Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement

Papers

On Becoming, Cosmic Time and Rotating Universes1

Mauro Dorato

Abstract

In the literature on the compatibility between the time of our experience and the time of physics, the special theory of relativity has enjoyed central stage. By bringing into the discussion the general theory of relativity, I suggest a new analysis of the misunderstood notion of becoming, developed from hints in Gödel's published and unpublished arguments for the ideality of time. I claim that recent endorsements of such arguments, based on Gödel's own ‘rotating’ solution to Einstein's field equation, fail: once understood in the right way, becoming can be shown to be both mind-independent and compatible with spacetime physics. Being a needed tertium quid between views of time traditionally regarded as in conflict, such a new approach to becoming should also help to dissolve a crucial aspect of the century-old debate between the so-called A and B theories of time.

Mauro Dorato is Associate Professor for the Philosophy of Science.

Footnotes

1 I thank J. Butterfield, C. Callender, R. Clifton, J. Faye, M. Piazza and the audience at LSE and Vancouver for helpful comments and suggestions on previous drafts of this paper. S. Savitt deserves a special mention, for our frequent exchange via e-mail helped me to formulate my views in a clearer way. Despite some criticism that here I raise to his previous, thought-provoking work, he has now independently come to defend views about temporal becoming that are very close to mine, as is evident from the paper in this collection.