The Meaning of Time: An Introduction into Philosophical, Biological and Physical Aspects of Time
Woehler, Karlheinz E.
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This report presents an introduction into philosophy, biology astrophysics and other physical sciences as they relate to time. Time in man's basic experience, symbolizations of time, the western view of historical time and the evolution of the concept of time in philosophy are outlined. A brief introduction to biological clocks, chemical oscillations, biochemical cycles, and speculations about the human time sense follow. The major portion of the report deals with the search for the arrow of time in nature from physics. Absolute time in Newtonian physics, time in special relativity and the time inversion invariance of physical laws, appears to leave no room for an arrow of time in nature. Even the concept of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics are found not to be grounded in the laws of nature themselves but rather in the initial conditions of time evolving systems. The search for the origin of the arrow of time leads to the big bang origin of the universe which has a very low entropy state. The proper description of the evolution of the universe in terms of general relativity shows that time cannot be a dimension external to the universe but appears as an internal evolution parameter in recent attempts in the literature to give a cosmological description of the origin of the universe using the quantum theory
NPS Report NumberNPS-PH-91-005
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