Logo Università degli Studi di Milano

Department of


2016-2017: II Semester: The Structure of Time, Divisibility and Causation  

Phd School in Philosophy and Human Sciences

A.A. 2016-2017


The Structure of Time, Divisibility and Causation

Lecturer: prof Daniel Nolan  (Notre Dame) and prof. Sara Bernstein (Notre Dame)


This course will discuss questions about the structure of time, including the prospects for a discrete theory of time, as well as different forms of infinite divisibility time might have. Questions about time are also fruitfully explored by thinking about time travel. The course will examine the differences between various models of time travel, and the prospects for time travel within different theories of time.

Session 1: 'Continuous Time and Gunky Time' (Mon. 5th June, h. 14:30-17:30)
Session 2: 'Discrete Time and Discrete Spacetime' (Tue. 6th June, h. 10:30-13:30)
Session 3: 'Time Travel and Spatial Continuity' (Tue. 6th June, h. 15:00-18:00)
Session 4: 'Time Travel and Theories of Time' (Wed. 7 June, h. 10:30-13:30)

Reading List.
1) Continuous Time and Gunky Time (Mon. 5th June, h. 14:30-17:30)
-- Grünbaum, 'Zeno's Metrical Paradox of Extension'
-- Arntzenius & Hawthorne, 'Gunk and Continuous Variation'

2) Discrete Time and Discrete Spacetime (Tue. 6th June, h. 10:30-13:30)
-- Forrest, 'Is Space-Time Discrete or Continuous? An Empirical Question'
-- Braddon-Mitchell & Miller, 'The Physics of Extended Simples'
-- Nolan, 'Finite Quantities'

3) Time Travel and Spatial Continuity (Tue. 6th June, h. 15:00-18:00)
-- Grey, 'Troubles with Time Travel'
-- Le Poidevin, 'The Cheshire Cat Problem and Other Spatial Obstacles to Backwards Time Travel'
-- Bernstein, 'Nowhere Man: Time Travel and Spatial Location'

4) Time Travel and Theories of Time (Wed. 7 June, h. 10:30-13:30)
-- van Inwagen, 'Changing the Past'
-- Bernstein, 'Time Travel and the Movable Present'
-- Keller & Nelson, 'Presentists Should Believe in Time Travel'

NB. All the readings for the class are available in a shared folder on Dropbox. Please contact Samuele Iaquinto (samuele.iaquinto@unimi.it), for the access to the folder.

The Phd Course will be followed by two talks by Nolan and Bernstein:

CPT Time Methods Colloquia:

Daniel Nolan, 'Time and Parsimony' (Thu. 8th June, h. 16:00-18:00, in Sala Paci).

Sara Bernstein, 'Temporal Passage and Time Travel' (Fri. 9th June, h. 15:00-17:00, in Sala Paci).
-- Sara's talk will be followed by a roundtable on time travel with Giuliano Torrengo (h. 17:00-18:00).

Everybody is welcome!

Back to top