I attempt to show, via considering Schlesinger’s device of putting the word ‘now’ in capitals, that the transient view of time can explicate temporal extensivity without presupposing it, and the static view can’t. The argument hinges on the point that duration is generated by continuance of the present—such that ‘the present’ here is used in a nontechnical, nonindexical, and nonreflexive sense, which Schlesinger and others unknowingly give to the word ‘now’ (by “NOW” or “Now” or “’now’”).
It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect (...) to moral discourse and moral reality. This new position retains the advantages of theories like moral realism and naturalism, yet is immune to many of their difficulties. (shrink)
Extending on an earlier paper [Found. Phys. Ltt., 16(4) 343–355, (2003)], it is argued that instants of time and the instantaneous (including instantaneous relative position) do not actually exist. This conclusion, one which is also argued to represent the correct solution to Zeno’s motion paradoxes, has several implications for modern physics and for our philosophical view of time, including that time and space cannot be quantized; that contrary to common interpretation, motion and change are compatible with the (...) “block” universe and relativity; and that time, space, and space-time too, cannot exist. Instead, motion and change become the major players. (shrink)
Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of (...)time does have causal powers : Sydney Shoemaker's (1969) possible world where temporal vacua (allegedly) take place. I shall argue that Shoemaker's thought-experiment doesn't really aim at teaching us that there can be time without change, but rather that if such a scenario is plausible at all (as I think it is) it provides us with good reasons to think that mere passage of time can be directly causally efficient. (shrink)
Owing to intensive development of the theory of self-organization of complex systems called also synergetics, profound changes in our notions of time occur. Whereas at the beginning of the 20th century, natural sciences, by picking up the general spirit of Einstein's theory of relativity, consider a geometrization as an ideal, i.e. try to represent time and force interactions through space and the changes of its properties, nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century, time turns to be (...) in the focus of attention. It turns to be possible to represent space through time, because synergetics shows that historical and evolutionary stages of development of a complex structure can be found now, in its present spatial configuration. A whole series of paradoxical notions, such as “the influence of the future upon the present”, a “possibility of touching of a rather remote future today”, “availability of the past and the future now, in praesenti”, “irreversibility and elements of reversibility in the course of evolutionary processes in time”, “discrete unites, quanta of time”, appear in synergetics. (shrink)
This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance (...) theory says that objects persist through time by being wholly present at distinct times as numerically the same entity. Instead of endurantism, it has been argued, we have to adopt either ‘perdurantism’ or the ‘stage theory’. Perdurantism is the theory that objects are four-dimensional ‘space-time worms’ persisting through time by having distinct temporal parts at distinct times. The stage theory says that objects are instantaneous temporal parts (stages) of space-time worms, persisting by having distinct temporal counterparts at distinct times. In the thesis, it is argued that no good arguments have been provided for the conclusion that we are obliged to drop the endurance theory by acceptance of the B-theory. This conclusion stands even if the endurance theory incorporates the claim that objects endure through intrinsic change. It is also shown that perdurantism and the stage theory come with unwelcome consequences. -/- Paper I demonstrates that the main arguments for the view that objects cannot endure in B-time intrinsically unchanged fail. Papers II and III do the same with respect to the traditional arguments against endurance through intrinsic change in B-time. Paper III also contains a detailed account of the semantics of the tenseless copula, which occurs frequently in the debate. The contention of Paper IV is that four-dimensional space-time worms, as traditionally understood, are not suited to take dispositional predicates. In Paper V, it is shown that the stage theory needs to introduce an overabundance of persistence-concepts, many of which will have to be simultaneously applicable to a single object (qua falling under a single sortal), in order for the theory to be consistent. The final article, Paper VI, investigates the sense in which persistence can, as is sometimes suggested, be a ‘conventional matter’. It also asks whether alleged cases of ‘conventional persistence’ create trouble for the endurance theory. It is argued that conventions can only enter at a trivial semantic level, and that the endurance theory is no more threatened by such conventions than are its rivals. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as "a relic of a bygone age." This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘ (...) class='Hi'>time symmetry’ of fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)
This paper outlines some key issues that arise when agency and temporality are considered jointly, from the perspective of psychology, cognitive neuroscience, phenomenology, and action theory. I address the difference between time simpliciter and time as represented as it figures in phenomena like intentional binding, goal-oriented action plans, emulation systems, and ‘temporal agency’. An examination of Husserl’s account of time consciousness highlights difficulties in generalizing his account to include a substantive notion of agency, a weakness inherited by (...) explanatory projects like neurophenomenology. I conclude by sketching a project analogous to the projects in neurophenomenology, based on Thompson’s naïve action theory. (shrink)
Time is a fundamental dimension of consciousness. Many studies of the “sense of agency” have investigated whether we attribute actions to ourselves based on a conscious experience of intention occurring prior to action, or based on a reconstruction after the action itself has occurred. Here, we ask the same question about a lower level aspect of action experience, namely awareness of the detailed spatial form of a simple movement. Subjects reached for a target, which unpredictably jumped to the (...) side on some trials. Participants (1) expressed their expectancy of a target shift during the upcoming movement, (2) pointed at the target as quickly and accurately as possible before returning to the start posiment to the target shift if required and (3) reproduced the spatial path of the movement they had just made, as accurately as possible, to give an indication of their awareness of the pointing movement. We analysed the spatial disparity between the initial and the reproduced movements on those with a target shift. A negative disparity value, or undershoot, suggests that motor awareness merely reflects a sluggish record of coordinated motor performance, while a positive value, or overshoot, suggests that participants’ intention to point to the shifting target contributes more to their awareness of action than their actual pointing movement. Undershoot and overshoot thus measure the reconstructive (motoric) and the preconstuctive (intentional) aspects of action awareness, respectively. We found that trials on which subjects strongly expected a target shift showed greater overshoot and less undershoot than trials with lower expectancy. Conscious expectancy therefore strongly influences the experience of the detailed motor parameters of our actions. Further, a delay inserted either between the expectancy judgement and the pointing movement, or between the pointing movement and the reproduction of the movement, had no effect on visuomotor adjustment but strongly influenced action awareness. Delays during either interval boosted undershoots, suggesting increased reliance on a time-limited sensory memory for action. The experience of action is thus strongly influenced by prior thoughts and expectations, but only over a short time period. Thus, awareness of our actions is a dynamic and relatively flexible mixture of what we intend to do, and what our motor system actually does. (shrink)
