The representation of time from 1700 to the present

Emily Rolfe Grosholz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Leibniz influenced the contemporary cosmologists Roger Penrose and Lee Smolin, an influence I trace at the beginning of this chapter, which examines debates over the nature of time in recent centuries. I look at the revision of the concept of time occasioned by 19th c. Thermodynamics, and then Boltzmann’s attempt to reconcile it with Newtonian mechanics: is the arrow of time (so referentially compelling) real, or can it be explained away by an analytic discourse? During the 20th century, in a sense classical General Relativity Theory continued the Newtonian tradition of an analytic, geometrical theory of time, and Quantum Mechanics continued the Leibnizian tradition of a referential theory of time elicited from the dynamical object (molecular, atomic, and subatomic particles); and the dialectic, modified, continues into the current century. I argue that the heterogeneity of the discourses and their complementarity are useful for the advance of science; and that the interesting philosophical question is how the two approaches interact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStudies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Publication series

NameStudies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
ISSN (Print)2192-6255
ISSN (Electronic)2192-6263

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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