Re: Permutation City

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 09:04:21 MDT

At 04:50 PM 19/04/00 +0200, Anders

>> Read Julian Barbour's THE END OF TIME for what actually looks rather like a
>> dust model meant utterly seriously.
>I haven't read Babour yet, but his theory seems to be very similar.
>What I don't get is how he explains the emergence of causal-like

I might have posted a very brief review of his book some time back, in
which I brutally and inadequately summarised the idea:


If Barbour is right, the universal landscape is best described as Platonia
[...] a complete collection of `snapshots' of possible universes,
arrangements of all the things in the universe at a single instant. The
simplest state is Alpha, perhaps corresponding to the Big Bang. More
complex arrangements pile up in a heap, and paths can be drawn through
those most compatible with each other, in a sequence of `best matches',
like a jigsaw puzzle. Quantum theory tells us which instants are most
probable. The likeliest path through those instants is, in some sense, our

Then where does our sense of onward-rolling time, of cause and effect,
emerge? It is a very great puzzle, and one that independent scholar Barbour
struggles to resolve. [...] Each instant contains a sort of fossil record
of its neighbour, creating an illusion of time's passage. I don't believe
it for a moment, but it's a mind-boggling notion.



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