Psychologists are ethically obligated to obtain informed consent to psychotherapy "as early as is feasible" (American Psychological Association, 2002, p. 1072). However, the range of topics to be addressed includes both information that may be immediately and uniformly applicable to most clients via policy or rule, as well as information that is not immediately presentable because it varies widely across clients or emerges over time. In this study, licensed psychologists were surveyed regarding the earliest feasible point at which they (...) could provide information regarding specific aspects of psychotherapy. Results indicate that, although psychologists believe that they are capable of presenting some information, such as payment and confidentiality policies, at the outset, they believe that a discussion of more substantive issues, such as psychotherapy duration, goals, orientation, and activities, can take place only after some therapy has transpired. Implications are discussed regarding the process and event models of informed consent. (shrink)
Since McTaggart first proposed his paradox asserting the unreality of time, numerous philosophers have attempted to defend the tensed theory of time against it. Certainly, one of the most highly developed and original is that put forth by Quentin Smith. Through discussing McTaggart's positive conception of time as well as his negative attack on its reality, I hope to clarify the dispute between those who believe in the existence of the transitory temporal properties of pastness, presentness (...) and futurity, and those who deny their existence. We shall see that the debate centers around the ontological status of succession and the B-relations of earlier and later. I shall argue that Smith's tensed theory fails because he cannot account for the sense in which events have their tensed properties successively, and he cannot account for the direction of time. (shrink)
I do not wish to deal with all the domains in which the word time enters as if it were referring to an obvious aspect of the world or worlds that we human live. Indeed, the very fact that time can be made an issue of reflection shows us that what the word time connotes changes with the circumstances in which it is used. This situation alone, however, would not constitute a problem inviting (...) us to enter in deep reflections if we just accepted that the context defined the meaning of the word in each case. But we do not do that, and we ask the question what is time? as if we thought that the word time referred to some independent entity or dimension of nature that could be properly disclosed or described if we tried hard enough, even if we could not the final essence of it. I consider, however, that the question what is time? is adequate because it implies from the start the view that time can be properly treated as some kind of independent entity or dimension of nature. And I consider that such a view is fully inadequate because I think that all that we human beings talk about are relations that arises in our operation in language as a closed domain of recursive consensual coordinations of behaviors. Let me explain what I say with a few words about living, language, and cognition , and then answer the question what distinctions do we make or connote when we talk of time? (shrink)
In this article, we explore whether cross-linguistic differences in grammatical aspect encoding may give rise to differences in memory and cognition. We compared native speakers of two languages that encode aspect differently (English and Swedish) in four tasks that examined verbal descriptions of stimuli, online triads matching, and memory-based triads matching with and without verbal interference. Results showed between-group differences in verbal descriptions and in memory-based triads matching. However, no differences were found in online triads matching and in (...) memory-based triads matching with verbal interference. These findings need to be interpreted in the context of the overall pattern of performance, which indicated that both groups based their similarity judgments on common perceptual characteristics of motion events. These results show for the first time a cross-linguistic difference in memory as a function of differences in grammatical aspect encoding, but they also contribute to the emerging view that language fine tunes rather than shapes perceptual processes that are likely to be universal and unchanging. (shrink)
A new event is defined as an intervention in the time reversible dynamical trajectories of particles in a system. New events are then assumed to be quantum fluctuations in the spatial and momentum coordinates, and mental action is assumed to work by ordering such fluctuations. It is shown that when the cumulative values of such fluctuations in a mean free path of a molecule are magnified by molecular interaction at the end of that path, the momentum of a molecule (...) can be changed from its original direction to any other direction. In this way mental action can produce effects through the ordering of thermal motions. Examples are given which show that the ordering of 10^4 10^5 molecules is sufficient to (a) produce detectible PK results and (b) open sufficient ion channels in the brain to initiate a physical action. The relationship of the above model to the arrow of time is discussed. (shrink)
This paper takes issue with Heidegger's claim that discourse and understanding are equally basic in the constitution of our making sense of the world. I argue that Heidegger cannot consistently establish this claim, and that discourse can be thought of as being more basic than understanding. The proposed line of thinking has the advantage of shedding light on both the finitude and the normativity of our making sense of the world. Thus, by setting up an exchange with the later Wittgenstein's (...) discussion of rule-following makes it possible to develop an approach to the normativity of meaning which was not readily available on Heidegger's account. Further, the paper offers an inquiry into a certain aspect of our finite sense of the world which, in spite of Heidegger's marked attention to finitude, was obscured by his approach to discourse. The implications of the argument might be far-reaching. The view of a basic role of discourse can put into question Heidegger's guiding vision according to which time alone is ultimately the fundamental constituent of our sense of what there is. The engagement with Wittgenstein indicates, in conjunction with other themes of the paper, that there are certain perspectives and issues in phenomenology which are much closer to aspects of the analytic tradition than is usually granted. (shrink)
