383, 228 (1996)
Author Bio
Huw Price is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Sydney.