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Centre for Time
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Centre for Time

Exploring philosophies of time, physics and metaphysics
Time is central to human life yet remains profoundly mysterious. As St Augustine noted, in analysing time, it slips through our grasp. We conduct multidisciplinary research to help us tighten our grip.

About us

The Centre for Time was established in 2002, supported by the Australian Research Council and the University of Sydney, in conjunction with a Federation Fellowship awarded to Professor Huw Price. Since 2010, the centre has been part of the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science

In 2012, the directors were awarded a John Templeton grant, which facilitated the work of the centre over the next years. Since 2015, we have been funded by a series of Australian Research Council grants in conjunction with the support of the University of Sydney.

In 2013, the Centre for Time, alongside the Philosophy of Time Society and the Centre for the Philosophy of Time together created the International Association for the Philosophy of Time (IAPT). The IAPT brings together researchers from Australasia, Europe, and the US to investigate the nature of time and temporal experience.

The centre has strengths in three main areas:

  • the philosophy and foundations of physics, through which we collaborate with researchers in the University's School of History and Philosphy of Science and the School of Physics within the University of Sydney, and with national and international partners including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada and the Neils Bohr Institute in Denmark
  • metaphysics and the philosophy of time, where we collaborate with international partners at Cambridge University and the University of California
  • the psychology and philosophy of temporal phenomenology, where we collaborate with researchers in the University's School of Psychology and international partners at the University of California and City College of New York.

We welcome visitors interested in any of these topics, and can in some cases offer funding for travel and other expenses.

Some of time's deepest puzzles arise because it isn’t clear from which discipline, across a wide range of intellectual enquiry, it is best investigated. Some aspects belong to physics, but even within physics, there is disagreement about which aspects of the ordinary view of time we should expect to find in physical theory. The Centre for Time has four core aims:

  • to provide the global research community with new clarity about what belongs where, across the academic disciplines, in the study of time
  • to identify specific topics needing cross-disciplinary work – the frontiers in the study of time where specialists in one field need insights from other fields, in order to make progress
  • to seed and advance the needed cross-disciplinary interactions, by bringing together leading specialists in the project of setting the agenda for future research
  • to apply this methodology to make progress on topics which are presently impeded by lack of access to cross-disciplinary perspectives.

The centre's overriding objective is to give researchers from a range of disciplines a deeper understanding of what aspects of the study of time belong to their discipline, and how those aspects both relate to, and are distinct from, the issues that belong to other disciplines. We hope to bring a new clarity to the study of time in its most global sense, and set the agenda for the subject's future.

Our people

The Centre for Time comprises academics and researchers from the University of Sydney and welcomes researchers in various disciplines from throughout Australia and around the world.

Dr Samuel Baron, The University of Western Australia

Dr David Miller, The University of Sydney

Dr Rod Sutherland, The University of Sydney

Dr John Cusbert, Australian National University

Dr Michael Duncan, The University of Sydney

2018

Sam Baron, University of Western Australia

Chaz Firestone, Johns Hopkins

David Glick, Oxford University

Preston Greene, Nanyang Technological University

Peter Lewis, Dartmouth College

Holger Lyre, Otto-von-Guericke-Universitat Magdeburg

Ryohei Nakayama

Anncy Thresher, UC San Diego

Jonathan Tallant, The University of Nottingham

2017

Luisella Balestra

John Broome, Oxford University

Alison Fernandes, Trinity College, Dublin

Simon Friedrich, University College Groningen

Preston Greene, Nanyang Technological University

David Ingram, The University of York

Joe Kable, Pennsylvania University

Elay Shech, Auburn University

Katie Steele, Australian National University

Tuomas Tahko, University of Helsinki, Finland

Jonathan Tallant, The University of Nottingham

2016

Ben Blumson, Singapore National University, Singapore

Nikk Effingham, University of Birmingham, England

Graeme Forbes, University of Kent, England

Sean Power, University College, Cork, Ireland

2015

Helen Beebee, University of Manchester, England

Alison Fernandes, Columbia University, US

Preston Greene, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Meghan Sullivan, University of Notre Dame, US

David Terhune, University of London, England

Christina Van Dyke, Calvin College, US

Adrian Bardon (Wake Forest)

Sam Baron (UWA)

Helen Beebee (Manchester)

Ben Blumson (Singapore)

David Braddon-Mitchell (Sydney)

Mark Burgmann (Melbourne)

Craig Callender (UCSD)

Stephen Cheung (Sydney)

Mark Colyvan (Sydney)

John Cusbert (Oxford)

Vinayak Dixit (UNSW)

Michael Duncan (Sydney)

Hilary Greaves (Oxford)

Justin Harris (Sydney)

Hal Hershfield (UCLA)

Ulrich Meyer (Colgate)

Nicholas Smith (Sydney)

Jonathan Tallant (Nottingham)

Guiliano Torrengo (Milan)    

Agnieszka Tymula (Sydney)

Our events

The Centre for Time regularly hosts symposiums, guest lectures and conferences, as well as attending conferences in Australia and around the world. 

June 2016

Third annual meeting of the International Association for the Philosophy of Time

Held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US; a joint project of the Philosophy of Time Society (United States), the Centre for Time (Australia) and the Centre for Philosophy of Time (Italy)

July 2014

Free Will and Retrocausality in a Quantum World: Why retrocausality – and why free will?

We explored the proposed retrocausal explanation of the results of the 'weak measurement' by Aharonov, Vaidman and others; retrocauslity and the viability of an 'epistemic' interpretation of the quantum state; and retrocasuality in QM, time-symmetry and other symmetries.

August 2014

Lars Boenke, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology

Spontaneous oscillatory dynamics in α and β-band power during a spatialised auditory and visual temporal order judgment task – a challenge for the "gating through inhibition" framework.

November 2014

Probabilty and time travel 

Is time travel possible? How likely are causal loops, such as travelling into the past to give your earlier self blueprints for a time machine? Any chance of killing your grandfather and preventing your own existence? These workshops drew on both physics and philosophy.

Director

Headshot of Associate Professor Kristie Miller
Associate Professor Kristie Miller
View Associate Professor Miller's academic profile

Director

Associate Professor Alex Holcombe

Director

Professor Dean Rickles

Contact us

Address
  • Department of Philosophy, Main Quad A14, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, AUSTRALIA