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The Arguments of Time$
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Jeremy Butterfield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263464

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263464.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 16 October 2021

On Relativity, Time Reckoning, and the Topology of Time Series

On Relativity, Time Reckoning, and the Topology of Time Series

(p.64) (p.65) 4. On Relativity, Time Reckoning, and the Topology of Time Series
The Arguments of Time

Roberto Torretti

British Academy

This chapter devotes equal attention to special relativity and general relativity. It first describes the history of the analysis of distant simultaneity, up to and including Einstein's procedure in his revolutionary 1905 paper which introduced special relativity. In particular, the discussion relates Einstein's procedure to the ensuing philosophical debate about whether distant simultaneity is a matter of convention. As to general relativity, the discussion gives a brief sketch of Einstein's path towards his discovery of general relativity. Thereafter, it focuses on the topological structure of time or, more precisely, of timelike lines (worldlines) in spacetime. It discusses the closed timelike lines first found in an exact solution of general relativity by Godel; and the open timelike geodesics that get arbitrarily close to the initial singularity (Big Bang) in a Friedmann solution.

Keywords:   general relativity, special relativity, Albert Einstein, Big Bang, worldlines, distant simultaneity, timelike geodesics

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