This page features a collection of the best resources on the philosophy of time. Just to be clear, there is no single best resource on time. The best one will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time you want to spend learning about it.
To get started, simply choose one of the links below:
If you want a comprehensive overview of the idea of time:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Time. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 7000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of time:
“What if one day things everywhere ground to a halt? What if birds froze in mid-flight, people froze in mid-sentence, and planets and subatomic particles alike froze in mid-orbit? What if all change, throughout the entire universe, completely ceased for a period of, say, one year? Is such a thing possible?
If the answer to this last question is Yes — if it is possible for there to be a period of time during which nothing changes, anywhere (except, perhaps, for the pure passage of time itself, if there is such a thing) — then it is possible that a worldwide “freeze” will occur between the time you finish reading this sentence and the time you start the next sentence. In fact, if it’s possible for there to be a period of time without change, then it may well be that a million years have passed since you finished reading the last sentence.
The question of whether there could be time without change has traditionally been thought to be closely tied to the question of whether time exists independently of the events that occur in time. . . .”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and and more engaging introduction:
- Read Adrian Bardon’s article: Does Time Pass? [800 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
If you’d like to learn more about philosophy, check out this collection of Resources and Reading Lists.