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Thread: Can you answer the most fundamental question about time?

  1. Top | #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Again you are using the wird time without any definition.
    Eh, at this juncture, even a scientific definition of the word “time” is consistent with how I’m currently using the word.

    You are inferring time has a reality of its own yes or no?
    Yes and no. In philosophy, the word, “reality” is ambiguous.

    There are some people who will say that we each have our own reality. To me, that is a convoluted way of saying that we each have our own vantage points and perceptions of reality. Time is not some conscious entity that has perceptions of other things, so no, time does not have a reality of its own in that personifying way.

    But, time is real, and by that, I mean it’s not imaginary. It exists. It also exists independent of human minds. Time elapsed between the formation of earth and it’s first tree. Time, though not a physical thing itself, it’s a real phenomena in nature. So, if by “reality of it’s own” you mean it’s real, then yes, but I’m also saying it’s real even in the absence of someone to observe and measure it.

    Change exists we observe it.
    I agree.

    Objects are in motion, and because that is so, change is amongst us, or as you put it, change exists; however, although it’s true that we observe it, that wouldn’t mean objects wouldn’t be in motion unless we observed it. In fact, if it wasn’t already true that objects were in motion, we couldn’t have observed it.

    Without humans time does not exist.
    I disagree.

    Without humans, there would be no observation of the movement of objects, but surely (like I just covered) there is the movement of objects whether we are here to observe and measure or not. Also, time and our concept of time are two totally different things. Without humans, the human abstract mental concept of time doesn’t exist, but without humans, time is a real dimension inherent to our universe that is there for the observing; where I disagree with science is on whether we can directly measure what time really is; I had no idea science propagated the idea that where there is no human conception of time there was no time. That sounds like a misrepresentation of scientific espousal—not intentionally of course.

    The universe exists without clocks.
    Lots of laughs. I hope what you mean to say is that no clocks were in existence before man came along and invented them. Either way, close or not, the universe exists, and within it, there are clocks. Time does not depend on the existence of clocks.

    The moon exists regardless of how we conceptualize and name it.
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    Before I move on, I’d like to expound upon the subject of referring terms. It’s rather simple overall, but there is something that does raise some eyebrows. It’s a convention we use, yes, but it’s for communication purposes.

    There are referring terms, and there are non-referring terms. That’s it; just two things.

    Referring terms either succeed or they fail. So, we have three things to consider:

    1) referring terms that succeed
    2) referring terms that fail
    3) non-referring terms

    A lot of people confuse the hell out of 2 and 3

    A non-referring term is a term where there’s no chance of instantiation. Words like “of” and “although” have meaning, but they have no referent.

    The word, “unicorn” isn’t a non-referring term, as an instance of a unicorn would make the term succeed.

    Think of it like archery. You can shoot and hit, shoot and miss, or not shoot at all.

    The term “God” is a referring term. Whether it succeeds or fails has been debated for centuries, but it’s certainly not a non-referring term.

    Movement isn’t itself an object but its a real phenomenon, so although you cannot hit it with an arrow, it’s either a phenomena that exists or doesn’t. I say time does exist. The issue we shouldn’t be having is whether it exists independent of man but whether or not it exists independent of movement. That’s where my qualm lies.

    Unless you have an explicit alternative view time is a label we create to describe change.
    What I believe you mean to say is that the word “time” is a label we create to describe change.

    And yes, I do have an alternative view. We directly measure change and change is not time but rather what we measure to tell time. If you take away change, however, it’s what we measure that has been taken away, not time itself; it just means there’s no readily measurement for it.

    Perhaps you are conflating subjective perception and sensation of the experience of change in the day with something else? You take your perceptions as reality?
    Nope, not doing any of that stuff.

  2. Top | #32
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    And that is the problem with philosophy and why modern model based science left philosophy and Natural Philosophy behind.

    In the intro to History Of Philosophy Diran said something like that which can be quantified is science, the rest is philosophy and religion. When it becomes quantifiable philosophy(metaphysics) becomes science. That is my general view.

    The problem with metaphysics is there can be no precise definitions. Time can mean most anything. You can have elaborate discussion around the word without ever defining it or resolving anything.

    If you say maybe time is an independent reality then I would challenge you to flesh it out. Anyone can speculate.

    What separates physics and metaphysics is the System International units of which time is a part, the second. All things scientific reduce to SI units. It is unambiguous and not open to interpretation. You can call physics based on SI units as metaphysics tied to physical reference points. SI is a metaphysical system, abstractions tied to reality.

  3. Top | #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    When it becomes quantifiable philosophy(metaphysics) becomes science. That is my general view.
    But when IT isn’t physical and you choose to measure IT by what is physical, then although you’re measuring IT, you’re doing so INDIRECTLY and thus not DIRECTLY. So, if you focus on what is being observed and measured DIRECTLY, it’s not IT but something else. Time is IT, and yes, you’re measuring IT, but directly, you’re not measuring IT; instead, you’re measuring something ELSE other than it-in terms of what you’re DIRECTLY measuring.

