Beyond the Dynamical Universe: Unifying Block Universe Physics and Time as Experienced

ISBN : 9780198807087

Michael Silberstein ; W.M. Stuckey ; Timothy McDevitt
424 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Dec 2017
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Theoretical physics and foundations of physics have not made much progress in the last few decades. Whether we are talking about unifying general relativity and quantum field theory (quantum gravity), explaining so-called dark energy and dark matter (cosmology), or the interpretation and implications of quantum mechanics and relativity, there is no consensus in sight. In addition, both enterprises are deeply puzzled about various facets of time including above all, time as experienced. The authors argue that, across the board, this impasse is the result of the "dynamical universe paradigm," the idea that reality is fundamentally made up of physical entities that evolve in time from some initial state according to dynamical laws.

Thus, in the dynamical universe, the initial conditions plus the dynamical laws explain everything else going exclusively forward in time. In cosmology, for example, the initial conditions reside in the Big Bang and the dynamical law is supplied by general relativity. Accordingly, the present state of the universe is explained exclusively by its past. This book offers a completely new paradigm (called Relational Blockworld), whereby the past, present and future co-determine each other via "adynamical global constraints," such as the least action principle. Accordingly, the future is just as important for explaining the present as is the past. Most of the book is devoted to showing how Relational Blockworld resolves many of the current conundrums of both theoretical physics and foundations of physics, including the mystery of time as experienced and how that experience relates to the block universe.


Part I: Book Overview
Overture for Ants
1 Introduction

Part II: Adynamical Explanation: Physics
2 The Block Universe from Special Relativity
3 Resolving Puzzles, Problems and Paradoxes from General Relativity
4 Relational Blockworld and Quantum Mechanics
5 Relational Blockworld and Quantum Field Theory
6 Relational Blockworld Approach to Unification and Quantum Gravity

Part III: Adynamical Explanation: Time as Experienced
7 Conscious Experience and the Block Universe
8 Relational Blockworld: Experience, Time and Space Reintegrated
Coda for Ants

About the author: 

Michael David Silberstein is Full Professor of Philosophy at Elizabethtown College, a founding member of the Cognitive Science program at the College and permanent Adjunct in the Philosophy Department at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he is also a faculty member in the Foundations of Physics Program and a Fellow on the Committee for Philosophy and the Sciences. His primary research interests are foundations of physics, foundations of cognitive science, foundations of complexity theory and consciousness studies respectively. He is especially interested in how these branches of philosophy and science bear on more general questions of reduction, emergence and explanation.; Mark Stuckey is a professor of physics at Elizabethtown College where he teaches an array of physics courses to include general relativity and quantum mechanics. He has published in the areas of relativistic cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, quantum gravity, and foundations of physics.; Timothy McDevitt is a professor of mathematics at Elizabethtown College where he teaches a variety of math courses. His research is highly interdisciplinary and he has published in applied mechanics, numerical analysis, physics, education, and medicine.

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