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Gryb, Sean; Thébault, Karim P. Y. (2013): Time Remains.
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How should one understand the implications of general covariance for the role of time in classical theories of gravity? On one popular view, the essential lesson is that change is relational in a strong sense, such that all it is for a physical degree of freedom to change is for it to vary with regard to a second physical degree of freedom. At a quantum level, this view of change as relative variation leads to a fundamentally timeless formalism for quantum gravity, with the universe eternally frozen in an energy eigenstate. Here we will start from at different interpretation of the classical theory, and, in doing so, show how one may avoid this acute ‘problem of time’ in quantum gravity. Under our view, duration is still regarded as relative, but temporal succession is taken to be absolute. This approach to the classical theory of gravity forms the basis for an alternative relational quantization methodology, such that it is possible to conceive of a genuinely dynamical theory of quantum gravity within which time, in a substantive sense, remains. This paper accompanies a more technical paper <http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.7139>, with which it may be read in parallel.