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Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time (Anglais) Relié – 4 juillet 1996

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3,5 étoiles sur 5 29 commentaires provenant des USA

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Description du produit

Revue de presse

`... a thoughtful (and thought-provoking) analysis of the time-asymmetry problem of physics which is in many ways deeper and more illuminating than accounts to be found elsewhere.' Roger Penrose, Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford, and author of Shadows of the Mind and The Emperor's New Mind

`In this challenging book, Price applies critical reasoning and penetrating insight to the current theories of physics and cosmology that have a bearing on this problem.' Paul Davies, Professor of Natural Philosophy, The University of Adelaide, and author of About Time and The Physics of Time Asymmetry

splendidly provocative book. (Sunday Times)

' ...he has taken a subject understood by a few experts and thrown open the door to the masses. Take it with a pinch of salt, perhaps; but do take it, and enjoy it as a feast for the imagination." (The Sunday Times)

...Price's book is a useful addition to the literature on time, particularly as it reveals the influence of modern science on the way a philosopher thinks. (New Scientist)

Price is a philosopher with a real grasp of fundamental physics. He offers an original slant on some profound issues, where our understanding has advanced little since the time of St Augustine. His book is not an easy read, but should trigger lively debate about whether he has introduced new paradoxes as stubborn as those he claims to exorcise. (The Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

The arrow of time and the meaning of quantum mechanics are two of the great mysteries of modern physics. This important book - written for non-specialist readers, as well as physicists and philosophers - throws a fascinating new light on both issues, and connects them in a wholly original way. In considering attempts to understand the arrow of time in physics, Huw Price shows that for over a century physicists have fallen repeatedly for the same trap: treating the past and future in different ways. To overcome this natural tendency, we need to imagine a point outside time - an Archimedean viewpoint, as Price calls it - from which to think about the arrow of time in an unbiased way. Taking this Archimedean viewpoint, Price asks why we assume that the past affects the future but not vice versa, and argues that causation is much more symmetric in microphysics: to a limited extent, the future does affect the past. Thus he avoids the usual paradoxes of quantum mechanics, without succumbing to the rival paradoxes of causal loops and time travel.

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Amazon.com: 3.5 étoiles sur 5 29 commentaires
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 worth your while if you're prepared to do some hard work 16 mars 2013
Par BetseaK - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I found it difficult to rate this book, wavering between 3 and 4 stars. Eventually, I opted for 4 stars because the book covers many interesting points and, in the opinion of this layperson, the author's arguments seem sound and persuasive.

On the other hand, it is more obscure than necessary due to the author's long-winding linguistic style interspersed with numerous analogies/metaphors, some of which more puzzling than revealing (the way I look at it, of course) and, contrary to the description in the Preface to the book, some background in physics is required so as to appreciate the author's arguments. Besides, this book does not explain well (if at all) the concept of objective (physical) time and I feel it fails to give the non-professional reader a clear idea how to view the things from an atemporal standpoint (or 'view from nowhen').

And so, my first try at this book was a total fiasco due to the lack of a clear idea of the concepts of objective (physical) time, entropy, thermodynamical processes, causal forks, a state function,... (the full list of things would be too long). All my thanks for acquiring the required knowledge for understanding this book properly during my second try go to Records of the Future - Classical Entropy, Memory, and the 'Arrow of Time' (Quantum Physics free of Folklore #1) and Galloping with Light - Einstein, Relativity, and Folklore.

The main idea of Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point is that our intuitive/subjective sense of time has a very great effect on how we think about time and the temporal aspects of reality. Namely, we should try to distinguish how the world actually is from how it seems to be from our particular standpoint. Mr. Price argues that the concept of 'time' is a secondary quality such as colour, leaving it to the reader to figure out for herself/himself what the primary quality in the case of 'time' might be. (As my inference was influenced by Records of the Future - Classical Entropy, Memory, and the 'Arrow of Time' (Quantum Physics free of Folklore #1), I'll keep silent on this point so as not to spoil the fun of trying to find it out for yourself.)

One of the central questions of the book is how it is possible to reconcile the time-symmetric laws we find in physics with the world we find around us, which appears to have a preferred direction from past to future. In efforts to reach the answer to this question, the first half of the book deals with the categories/phenomena (the so-called 'arrows of time') on which our subjective sense of time relies: the arrow of thermodynamics, the arrow of radiation, the cosmological arrow, the arrow of causation and the arrow of counterfactual dependence. The question now is whether these 'arrows of time' reflect only our anthropocentric view or the real feature of reality. In general, the low-entropy condition of the present and past universe is puzzling and Mr. Price argues that a purely statistical reasoning is unreliable and unsatisfactory because it is in conflict with the prevailing time-symmetric physics and involves unjustified temporal double standards.
In this context, Mr. Price expounds his reflections on the basic dilemma of cosmology, which I found interesting. It seems that we have to accept either Gold's hypothesis that entropy must decrease toward both ends of the Universe, or Penrose's that the low-entropy big bang is simply not explicable by time-symmetric physics unless we were prepared to allow it is just a statistical 'fluke'. The author argues in favor of Thomas Gold's time-symmetric Universe (recollapsing/low entropy at both ends).
What I also found very interesting are Mr. Price's reflections on Wheeler-Feynmann Absorber Theory (according to the author, it involves a misleading concept of temporal asymmetry of radiation) and objections to Hawking's assumption that the Universe has an objective start, failing to apply the statistical arguments and the 'no-boundary' (low-entropy) condition equally both to what we call the big-bang and the supposed big-crunch, putting thus asymmetry in his theory 'by hand'.

