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Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers, and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausality in Relativistic Spacetimes
     

Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers, and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausality in Relativistic Spacetimes

by John Earman
 

ISBN-10: 019509591X

ISBN-13: 9780195095913

Pub. Date: 11/28/1995

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Almost from its inception, Einstein's general theory of relativity was known to sanction spacetime models harboring singularities. Until the 1960s, however, spacetime singularities were thought to be artifacts of the idealizations of the models. This attitude evaporated in the face of a series of theorems, due largely to Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, which

Overview

Almost from its inception, Einstein's general theory of relativity was known to sanction spacetime models harboring singularities. Until the 1960s, however, spacetime singularities were thought to be artifacts of the idealizations of the models. This attitude evaporated in the face of a series of theorems, due largely to Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, which showed that Einstein's general theory implies that singularities can be expected to occur in a wide variety of conditions in both gravitational collapse and in cosmology. In the light of these results some physicists adopted the attitude that, since spacetime singularities are intolerable, general relativity contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Others hoped that peaceful coexistence with singularities could be achieved by proving a form of Roger Penrose's cosmic censorship hypothesis, which would place singularities safely inside black holes. Whatever the attitude one adopts toward spacetime singularities, it is evident that they raise a number of foundational problems for physics and have profound implications for the philosophy of space and time. However, philosophers of science have been slow to awaken to the significance of these developments. Indeed, this is the first serious book-length study of the subject by a philosopher of science. It features an overview of the literature on singularities, as well as an analytic commentary on their significance to a number of scientific and philosophical issues.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195095913
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/1995
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.12(d)

Table of Contents

1.Introducing Spacetime Singularities and Acausalities3
1.1Introduction3
1.2Spacetime singularities: In the beginning5
1.3Einstein's intolerance of singularities11
1.4Acausality and time travel21
1.5Singularities and acausalities together22
2.Defining, Characterizing, and Proving the Existence of Spacetime Singularities27
2.1Introduction27
2.2What is a spacetime singularity?28
2.3Extensions of Spacetimes31
2.4The received definition of singularities33
2.5The missing missing points40
2.6Naked singularities44
2.7What is a spacetime singularity (again)?46
2.8Singularity theorems50
2.9Singularities and quantum effects56
2.10Conclusion58
2.Cosmic Censorship64
3.1Introduction64
3.2Cozying up to singularities65
3.3Naked singularities and cosmic censorship67
3.4The cosmic censorship hypothesis80
3.5Is the cosmic censorship hypothesis true?86
3.6Black hole evaporation90
3.7What if cosmic censorship should fail?92
3.8A dirty open secret97
3.9Conclusion98
4.Supertasks103
4.1Introduction103
4.2Pitowsky spacetimes105
4.3Malament-Hogarth spacetimes107
4.4Paradoxes regained?108
4.5Characterization of Malament-Hogarth spacetimes110
4.6Supertasks in Malament-Hogarth spacetimes114
4.7Malament-Hogarth spacetimes and unresolved mathematical conjectures116
4.8Can [gamma subscript 1] carry out the assigned task?119
4.9Conclusion119
AppendixProofs of Lemma 4.2 and Equation 4.4120
5.The Big Bang and the Horizon Problem124
5.1Introduction124
5.2Observability and light cones125
5.3What can we predict about the future?128
5.4Event and particle horizons130
5.5What is the horizon problem?134
5.6Reichenbach's principle of common cause135
5.7Particle horizons and common causes137
5.8Diagnosing the bellyache: Electromagnetism140
5.9Diagnosing the bellyache: Cosmic background radiation142
5.10Strategies for solving the horizon problem147
5.11Horizons in standard and inflationary models150
5.12Does inflation solve the horizon problem?152
5.13Conclusion155
6.Time Travel160
6.1Introduction160
6.2Types of time travel; backward causation161
6.3The causal structure of relativistic spacetimes164
6.4Why take Godelian time travel seriously?167
6.5The paradoxes of time travel170
6.6Consistency constraints173
6.7Therapies for time travel malaise175
6.8Non self-interacting test fields179
6.9Self-interacting test fields183
6.10Can we build and operate a time machine?188
6.11Conclusion193
AppendixGodel on the ideality of time194
7.Eternal Recurrence, Cyclic Time, and All That203
7.1Introduction203
7.2Tolman on eternal recurrence204
7.3Extending through the big bang and the big crunch205
7.4Finding God in the big bang207
7.5No recurrence theorems210
7.6Cyclic time213
7.7Conclusion218
8.Afterword223
References228
Index247

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