On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity

Jeremy Butterfield and Chris Isham

in The Arguments of Time

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263464
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734748 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

On the Emergence of Time in Quantum Gravity

Show Summary Details


This chapter discusses the idea that the treatment of time in present-day physical theories, general relativity and quantum theory, might be an approximation to a very different treatment in the as yet unknown quantum theory of gravity. It considers the general idea that one theory could be emergent from another, emergence being a relation analogous to, but weaker than, intertheoretic reduction. It also gives a broad description of the search for a quantum theory of gravity and some of its interpretative problems. Thereafter, the discussion focuses on the emergence of time in two specific quantum gravity programmes: quantum geometrodynamics and the Euclidean programme. It also addresses the so-called ‘problem of time’. It is really a cluster of problems; technical and conceptual, arising from how time is treated very differently in general relativity and quantum theory.

Keywords: quantum gravity; general relativity; Euclidean programme; quantum geometrodynamics; quantum theory; problem of time

Chapter.  24951 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at British Academy »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.