The second half of the book deals with the asymmetry of the principle of μInnocence (common past hypothesis at the microscopic level) and our intuitive view of cause-effect relation. Mr. Price proposes that causal asymmetry might be perspective dependent. What gives us the `causal temporal arrow' is the fact that it is impossible for us, as agents in the world, to reverse the order of things, i.e., to achieve an earlier end(effect) by a later means (cause). We take it for granted that events in the world are independent unless they share some common causal history. In Mr. Price's opinion, QM seems to provide a confirmation against the asymmetry of the principle of μInnocence because it is actually not observable but only reflects our macroscopic view of cause-effect relation.

However, a consequence of abandoning μInnocence is surprising. Mr. Price favors Einstein's view of QM, arguing that the asymmetry of the state function is unproblematic if it is simply an incomplete description of QM. He suspects that Bell thought both the common past hypothesis and the common future hypothesis conflict with our intuitive assumption that experimenters are free to choose measurement settings and that these settings are free variables. Mr. Price thinks "it is fair to say that Bell saw how Einstein could be right about QM, but didn't understand what he saw".

Mr. Price further proposes we might give up Bell's independence assumption and save Einsteinian realism and locality as well as free will. The secret lies in advanced action/backward causation. While the mathematics remains the same, the benefits of the advanced action approach to explain reality at microscopic level are: it avoids nonlocality (faster than light influence can be considered as a backward influence from some inertial frame of reference), denies that a collapse of a wave function corresponds to a real change in the physical system and it does not encounter the measurement problem.

Overall, this book is worth your while if you are intrigued with the subject and prepared to do some hard work.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Signpost Along the Road 14 mars 2011
Par D. Chapman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This is a very good book, but I feel that something is missing.

Imagine if someone in 1820 had written the definitive book about electricity and magnetism: It would have contained all kinds of information about Leyden jars, dynamos, induced current, electro-magnets, compasses, etc. It would not mention the electro-magnetic field, nor would it mention electro-magnetic radiation.

This is not a criticism of the author: No one today could write a complete book on the subject of time, because we still do not really understand it

The author does a good job of covering entropy, causality, and quantum time asymmetry, but I believe that these phenomena are all aspects of the same thing. The scientific and philosophical study of time is still in the stage where we are "collecting stamps", rather like biology was in the period before Darwin.

We are still waiting for an integrated theory of time, which can explain the direction of causality, the non-reversibility of radiation, and all of the other time-asymmetries in one package.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Time flies like an arrow. 24 août 2014
Par I'm not Rappaport - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Fruit flies like an orange.

About the extent of what I got out of this very difficult to read book and I enjoy reading Virginia Wolfe! I know, apples and oranges.

Book has point to make and failed to make it with this reader. Then again I posit that time is little more than an artifact of life and a hindrance to our understanding other dimensional systems. To me time is like gravity as we have no understanding of either beyond that of a facile observer - no ability to create either, control either, modify either ... yet!
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Mostly over my head 22 mai 2013
Par M. Walters - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The author is obviously extremely intelligent and well-versed in his areas of expertise. But he seems to have written this book for a limited audience of people like himself rather than a broader group of more average people who are interested in gaining more insight and understanding concerning the question of the nature of time. Unless a person is an expert in physics as well as philosophy, hopefully there are probably books somewhere more accessible than this one. I certainly will be looking for one.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Go elsewhere for reading on "time" 31 juillet 2014
Par bowonwing - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
For every Einstein, there are tens of thousands of Huw Price's, who somehow think they are like an Einstein. How sad.

Too many places to start- one example is Chapter 7: "Convention Objectified and the Past Unlocked," from the "Overview on page 264:
"The diagnosis of the previous chapter finds attractive expression in terms of the conventional asymmetry of counterfactual conditionals. However, the conventionalist view seems to make the asymmetry of dependance- the fact that the future depends on the past, but not vice versa-insufficiently objective, in two sense: it seems too weak, in making the asymmetry conventional, and too strong, in ruling out backward causation by fiat."

That's right- if you understand what Price just said! Show me one observable system that does not evolve from present to future leaving a past.

Here are some other books on "time" that are highly recommend:

G.J. Whitrow's "The Natural Philosophy of Time," second edition, 1980, does great job of discussing and elucidating these tricky issues of "time." Whitrow's book also presents a wonderful historical perspective of the human concept of "time" throughout the ages.

Also interesting is "chronos," by Etienne Klein, originally published in French in 2003, English translation 2005. This book is a diamond in the ruff which contains some interesting ideas, e.g. footnote 3 (located on p. 168) to Chapter 7, where Klein discusses Albert Le Grand (1200-1280), and Le Grand's statement:
"What depends on the soul is not the existence of time, but the perception of time."

And this to me this what so many people who write and discuss "time" seem to miss. The existence of "time" does not need humans or human "consciousness," "time" existed before humans and will exist after humans are gone. What we struggle with is the perception of "time."

Another good book is "About Time- Einstein's Unfinished Revolution," 1995, by Paul Davies. This book is worth a read.
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