    The problem with metaphysics is there can be no precise definitions. Time can mean most anything. You can have elaborate discussion around the word without ever defining it or resolving anything.
    Science sets out to directly measure time, but time is not something that can be directly measured. It has to be done indirectly, for science cannot directly measure what cannot be directly measured. So, they find a proxy that can be directly measured (objects in motion). That, they can directly measure. By doing so, they are indirectly measuring time, but still, they are not directly measuring time, for they cannot directly measure it. This works fine for the most part, but we ought not conflate one for the other because the hypothetical disappearance of the proxy doesn’t infer the disappearance of what the proxy is a proxy for. To alter definitions of “time” to fit what is being indirectly measured is a straw man. What is IT is always what it is, so it’s a mislabeling transference in progress by science. Continually propagating the idea that the proxy for time is time itself is the underlying root cause for the evolutionary change in the meaning of “time,” but the referent of what was originally referred to as time does not alter in lockstep with its meaning.

    If you say maybe time is an independent reality then I would challenge you to flesh it out. Anyone can speculate.
    Objects move. That doesn’t require us for that that to be so. That need not be observed. It need not be measured. No mental awareness is required. No mental concept has to have evolved. We need not whisper a word and speak of labels. Objects move. Science says objects move and therefore time exists—basically. You should be on board with that.

    What I’m doing is going even further. I’m saying time exists whether objects move or not. Objects moving is just what we directly measure to indirectly measure time.

  4. Top | #34
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    fast

    You are still talking around the question with a bit of hand waving and misdirection.

    Define what you mean by time.
    'Time is...'

    If you can't just say so. I expect it is not a trivial task. You have to create a metaphysical system of concepts and have it logically consistent.

    I am goal oriented. It is hard for me to have extended debate without an end goal.

  5. Top | #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    fast

    You are still talking around the question with a bit of hand waving and misdirection.

    Define what you mean by time.
    'Time is...'

    If you can't just say so. I expect it is not a trivial task. You have to create a metaphysical system of concepts and have it logically consistent.

    I am goal oriented. It is hard for me to have extended debate without an end goal.
    I’ve been reflecting on this, and you’re right; it’s no trivial task.

    One of the things I typically avoid is the defining of terms, and the reason is because I prefer to use established meanings already in collective use, but as I ponder how I would go about creating a definition, I find myself trying to describe the referent of the notion I think the word “time” actually refers to historically.

    Although I’m trying to piece a concise definition together that doesn’t resemble an essay, here’s one by philosopher Adolf Grünbaum that avoids a lot of baggage: a linear continuum of instants

  6. Top | #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    fast

    You are still talking around the question with a bit of hand waving and misdirection.

    Define what you mean by time.
    'Time is...'

    If you can't just say so. I expect it is not a trivial task. You have to create a metaphysical system of concepts and have it logically consistent.

    I am goal oriented. It is hard for me to have extended debate without an end goal.
    I’ve been reflecting on this, and you’re right; it’s no trivial task.

    One of the things I typically avoid is the defining of terms, and the reason is because I prefer to use established meanings already in collective use, but as I ponder how I would go about creating a definition, I find myself trying to describe the referent of the notion I think the word “time” actually refers to historically.

    Although I’m trying to piece a concise definition together that doesn’t resemble an essay, here’s one by philosopher Adolf Grünbaum that avoids a lot of baggage: a linear continuum of instants
    'Time as a continuum of instants' is a good metaphor, but we end up in semantics again. What is an instant? Time flies wen you are having fun is also a good metaphor and is also philosophical. I do not think philosophy can define time, but it can speculate on useful concepts. Philosophy can be useful.

    In quantum physics there is a theoretical smallest time interval. Based on that you could say time is a sequence of discrete instants.

  7. Top | #37
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    It’s my stance that time is a continuous temporal dimension that persists independent of objects in motion.

    Science can measure time but only by proxy. Science has co-opted the term “time” and reapplied it to what they can measure. So, when science lays claim to being able to measure ‘time’, I agree. They can not only measure actual time, but they can also measure what they call time. But, what they cannot directly measure is the dimension itself, for it’s not the kind of thing that can be measured directly.

    We can measure time. We just need something that keeps a perfect beat. That can be our measure for a unit of time, but taking away our ability to measure doesn’t rid us of what we’re looking to measure.

  8. Top | #38
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    I think I see the disconnect I am having. It is semantics and the terms define and describe.

    For me deifying time is developing an identity. The second.

    Philosophy can not and does not define time, it can devote ways off looking at and perceiving time. IOW metaphysics.

    There is no conflict, the scope is different.

  9. Top | #39
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    The second is a unit of time, but the referent of the word “second” however isn’t some thing we directly measure that allows us to know a second of time has passed. Yes, the thing we measure allows us to know a second has passed, but the second isn’t the thing. The second is the actual unit of time that corresponds with what’s measured.

    We may have invented the term, “second,” but we did not invent the second. That is an actual temporal length. We can divide time up in whatever lengths we choose, but it’s already there for the dividing. We can take the temporal change between any two points and give it a name because all the points are there.

  10. Top | #40
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    So what are units on frisbee scale of time? Remember it has to compensate for all change of direction over interval.

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