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The Observatory

Gerald Whitrow

The Natural Philosophy of Time

There's one subject of study which is of concern to everyone - we are all students of Time. In The Natural Philosophy of Time G. J. Whitrow gives a wide ranging look at different aspects of this subject. One problem I found with the breadth of coverage was that arguments could not be developed in full - I sometimes felt that the author was being a bit dogmatic. In other parts he just seemed to be reporting the results of others, although this isn't necessarily a problem - with the extensive bibliographies for each chapter the book is a useful resource for those wanting to study an aspect in more detail.

The book was originally published in 1961, with the second edition in 1980, and seemed rather old-fashioned to me (but that's one reason I chose to read it) It divides roughly into two parts (and it might have been better as two books). The first looks at time from the point of view of living things. The chapter Human Time deals with memory and our perception of the passage of time, while Biological Time looks at biological clocks. The second part is more concerned with time in the abstract, for instance Zeno's paradoxes in Mathematical time and relativity, cosmology and reversibility in the following chapters. One thing I found of particular interest was Whitrow's axiomatizations of time ordering and of special relativity.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 410 pages  
ISBN: 0198582129
Salesrank: 2383372
Weight:1.65 lbs
Published: 1980 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from $68.39:Used from $7.41
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 410 pages  
ISBN: 0198582153
Salesrank: 2404208
Weight:1.46 lbs
Published: 1982 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from £135.16:Used from £46.38
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 410 pages  
ISBN: 0198582129
Salesrank: 1966029
Weight:1.65 lbs
Published: 1980 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 208.45:Used from CDN$ 5.50
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