Between 1927 and 1936, Martin Heidegger devoted almost one thousand pages of close textual commentary to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. This article aims to shed new light on the relationship between Kant and Heidegger by providing a fresh analysis of two central texts: Heidegger’s 1927/8 lecture course Phenomenological Interpretation of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and his 1929 monograph Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics. I argue that to make sense of Heidegger’s reading of Kant, one must resolve two (...) questions. First, how does Heidegger’s Kant understand the concept of the transcendental? Second, what role does the concept of a horizon play in Heidegger’s reconstruction of the Critique? I answer the first question by drawing on Cassam’s model of a self-directed transcendental argument, and the second by examining the relationship between Kant’s doctrine that ‘pure, general logic’ abstracts from all semantic content and Hume’s attack on metaphysics. I close by sketching the implications of my results for Heidegger’s own thought. Ultimately, I conclude that Heidegger’s commentary on the Critical system is defined, above all, by a single issue: the nature of the ‘form’ of intentionality. (shrink)
Statistical mechanics attempts to explain the behaviour of macroscopic physical systems in terms of the mechanical properties of their constituents. Although it is one of the fundamental theories of physics, it has received little attention from philosophers of science. Nevertheless, it raises philosophical questions of fundamental importance on the nature of time, chance and reduction. Most philosophical issues in this domain relate to the question of the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics. This book addresses issues inherent in this (...) reduction: the time-asymmetry of thermodynamics and its absence in statistical mechanics; the role and essential nature of chance and probability in this reduction when thermodynamics is non-probabilistic; and how, if at all, the reduction is possible. Compiling contributions on current research by experts in the field, this is an invaluable survey of the philosophy of statistical mechanics for academic researchers and graduate students interested in the foundations of physics. (shrink)
The paper extends the framework of outcomes in branching space-time (Kowalski and Placek ) by assigning probabilities to outcomes of events, where these probabilities are interpreted either epistemically or as weighted possibilities. In resulting models I define the notion of common cause of correlated outcomes of a single event, and investigate which setups allow for the introduction of common causes. It turns out that a deterministic common cause can always be introduced, but (surprisingly) only special setups permit the introduction (...) of truly stochastic common causes. I analyse next the Bell-Aspect experiment and derive the Bell-CH inequalities. I observe that we postulate there not a common cause for outcomes of a single event but rather a common common cause that accounts for outcomes of many events, where 'events' mean 'measurements with (different) directions of polarization'. Since the inequalities are violated, I claim that no causal story can be told about the Bell correlations, where causality is subliminal and restricted by screening-off condition. Similarly, given certain intuitive principles, no deterministic story can be told about these correlations. (shrink)
Negrotti's theory of the artificial is based on the fundamental assumption that the human being cannot select more than one observation level per unit of time. Since this assumption has important consequences for the theory of knowledge â knowledge cannot be synthesised but only further differentiated â its plausibility is tested against two aspects that characterise any theory of knowledge: knowledge production and knowledge application. The way in which the human being produces and applies knowledge is analysed, and a (...) model of mind based on the transitoriness of its elements is proposed. The analysis confirms that only one observation level can be selected per unit of time. (shrink)
For Vajrayana Buddhism, the now is an interval, a boundary, a point of tension and suspension with an atmosphere of uncertainty. It is a bifurcation point of variable length; its name is “bardo.” The bardo is immersed in the conventional, or “seeming” reality. It emerges from what is called the “unstained” ultimate or primordial emptiness or “basal clear light.” Further, the ultimate (basal clear light) is not the sphere of cognition. Cognition, including cognition of time, belongs to conventional (...) reality. Buddhahood, in contrast, is a condition of uncompounded knowledge where basic mind blossoms without temporal or other cognitive distinctions, unmade, unfabricated, luminous and pristine. -/- Cyclical existence involves both the ultimate and the conventional as it moves through six bardos—all of which are the effulgent of the basal clear light—until Buddhahood. The six are: the bardo of this life (or birth); the bardo of dream; the bardo of meditation; the bardo of dying; the bardo of dharmata (or reality); and the bardo of existence. Each realm is both ultimate and conventional, and has specific initiation-based yogas to investigate these differences. The process of transition from one to the next involves at least three bodies, one mind, and aspects of speech. -/- In each bardo, the character of the now as embodiment and temporal knowing varies yet a complete and consistent cross-bardo yogic wisdom leads to its total cessation in the basal clear light; the now is extinguished. -/- The author presents, from the viewpoint of a knowledgeable practitioner of over 30 years, an essay on Vajrayana Buddhist time, drawing implications for Fraser’s time typology. The essay will draw from English translations of significant older, tantric texts on dream yoga (Tsongkhapa, 1996), deity yoga (Fremantle, 2001), the Chod (Edou, 1996), tantric time (T. Gyatso, 1985; Prasad, 1991; Berzin,1997; Lamrimpa, 1999; and K. Gyatso, 2004), the bardo of death (Fremantil 2001), and empowerment (Rangdrol, 1993). Useful practices that can be applied by the audience to test the tradition and author’s assertions will be suggested (Tulku, 1977). (shrink)
Hubert Dreyfus has claimed that Heidegger's phenomenological method involves a “hermeneutics of suspicion”. This is an intriguing suggestion, and if it were correct it would indicate that the standard interpretations overlook a significant aspect of the methodology of Being and Time. But is there really a hermeneutics of suspicion in Being and Time? Leslie MacAvoy has offered the most sustained challenge to Dreyfus on this point, arguing that his “hermeneutics of suspicion thesis” misconstrues both the overarching project (...) and the methodological structure of Heidegger's magnum opus. In this essay, after examining Dreyfus's “hermeneutics of suspicion thesis” and MacAvoy's objections to it, I argue that the criticisms offered by MacAvoy, despite correcting some misunderstandings in Dreyfus's reading, are not fatal to the general thesis that a hermeneutics of suspicion is operative in Being and Time. Indeed, I contend that Dreyfus's basic intuition is correct and that it does identify a significant and often overlooked aspect of Heidegger's phenomenological method. In the body of the essay, Dreyfus's intuition is developed into a more detailed and rigorous analysis of the “suspicious” dimension of Being and Time. (shrink)
