On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes

Farr, Matt (2012) On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes. Synthese, 188 1: 85-116. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-0046-y

Author Farr, Matt
Title On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes
Formatted title
On A- and B-theoretic elements of branching spacetimes
Journal name Synthese   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0039-7857
Publication date 2012-09-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-0046-y
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 188
Issue 1
Start page 85
End page 116
Total pages 32
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories-McCall's 'branch attrition', and the 'no backward branching' feature of Belnap's 'branching space-time'-in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall's presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the flow of time. I argue that 'no backward branching' prohibits Belnap's theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justification.
Keyword A series
B series
Branch attrition
Branching time
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 23 Aug 2015, 22:25:10 EST by Matt Farr on behalf of Examinations