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Explanation of the Passage of Time Shapes Our View of Life

Jonathan J. Dickau


We experience time in the accumulation of experiences and events that happen in an instant, and then are behind us. Since the school of Anaximander[i] at least, philosophers have tried to explain the nature of time and its origin or basis. In modern times, scientists must explore the domain of time, so now they attempt to explain its nature and basis – with varying degrees of success. This is complicated because explanations from Classical Physics or Relativity are different from and incompatible with answers from Quantum Mechanics, so many hope Quantum Gravity theories will help resolve this question. Advances in Mathematics hold promise for a unified basis explaining both the thermodynamic and quantum-mechanical time arrows in a way that consistently informs our Philosophy. However, we will likely need to explore beyond the island of familiar Maths to reconcile the divergent pictures of how and why time passes. This paper revises and expands on my Marcel Grossmann 16 contribution[ii], to add more practical insights and include material not available a year ago.

[i] Anaximander, (c. 611-546 BC)

[ii] J.J. Dickau, Explaining Time's Passage in Proceedings of the 16th Marcel Grossmann conference on Gravitation and Cosmology, World Scientific, (2022)

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