Published Research - Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



Published in Foundations of Physics volume 53, Article number: 76 (2023). doi:10.1007/s10701-023-00718-6


Used by permission.


Intuitively, the totality of physical reality – the Cosmos – has a beginning only if (i) all parts of the Cosmos agree on the direction of time (the Direction Condition) and (ii) there is a boundary to the past of all non-initial spacetime points such that there are no spacetime points to the past of the boundary (the Boundary Condition). Following a distinction previously introduced by J. Brian Pitts, the Boundary Condition can be conceived of in two distinct ways: either topologically, i.e., in terms of a closed boundary, or metrically, i.e., in terms of the Cosmos having a finite past. This article proposes that the Boundary Condition should be posed disjunctively, modifies and improves upon the metrical conception of the Cosmos’s beginning in light of a series of surprising yet simple thought experiments, and suggests that the Direction and Boundary Conditions should be thought of as more fundamental to the concept of the Cosmos’s beginning than classical Big Bang cosmology