According to Chomsky, creativity is a critical property of human language, particularly the aspect of ?the creative use of language? concerning the appropriateness to a situation. How language can be creative but appropriate to a situation is an unsolvable mystery from the Chomskyan point of view. We propose that language appropriateness can be explained by considering the role of the human capacity for Mental Time Travel at its foundation, together with social and ecological intelligences within a triadic language-grounding (...) system. Our proposal is based on the change of perspective from the analysis of individual sentences to the flux of speech in which the temporal dimension of language is much more relevant. (shrink)
This paper offers a defense of backwards in time causation models in quantum mechanics. Particular attention is given to Cramer's transactional account, which is shown to have the threefold virtue of solving the Bell problem, explaining the complex conjugate aspect of the quantum mechanical formalism, and explaining various quantum mysteries such as Schrödinger's cat. The question is therefore asked, why has this model not received more attention from physicists and philosophers? One objection given by physicists in assessing Cramer's (...) theory was that it is not testable. This paper seeks to answer this concern by utilizing an argument that backwards causation models entail a fork theory of causal direction. From the backwards causation model together with the fork theory one can deduce empirical predictions. Finally, the objection that this strategy is questionable because of its appeal to philosophy is deflected. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present a new perspective under which branching-time semantics can be viewed. The set of histories (maximal linearly ordered sets) in a tree structure can be endowed in a natural way with a topological structure. Properties of trees and of bundled trees can be expressed in topological terms. In particular, we can consider the new notion of topological validity for Ockhamist temporal formulae. It will be proved that this notion of validity is equivalent (...) to validity with respect to bundled trees. (shrink)
Heidegger's phenomenological approach, as exhibited in Being and Time, provides a conceptual background to discussions in role?theory. His work was not meant as an empirical contribution to sociology, nor does he assimilate sociology to conceptual inquiry. Heidegger's contention is, rather, that if we understand the way in which human beings exist (the nature of Dasein) we shall understand why empirical role?theoretical inquiries are possible. Without experience, without paying attention to the facts of human life, there could be no phenomenological (...) enterprise. But by eliciting the fundamental structure of Dasein Heidegger has pointed to what makes the empirical data ultimately intelligible. The enterprise is a transcendental one, in the Kantian sense. (shrink)
This paper is about our experience of change and movement, and thus about our experience of time – at least under the reasonable assumption that we (can only) experience time by having experiences of change. This assumption is shared by Locke, whose view on temporal experience, expounded in Book II, Chap.14 of his Essay, will be the main focal point of my paper. Some of the most influential accounts of temporal experience embrace the notion of a "specious present" (...) as an explanatory tool in order to account for the continuous and unfolding aspect of our experiences. In this article, I will raise some points of dissatisfaction with the very notion of the specious present, and while I shall not reject the specious present theories, I will argue that more is needed in order to have a proper understanding and explanation of our temporal experience. I will then discuss and defend a view of temporal experience whose basis can be found in Locke's Essay, and which, given some amendments and further development within a contemporary framework, provides us with a very good analysis of our experience of movement, change, and time – a view that helps us to avoid some burdensome commitments incurred by specious present theories and that can be fruitfully combined with these theories in order to yield a complete and more informative picture of the phenomenon of temporal experience. (shrink)
This article argues that notwithstanding Martin Heidegger’s explicit intentions to the contrary, his existential analysis in Being and Time provides more than the mere conditions for the possibility of ethics. More specifically, Heidegger’s account of solicitude, where he distinguishes between leaping in for and leaping ahead of the other, can be read as an account of recognition that has normative implications. This account is developed in light of both Charles Taylor and Axel Honneth’s positions on recognition. It is concluded (...) that Heidegger’s phenomenological elaboration of recognition goes beyond the transcendental aspect of his project of fundamental ontology. (shrink)
I distinguish paradoxes and hypodoxes among the conundrums of time travel. I introduce ‘hypodoxes’ as a term for seemingly consistent conundrums that seem to be related to various paradoxes, as the Truth-teller is related to the Liar. In this article, I briefly compare paradoxes and hypodoxes of time travel with Liar paradoxes and Truth-teller hypodoxes. I also discuss Lewis’ treatment of time travel paradoxes, which I characterise as a Laissez Faire theory of time travel. Time (...) travel paradoxes are impossible according to Laissez Faire theories, while it seems hypodoxes are possible. (shrink)
This paper aims to investigate the temporal content of perceptual experience. It argues that we must recognize the existence of temporal perceptions, i.e., perceptions the content of which cannot be spelled out simply by looking at what is the case at an isolated instant. Acts of apprehension can cover a succession of events. However, a subject who has such perceptions can fall short of having a concept of time. Similar arguments have been put forward to show that a subject (...) who has spatial perceptions can fall short of having a concept of space. In both cases, it is the fact that perception is from a point of view which stands in the way of it constituting an exercise of a concept of how things are objectively. However, the paper also shows that the way in which perception is perspectival takes a different form in each of the two cases. (shrink)
This paper examines Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s later philosophy of time in light of his critique and reconceptualization of Edmund Husserl’s early time-analyses. Drawing on The Visible and the Invisible and lecture courses, I elaborate Merleau-Ponty’s re-reading of Husserl’s time-analyses through the lens of Rudolf Bernet’s “Einleitung” to this work. My question is twofold: what becomes of the central Husserlian concepts of present and retention in Merleau-Ponty’s later work, and how do Husserl’s elisions, especially of the problem of forgetting, (...) become generative moments for Merleau-Ponty’s thought on time? The answer passes through the logic of institution as the “retrograde movement of the true” (Henri Bergson) and through unconsciousness as disarticulation of the perceptual field, as Merleau-Ponty attempts to detach Husserlian concepts from the philosophy of consciousness and rehabilitate them within an ontology of time. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the clash of the Sellars’ two images is particularly acute in the case of time. In Time and the World Order Sellars seems embarked on a quest to locate manifest time in Minkowski spacetime. I suggest that he should have argued for the replacement of manifest time with the local, path-dependent time of the “scientific image”, just as he suggests that manifest objects must be replaced by their scientific counterparts.
