David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
1. Introduction: The problems of time and consciousness What is time? St. Augustine remarked that when no one asked him, he knew what time was; however when someone asked him, he did not. Is time a process which flows? Is time a dimension in which processes occur? Does time actually exist? The notion that time is a process which "flows" directionally may be illusory (the "myth of passage") for if time did flow it would do so in some medium or vessel (e.g. minutes per what?) . But if time is a dimension in which processes occurred, e.g. as one component of a 4 dimensional spacetime, then why would processes occur unidirectionally in time? Yet we perceive time as an orderly, unidirectional process. An alternative explanation is that time does not exist as either a process or dimension, but that reality is a collage of discrete, disconnected and haphazardly arranged configurations of the universe, e.g. as described in Julian Barbour's "The end of time" . In this view our perception of a unidirectional flow of time occurs because each moment, or "Now" as Barbour terms them, involves memory of other conceptually relevant moments, and the orderly flow of time is an illusion. Barbour's deconstruction of time contrasts the Newtonian reality of objects moving deterministically through 4 dimensional spacetime. Newton's contemporary (and rival) Leibniz  viewed the world in a manner consistent with Barbour (and with Mach's principle that the spatiotemporal structure of the universe is dependent on the distribution of mass, a foundation of Einstein's general relativity). According to Leibniz the world is to be understood not as matter/mass moving in a framework of space and time, but of more fundamental snapshot-like entities that momentarily fuse space and matter into single possible arrangements or configurations of the entire universe. Such configurations, which can be fabulously rich and complex considering the vastness of the universe, are the ultimate "things" of reality, which Leibniz termed "monads"..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Steven Frederick Savitt (ed.) (1995). Time's Arrows Today: Recent Physical and Philosophical Work on the Direction of Time. Cambridge University Press.
John D. Norton, What Can We Learn About the Ontology of Space and Time From the Theory of Relativity?
Alexey Kryukov (2004). On the Problem of Emergence of Classical Space—Time: The Quantum-Mechanical Approach. Foundations of Physics 34 (8):1225-1248.
D. H. Mellor (1981). Real Time. Cambridge University Press.
Robin Le Poidevin (2003). Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads145 ( #9,004 of 1,696,586 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #186,867 of 1,696,586 )
How can I increase my downloads?