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Introducing Time: A Graphic Guide

30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1848311206
ISBN-10: 1848311206
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Craig Callander teaches philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.

Ralph Edney is a well-established graphic artist whose other introducing titles include Relativity.

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Product Details

  • Series: Introducing
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848311206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848311206
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.8 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By J. Wisdom on June 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
The nature of time is a difficult subject. Fortunately, Craig Callender (dig the name!) has made the subject (or at least the most relevant views and issues) easier to understand in this superb little book. He begins by surveying what may be considered different types of time, including our psychological experience of temporal succession, measured time, and biological time. He then covers the difference between an absolutist (i.e., temporal succession is independent of any change in the universe) and a relational view (i.e., time just *is* change in the universe), as well as the discussion over whether time really has a direction, or whether or not reality is a space-time 'block' whose moments are individuated by an entity's location on the space-time block. In doing so, Callender surveys various arguments for or against these views, and he discusses even more intuitively odd scenarios such as backward causation and time travel. The last third or so of the book deals with time and its relation to physical laws, such as the entropy law. In treating the subject, Callender introduces the reader to all sorts of odd theoretical entities like wormholes, lightcones, and mobius twists in time. All in all, this is a great book for anyone interested in thinking a bit about what, exactly, time *is*. It is especially useful as a precursor to more academic works like MacBeath and LePoidevin's anthology, The Philosophy of Time.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By OverTheMoon on November 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Introducing Time is one of the Introducing series most popular selections. For an Introducing book it is also one of the most detailed, thought provoking, wide-ranging and heady science volumes around. If you want to know anything about time then Introducing Time does just that and then some more, but be prepared for lots of difficult diverse thinking.

In most cases the first 100 pages will be more than enough for most people and the Introducing series could easily have made this book 200 pages long with that material alone but instead has condensed the opening philosophical thought on time into a shorter amount and goes straight into Einstein, relativity, lots on time travel and a great finish on entropy. Most of these topics are actually books in their own right such as Introducing Relativity and Introducing Einstein so Introducing Time really is good value for money.

If you are thinking about starting a collection of science titles from the Introducing series then you would do well to get this book or add it to your collection for two reasons. First of all, Introducing Time includes the best explanation of Boltzmann's statistical mechanics and entropy I have read anywhere. It could be worth it for that alone. You may not expect entropy to have such an impact on the topic of time and that can be a very nice surprise when reading that it does. The second is really just the breath of the coverage that time gets in this book. Even those who have read Stephen Hawking's `A brief history of time' will come away from this one with a whole lot more than thought possible.
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Format: Paperback
Time is a concept that all humans have a fundamental grasp of. We all know that there is a direction to the events of our lives and that once an event happens, to the best of our knowledge it will always have happened. We break it down into units of years, days, hours, and minutes and in the last minute of some sporting events, tenths of seconds. However, when we really try to get a precise intellectual handle on it, time becomes fuzzy and it is very difficult to be precise. The passage of time is also relative to the situation; a few minutes in a dentist chair can appear to be much longer, yet a few hours with our true love can seem like minutes.

In this book, Callender and Edney describe some of the attempts by scientists and philosophers to precisely define what time is. Some argue that to be logically consistent, time cannot exist. That of course seems absurd, whatever else we may know, at least locally, time does have an existence and a direction. Newton, Einstein, Godel and others have refined the concept, Einstein in particular demonstrated that the passage of time is slowed when the objects are traveling at high rates of speed. Although the authors do an excellent job using cartoons and other visual devices, the true nature of time is a difficult topic. Like the apparent fate of the universe, in the end, time simply comes down to an overall increase in entropy, for that is the way we recognize the passage of time.

This is an excellent book about an apparently simple, yet very complex subject. Time is a subject that we all think we know, until we really start to think about it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Regan VINE VOICE on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Introducing Time starts off with Aristotle's view on time then goes on to talk about many philosophical and scientific views of time. It includes Newton's absolute time, Einstein's special and general relativity as they relate to time, including Godel Universes, and also Boltzman's statistical mechanics based view of time. All in all a lot of information in such a short book.
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