The conceptual and technical difficulties involved in creating a quantum theory of gravity have led some physicists to question, and even in some cases to deny, the reality of time. More surprisingly, this denial has found a sympathetic audience among certain philosophers of physics. What should we make of these wild ideas? Does it even make sense to deny the reality of time? In fact physical science has been chipping away at common sense aspects of time ever (...) since its inception. Section 1 offers a brief survey of the demolition process. Section 2 distinguishes a tempered from an extremely radical form that a denial of time might take, and argues that extreme radicalism is empirically self-refuting. Section 3 begins an investigation of the prospects for tempered radicalism in a timeless theory of quantum gravity. (shrink)
models of cognition are essentially incomplete because they fail to capture the temporal properties of mental processing. I present two possible interpretations of the dynamicists' argument from time and show that neither one is successful. The disagreement between dynamicists and symbolic theorists rests not on temporal considerations per se, but on differences over the multiple realizability of cognitive states and the proper explanatory goals of psychology. The negative arguments of dynamicists against symbolic models fail, and it is doubtful whether (...) pursuing dynamicists' explanatory goals will lead to a robust psychological theory. Introduction Elements of the symbolic theory Elements of dynamical systems theory The argument from time 4.1 First interpretation of the argument from time 4.2 Second interpretation of the argument from time Limits of dynamical systems theory. (shrink)
The evaluation of whether an animal has a life worth living (LWL) has been suggested as a useful concept for farm animal policymaking. But there are a number of different ways in which the concept could be applied. This paper attempts to identify and evaluate candidate ethical principles based on the concept. It suggests that an appropriate principle by which to apply the concept is one that (1) is framed in terms of preventing an animal having a life worth avoiding (...) (LWA), rather than ensuring they have LWL, (2) is based on a prospective, rather than retrospective, concept of a life’s worth, and (3) relates to both the perpetuation and creation of an animal at all times during its life. The paper concludes by endorsing an overarching principle that no animal should be unreasonably caused to be, or allowed to remain, in a position of having a prospective LWA. (shrink)
This essay examines Deleuze's account of time and the wound in The Logic of Sense and, to a lesser extent, in Difference and Repetition. As such, it will also explicate his understanding of the event, as well as the notoriously opaque ethics of counter-actualisation that are bound up with it, before raising certain problems that are associated with the transcendental and ethical priority that he accords to the event and what he calls the time of Aion. I will (...) conclude by proposing a dialectic between the two aspects of time that he counterposes (Aion and Chronos, roughly the disjunctive and the conjunctive) that does not instantiate any kind of a priori privilege of the one over the other. (shrink)
Heidegger claims in Being and Time that Bergson fails to overcome traditional ontology because his concept of time is fundamentally Aristotelian. On the basis of this hasty dismissal, it is tempting to conclude that Heidegger was not terribly interested in Bergson or that he only wanted to prevent readers from confusing his view of time with Bergson’s. To the contrary, a survey of Heidegger’s early lectures and writings on the issue of time reveals a strong interest (...) in Bergson and an acknowledgement of his importance as a pivotal thinker concerning time. In fact, Heidegger appropriates key aspects of Bergsonism, such as Bergson’s way of contrasting the measurement of time and its experiential origins, revealing that his ambivalence toward Bergson initially arises from concerns about his method and his concept of life rather than his understanding of time. (shrink)
The question of the existence and the properties of time has been subject to debate for thousands of years. This considered and complete study offers a contrastive analysis of phenomenologies of time from the perspective of the problematics of the visibility of time. Is time perceptible only through the veil of change? Or is there a naked presence of "time itself"? Or has time always effaced itself? McClure's new work also stages confrontations between phenomenology (...) of time and analytical philosophy of time. By doing so he explores ancient issues from a fresh perspective, such as whether time passes, whether experimental time is "real time," and whether the very concept of time is contradictory. (shrink)
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in (...) a twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (shrink)
Introduction -- Fatalism, free will, and foreknowledge -- Mind, the metric, and conventionality -- Time travel and backward causation -- Time's origin, and relationism vs. substantivalism -- McTaggart, tensed facts, and time's flow -- Presentism, the block universe, and perduring objects -- The arrow of time -- Zeno's paradoxes and supertasks.
The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
In Book IV, Chapter 11 of the Physics, Aristotle claims that ‘the before and after’ exists in time because it also exists in change, and it exists in change because it also exists in magnitude, and, further, that ‘time follows change’ and ‘change follows magnitude’.1 This is usually taken to mean that moments of time correspond to momentary stages of changes, and that momentary stages of changes correspond to points in magnitudes, so that time derives its (...) ‘before and after’ from that of change, and change from that of magnitude.2 But this is widely thought to land Aristotle in the following difﬁ culty: If Socrates walks between points A and C, for instance, he can either proceed from point A to point.. (shrink)
These nine essays address fundamental questions about time in philosophy, physics, linguistics, and psychology. Are there facts about the future? Could we affect the past? In physics, general relativity and quantum theory give contradictory treatments of time. So in the current search for a theory of quantum gravity, which should give way: general relativity or quantum theory? In linguistics and psychology, how does our language represent time, and how do our minds keep track of it?
This paper explores the distinction between perceiving an object as extended in time, and experiencing a sequence of perceptions. I argue that this distinction cannot be adequately described by any present theory of time-consciousness and that in order to solve the puzzle, we need to consider perceptual content as having three distinct constituents: Explicit content, which has a particular phenomenal character, modal content, or the kind of content that is contributed by the psychological mode, and implicit content, which (...) lacks phenomenal character. These notions are then further clarified and related to each other. (shrink)
Part I: Dimensions of time's enigma -- Is time real? -- Eleaticism, temporality, and time -- The makings of a temporal universe -- Pastness and futurity -- Synchronicity and synchronicity -- Temporal pace and measurement -- Presentness or the present -- Aristotle's real account of time -- Parmenidean time and the impossible now -- Cosmic motion and the speed of time -- Time as the motion of the cosmos -- Time as the (...) cosmos itself -- Time as motion and all change -- Temporal cognition and the return of the now -- Real temporality in an Aristotelian world -- Does Aristotle refute eleaticism? -- Bisection argument I -- Bisection argument II -- Bisection argument III -- Plotinus' vitalistic platonism and the real origins of time -- Temporality, eternality, and Plotinus' new metaphysic -- Plotinus' critique of Aristotelian motion -- Indefinite temporality and the measure of motion -- Plotinus' neoplatonic account of time. (shrink)
This book brings together new essays on a major focus of debate in contemporary metaphysics: does time really pass, or is our ordinary experience of time as consisting of past, present, and future an illusion? The international contributors broaden this debate by demonstrating the importance of questions about the nature of time for philosophical issues in ethics, aesthetics, psychology, science, religion, and language.
Introduction : the course of the argument -- Substance poem versus function poem : two poems of Friedrich Hölderlin -- Entering the phenomenological school and discovering the color of shame -- Existence toward space : two "Rainbows" from around 1916 -- The problem of historical time : conversing with Scholem, criticizing Heidegger in 1916 -- Meaning in the proper sense of the word : "On language as such and on human language" and related logico-linguistic studies -- Pure knowledge and (...) the continuity of experience : "On the program of the coming philosophy" and its supplements -- The political counterpart to pure practical reason : from Kant's doctrine of right to Benjamin's category of justice -- Conclusion : the shape of time. (shrink)
Visit the author's Web site at www.11PicsOfTime.com Time is a mystery that has perplexed humankind since time immemorial. Resolving this mystery is of significance not only to philosophers and physicists but is also a very practical concern. Our perception of time shapes our values and way of life; it also mediates the interaction between science and religion both of which rest fundamentally on assumptions about the nature of time. C K Raju begins with a critical exposition (...) of various time-beliefs, ranging from the earliest times through Augustine, Newton and Einstein to Stephen Hawking and current notions of chaos and time travel. He traces the role of organised religion in subverting time beliefs for its political ends. The book points out how this resulted in a facile dichotomy between 'linear' and 'cyclic' time, thereby inaugurating a confusion which, according to the author, has handicapped Western thought ever since, eventually influencing the content of science itself. Thus, this book daringly asserts that physical theory, traditionally regarded as amoral and objective, has depended on cultural beliefs about time. The author points out that time beliefs are again being manipulated today as the credibility of science is being exploited to promote a picture of time and, hence, a pattern of human behaviour which is convenient to the agenda of globalisation of culture. The linkages between modern theology and this 'brave new physics' are traced against the wider context of the so-called 'clash of civilisations', and the attempts to remake the world order. The conclusions point to the need to de-theologise time. The author challenges Einstein's understanding of relativity theory and suggests that a 'tilt in the arrow of time', or a small tendency towards cyclicity, will help repair the prevalent confusion about time. A 'tilt' also enables a physics that permits both memory and creativity, so that purpose and spontaneous growth of order are returned to human life. The book ends with a vision of Man as Creator, surprising God. Extensive research in physics, the history of science, comparative religions, and sociology lend weight to the important and challenging conclusions reached by the author. Written as a rejoinder to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, this book goes much further and, unlike any previous book, it gives a critical exposition of various world religions-Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism-while exploring their intricate links, through time beliefs, to current physics on the one hand, and to global political and economic trends, on the other. This book will appeal to scholars and laypersons equally. It will fascinate anyone who reads it and will teach its readers to question the unquestionable. (shrink)
Time belongs to a handful of categories (like form, symbol, cause) that are genuinely transdisciplinary. Time touches every dimension of our being, every object of our attention - including attention itself. It therefore can belong to no single field of study. Of course, this universalist view of time is not itself universal but rather is a product of the modern age, an age that conceived of itself as the 'new' time. Time has thus gained new (...) importance as a theme of general research with the 'post-modern turn' now manifest in many areas of intellectual endeavor, especially in the humanities and social sciences. 'Chronotypes' are models or patterns through which time assumes practical or conceptual significance. Time is not given but (as the subtitle indicates) fabricated in an ongoing process. Chronotypes are themselves temporal and plural, constantly being made and remade at multiple individual, social, and cultural levels. They interact, they change over time, and they have histories, whose construal is itself an act of temporal construction. This book - an interdisciplinary collaboration of philosophers, historians, literary critics, and anthropologists - examines the ways individuals, societies, and cultures make sense of time by constructing it in diverse patterns. Its title intentionally echoes a concept of narrative theory, Mikhail Bakhtin's 'chronotype', because narrative recurs as a chief form within which we build temporality. The topics treated by these essays range from story-telling to cross-cultural communication, from epistemological debates to concepts of historical periodization, from the construction of life stories to the stratification of social time. (shrink)
Thomas Sattig develops a comprehensive framework for doing philosophy of time, and offers an original three-dimensionalist picture of the material world. He brings together a variety of different perspectives, linking our ordinary conception of time with the physicist's conception, and linking metaphysical questions about time with questions in the philosophy of language.
In a recent paper, Steven Savitt attempts to demonstrate that there is an area of common ground between one classic proponent of temporal passage, C.D. Broad, and one classic opponent of passage, D.C. Williams. According to Savitt, Broad's notion of “absolute becoming” as the ordered occurrence of (simultaneity sets of) events, and Williams’ notion of “literal passage,” as the happening of events strung along the four-dimensional space-time manifold, are indistinguishable. Savitt recognizes that some might think it preposterous to maintain (...) that Broad and Williams agree regarding the nature of passage, but by a consideration of Broad’s “OstensibleTemporality,” and Williams’ “The Myth of Passage,” Savitt attempts to demonstrate that they do in fact hold the same, and indeed the correct, view of passage. I shall argue, however, that Broad’s account of the transitoryaspect of time is ontologically distinguishable from Williams’ and that only by confusing Broad’s A-theory with Williams’ B-theory or Williams’ B-theory with Broad’s A-theory could Savitt have thought that there is an area of overlap between them. A demonstration of these points will have the benefit of enabling us to clarify the ontological character ofthe dispute, of which Broad was well-aware, between the A- and B-theories of time. (shrink)
As we speak about time in the context of everyday life, we have no problem with what we mean by time. We take time as given. Different kinds of theories of development rely on the ordinary concept of time. Time is a sequence of instants, and we are moving along from the past to the future, from birth to death. Moving in time also means development. It does not take into account how a human (...) being is in the time. It flattens our view of human life and cannot describe our manifold being. According to theories of development, if a child does not behave in a certain instant as the theories expect, there must be a problem with that child or she has not developed as well as others.Heidegger uses terms like time-space, temporality and ecstases of time. The question of time is of the same kind as the question of Being. We are in the world and in time in the same way. We all have experience of time, how it sometimes goes quickly and sometimes very slowly. Time is not experienced as moments one after another. It is time-space. Time-space means that time has three dimensions and it consists of the ecstatical opening up of the future, the past and the present. In this article, I will open up the question how the traditional understanding of time and the ecstatic understanding of time understand children differently. What does it mean that little children live exclusively in the present? (shrink)
Robin Le Poidevin (2007) claims that we do form perceptual beliefs regarding order and duration based on our perception of events, but neither order nor duration are by themselves objects of perception. Temporal properties are discernible only when one first perceives their bearers, and temporal relations are discernible only when one first perceives their relata. The epistemic issue remains as to whether or not our perceptual beliefs about order and duration are formed on the causal basis of an event’s objective (...) order and duration. Le Poidevin raises this issue in the form of an epistemological puzzle of time perception, from which he derives the claim that the order and duration of events do not causally contribute to our perceptual beliefs about them. Since his view is motivated by a causal truthmaker principle for grounding knowledge, it also holds that perceptual beliefs about temporal features must be caused by the features themselves in order to count as knowledge. Given these theoretical commitments, there is a puzzle concerning how such perceptual beliefs could constitute knowledge of temporal properties. In response to Le Poidevin, I argue for an account according to which order and duration are objects of perception, causally contribute to our perceptual beliefs about them, and such beliefs are capable of counting as knowledge. I conclude by showing that, on my alternative account, the epistemological puzzle dissolves and his own solution to it fails. (shrink)
Introduction : The promise of time : subjectivity in Husserl's transcendental phenomenology -- The ritual of clarification -- A rehersal of difficulties -- The ghosts of Brentano-- The retention of time past -- The impossible puzzle -- The lives of Others -- The life of consciousness.
A battle over the politics (and philosophy) of time is a major part of what is at stake in the differences between three competing currents of contemporary philosophy: analytic philosophy, post-structuralist philosophy, and phenomenological philosophy. Avowed or tacit philosophies of time define representatives of each of these groups and also guard against their potential interlocutors. However, by bringing the temporal differences between these philosophical trajectories to the fore, and showing both their methodological presuppositions and their ethico-political implications, this (...) book begins a long overdue dialogue on their respective strengths and weaknesses. It argues that there are systemic temporal problems (chronopathologies) that afflict each, but especially the post-structuralist tradition (focusing on Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida and their prophetic future politics) and the analytic tradition (focusing on John Rawls and analytic methodology in general, particularly the tendency to oscillate between forms of atemporality and intuition-oriented “presentism”). What is required is a “middle-way” that does not treat the living-present and the pragmatic temporality associated with bodily coping as an epiphenomenon to be explained away as either a transcendental illusion (and as a reactive force that is ethically problematic), or as a subjective/psychological experience that is not ultimately real. (shrink)
"Only a wayfarer born under unruly stars would attempt to put into practice in our epoch of proliferating knowledge the Heraclitean dictum that `men who love wisdom must be inquirers into very many things indeed.'" Thus begins this remarkable interdisciplinary study of time by a master of the subject. And while developing a theory of "time as conflict," J. T. Fraser does offer "many things indeed"--an enormous range of ideas about matter, life, death, evolution, and value.
This volume provides a balanced set of reviews which introduce the central topics in the philosophy of time. This is the first introductory anthology on the subject to appear for many years; the contributors are distinguished, and two of the essays are specially written for this collection. In their introduction, the editors summarize the background to the debate, and show the relevance of issues in the philosophy of time for other branches of philosophy and for science. Contributors include (...) J.M.E. McTaggart, Arthur N. Prior, D.H. Mellor, Sydney Shoemaker, Graeme Forbes, Lawrence Sklar, Michael Dummett, David Lewis, W.H. Newton-Smith, and Anthony Quinton. (shrink)
Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way around? What does quantum mechanics really tell us about the world? In this important and accessible book, Huw Price throws fascinating new light on some of the great mysteries of modern physics, and connects them in a wholly original way. Price begins with the mystery of the arrow of time. Why, for example, does disorder always increase, as required (...) by the second law of thermodynamics? Price shows that, for over a century, most physicists have thought about these problems the wrong way. Misled by the human perspective from within time, which distorts and exaggerates the differences between past and future, they have fallen victim to what Price calls the "double standard fallacy": proposed explanations of the difference between the past and the future turn out to rely on a difference which has been slipped in at the beginning, when the physicists themselves treat the past and future in different ways. To avoid this fallacy, Price argues, we need to overcome our natural tendency to think about the past and the future differently. We need to imagine a point outside time -- an Archimedean "view from nowhen" -- from which to observe time in an unbiased way. Offering a lively criticism of many major modern physicists, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking, Price shows that this fallacy remains common in physics today -- for example, when contemporary cosmologists theorize about the eventual fate of the universe. The "big bang" theory normally assumes that the beginning and end of the universe will be very different. But if we are to avoid the double standard fallacy, we need to consider time symmetrically, and take seriously the possibility that the arrow of time may reverse when the universe recollapses into a "big crunch." Price then turns to the greatest mystery of modern physics, the meaning of quantum theory. He argues that in missing the Archimedean viewpoint, modern physics has missed a radical and attractive solution to many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum physics. Many consequences of quantum theory appear counterintuitive, such as Schrodinger's Cat, whose condition seems undetermined until observed, and Bell's Theorem, which suggests a spooky "nonlocality," where events happening simultaneously in different places seem to affect each other directly. Price shows that these paradoxes can be avoided by allowing that at the quantum level the future does, indeed, affect the past. This demystifies nonlocality, and supports Einstein's unpopular intuition that quantum theory describes an objective world, existing independently of human observers: the Cat is alive or dead, even when nobody looks. So interpreted, Price argues, quantum mechanics is simply the kind of theory we ought to have expected in microphysics -- from the symmetric standpoint. Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. In this exciting book, Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of time to look at the world from the fresh perspective of Archimedes' Point and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, the universe around us, and our own place in time. (shrink)
While experience tells us that time flows from the past to the present and into the future, a number of philosophical and physical objections exist to this commonsense view of dynamic time. In an attempt to make sense of this conundrum, philosophers and physicists are forced to confront fascinating questions, such as: Can effects precede causes? Can one travel in time? Can the expansion of the Universe or the process of measurement in quantum mechanics define a direction (...) in time? In this book, researchers from both physics and philosophy attempt to answer these issues in an interesting, yet rigorous way. This fascinating book will be of interest to physicists and philosophers of science and educated general readers interested in the direction of time. (shrink)
"A discussion of the historical development of our ideas of time as they relate to nature, human nature and society. . . . The excellence of The Discovery of Time is unquestionable."--Martin Lebowitz, The Kenyon Review.
This is a book about the philosophy of time, and in particular the philosophy of the great logician Kurt Godel (1906-1978). It evaluates Godel's attempt to show that Einstein has not so much explained time as explained it away. Unlike recent more technical studies, it focuses on the reality of time. The book explores Godel's conception of time, existence, and truth with special reference to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Frege. In the light of this investigation an (...) attempt is made to shed light on such issues as the precise sense in which Godel believed in the possibility of time travel, the relationship of the reality of time to the objectivity of temporal becoming, and the significance of time for human existence.This is a book about the philosophy of time, and in particular the philosophy of the great logician Kurt Godel (1906-1978). It evaluates Godel's attempt to show that Einstein has not so much explained time as explained it away. Unlike recent more technical studies, it focuses on the reality of time. The book explores Godel's conception of time, existence, and truth with special reference to Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Frege. In the light of this investigation an attempt is made to shed light on such issues as the precise sense in which Godel believed in the possibility of time travel, the relationship of the reality of time to the objectivity of temporal becoming, and the significance of time for human existence. (shrink)
This paper revisits some early applications of audio-visual imaging technologies used in physiology in a dialogue with reflections on Henri Bergson’s philosophy. It focuses on the aspects of time and memory in relation to spatial representations of movement measurements and critically discusses them from the perspective of the observing participant and the public exhibitions of scientific films. Departing from an audio-visual example, this paper is informed by a thick description of the philosophical implications and contemporary discourses surrounding the scientific (...) inventions, technologies and theories of moving image technologies, representations of time, and the measurement of bodies in motion such as those by the French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey. The application of Bergson’s thinking will show how the scientific graphing and representations of the body through technologies inevitably stand in tension with the limits and potentials of the ‘human apparatus’ and its abilities, filters and internalised processes of perception, memory and consciousness. It proposes an ontological approach to scientific imaging technologies and a critical engagement with the ‘realism’ debate in the discourse of audio-visual media. (shrink)
In this paper we examine how English and Mandarin speakers think about time, and we test how the patterns of thinking in the two groups relate to patterns in linguistic and cultural experience. In Mandarin, vertical spatial metaphors are used more frequently to talk about time than they are in English; English relies primarily on horizontal terms. We present results from two tasks comparing English and Mandarin speakers’ temporal reasoning. The tasks measure how people spatialize time in (...) three-dimensional space, including the sagittal (front/back), transverse (left/right), and vertical (up/down) axes. Results of Experiment 1 show that people automatically create spatial representations in the course of temporal reasoning, and these implicit spatializations differ in accordance with patterns in language, even in a non-linguistic task. Both groups showed evidence of a left-to-right representation of time, in accordance with writing direction, but only Mandarin speakers showed a vertical top-to-bottom pattern for time (congruent with vertical spatiotemporal metaphors in Mandarin). Results of Experiment 2 confirm and extend these findings, showing that bilinguals’ representations of time depend on both long-term and proximal aspects of language experience. Participants who were more proficient in Mandarin were more likely to arrange time vertically (an effect of previous language experience). Further, bilinguals were more likely to arrange time vertically when they were tested in Mandarin than when they were tested in English (an effect of immediate linguistic context). (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
In what follows, I suggest that, against most theories of time, there really is an actual present, a now, but that such an eternal moment cannot be found before or after time. It may even be semantically incoherent to say that such an eternal present exists since “it” is changeless and formless (presumably a dynamic chaos without location or duration) yet with creative potential. Such a field of near-infinite potential energy could have had no beginning and will have (...) no end, yet within it stirs the desire to experience that brings forth singularities, like the one that exploded into the Big Bang (experiencing itself through relative and relational spacetime). From the perspective of the eternal now of near-infinite possibilities (if such a sentence can be semantically parsed at all), there is only the timeless creative present, so the Big Bang did not happen some 13 billion years ago. Inasmuch as there is neither time past nor time future nor any time at all at the null point of forever, we must understand the Big Bang (and all other events) as taking place right here and now. In terms of the eternal now, the beginning is happening now and we just appeared (and are always just appearing) to witness it. The rest is all conscious construction; time and experience are so entangled, they need each other to exist. (shrink)
The literature on time perception is discussed. This is done with reference both to the ''cognitive-timer'' model for time estimation and to the subjective experience of apparent duration. Three assumptions underlying the model are scrutinized. I stress the strong interplay among attention, arousal, and time perception, which is at the base of the cognitive-timer model. It is suggested that a multiplicative function of two key components (the number of subjective time units and their size) should predict (...) apparent duration. Implications for other cognitive domains are drawn, and in particular an analogy is suggested between apparent duration and apparent movement. (shrink)
This paper examines various philosophical arguments to do with time travel. It argues that time travel has not been shown to be logically impossible. It then considers whether time travel would give rise to improbable strings of coincidences, or closed causal loops. Finally, it considers whether we could ever be justified in believing someone who claimed to be a time traveller, or whether we would always be more justified in believing that the claimant was either deluded (...) or trying to deceive us. For this last issue the Terry Gilliam film ‘Twelve Monkeys’ is used as an example. (shrink)
In this essay, I take off from Nathan Widder’s impressive book, Reflections on Time and Politics, by highlighting what I take to be one of the major internal differences within continental philosophy that Widder’s book helps to make manifest: that between phenomenology and post-structuralism (which includes the renewed interest in, and use of, Nietzsche and Bergson’s work by poststructuralist philosophers). While many deplore the use of umbrella terms like these, I hope to be able to proffer some useful generalisations (...) about each in regard to their philosophies of time. And while I think that Widder, Deleuze, et al are roughly correct in their diagnosis of phenomenology’s association of time (or, better, temporality) with the subject, including with the movement of subject, I am not convinced that they are correct in considering this to be a theoretical weakness, nor that the proffered alternatives are to be preferred. I myself am pulled both ways, and in a critical vein here want to point to some problems with the “time out of joint” trajectory of Widder, Deleuze, Derrida, and others, or at the very least to establish some risks that are associated with such a perspective. My basic worry is that too often the transcendental critique of vulgar time and any emphasis on the “living-present” and other such “chronopathologies” trades on claims of necessity that are either speculative (the transcendental claim is not established as a necessary one, but is at best a weak inference to a better explanation) or that depend upon their association with an accompanying moral and political tenor (what I have elsewhere called “empirico-romanticism” ) that threatens to be dogmatic. While I agree with Widder and others that time and politics are intimately connected I also think that theoretical accounts of this fragile connection need to be careful to avoid lapsing into dogmatism, and this is so even if the relevant conception of time is not tethered to any teleological account of the trajectory of history. (shrink)
Introduction -- