Journal Article

Dust, Time and Symmetry

Gordon Belot

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 56, issue 2, pages 255-291
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Dust, Time and Symmetry

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Two symmetry arguments are discussed, each purporting to show that there is no more room for a preferred division of spacetime into instants of time in general relativistic cosmology than in Minkowski spacetime. The first argument is due to Gödel, and concerns the symmetries of his famous rotating cosmologies. The second turns upon the symmetries of a certain space of relativistic possibilities. Both arguments are found wanting.


Symmetry arguments

Gödel's argument

3.1 Time in special relativity

3.2 Time in the standard cosmological models

3.3 Time in Gödel's stationary rotating solutions

3.4 Gödel's argument for the significance of these results

3.5 Is Gödel's argument successful?

Another argument

4.1 Time-translation invariance in classical mechanics

4.2 Time-translation invariance in general relativity?

4.3 Time-translation invariance in dust cosmology

4.4 Is this second argument successful?


Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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