http://www.princeton.edu/~adame/teaching/PHI531_F2008

Graduate seminar, Fall 2008. Open to graduate students only.

Adam Elga (follow link for contact information, office hour).

*Class meeting time*: Mondays 10:00am-12:50pm.

*Location*: Marx Hall 201

*Seminar description*: There is a radical disconnect between everyday
descriptions of the physical world (in terms of tables, chairs, and so
on), and the sorts of descriptions given to us by physicists (in terms
of fundamental particles and forces). We will consider attempts to
reconcile the two sorts of descriptions. Topics will include
statistical mechancs and the direction of time, causal asymmetry, and
the flow of time.

*Units*: If you might write a unit paper associated with this course,
then right away please read my grad
student unit guide.

*Readings*: To access the readings (all available electronically, as linked
below), you will need a userid (the userid is "guest") and a password
(announced in class). If you would like to preview the readings,
please email adame@princeton.edu.

Note:

In many cases, only a subsection of the linked reading is required. In those cases, the required chapter or page range is listed after the reading itself.

The readings will be adjusted during the semester. Changes will appear on this page.

Temporal asymmetry

Huw Price. *Time's arrow* Chapter
1. Read from
the section entitled "The stock philosophical debates about time"
until the end of the chapter.

Paul Horwich. *Asymmetries in time*. Chapter
1. Sections 1-2.

Reversibility and thermodynamics

David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2

Optional: Lawrence Sklar. Physics and Chance. Chapter 2, section I

Boltzmannian statistical mechanics

David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Chapter 3
and Chapter 4

Shelly Goldstein. Boltzmann's approach to statistical mechanics

Explaining irreversibility

Review pp. 91-96 of David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Chapter 4

Review pp. 14-16 of Shelly Goldstein. Boltzmann's approach to statistical mechanics

Huw Price. *Time's arrow* Chapter 2. Read starting from the section "Boltzmann's symmetric view."

Craig Callender. Measures, Explanations and the Past: Should 'Special' Initial Conditions be Explained?

Optional: Huw Price. *Time's arrow* Chapter 3: New light on the arrow of radiation

Optional: Jill North. Understanding the Time-Asymmetry of Radiation

The knowledge asymmetry

David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Chapter 6

Paul Horwich. *Asymmetries in time*. Chapter 5: Knowledge

The fork asymmetry and the asymmetry of causation

Nancy Cartwright. Causal laws and effective strategies

Huw Price. *Time's Arrow*. Chapter 6: In search of the third arrow

Common cause principle

Frank Arntzenius. Reichenbach's common cause principle. Pay special attention to section 3.3.

Optional. Hartry Field. Causation in a physical world. Section 2.

Counterfactuals

Barry Loewer. Counterfactuals and the second law

Hartry Field. Causation in a physical world. Section 3.

Constraints on the future

Greg Egan. The hundred light year diary

Huw Price. Time's arrow and that old double standard. Read section entitled "Is a reversing future observable? Is it consistent?" (pp. 86-91)

Nick Smith. Bananas enough for time travel. Read section 3 (pp. 366-7) and section entitled "Third Case" (pp. 376-8)

Optional:

Frank Arntzenius and Tim Maudlin. Time travel and modern physics. Read Section 5 "Two Toy Models"

Squaring commonsense physics with fundamental physics

David Wallace. Everett and Structure. Read section 4 ("Understanding higher-order ontology")

Tim Maudlin. Descrying the world in the wavefunction. Read pp. 1-14.

Daniel Dennett. Real patterns. Read sections I-III.

Time's flow

Guest seminar leader: Brad Skow, MIT Philosophy

Tim Maudlin. On the passing of time

Craig Callender. The Common Now

Time's flow, cont'd

Tim Maudlin. On the passing of time We will discuss the "doppleganger objection".

Craig Callender. The Common Now

Maxwell's demon

David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Chapter 5

Craig Callender. A Collision Between Dynamics and Thermodynamics

Reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics

Craig Callender. Taking thermodynamics (too) seriously

Craig Callender. Reducing Thermodynamics to Statistical Mechanics: The Case of Entropy

Craig Callender. Thermodynamic Asymmetry in Time

Craig Callender. The past hypothesis meets gravity

David Albert. *Time and Chance*. Appendix

Jill North. Two views on time reversal

Spohn. *Large scale dynamics of interacting particles* Chapter 9: The role of probability, irreversibility

Huw Price. *Time's arrow* Chapter 8

Ned Hall. Structural equations and causation

Optional: Dorothy Edgington. Counterfactuals and the benefits of hindsight

Adam Elga | Princeton University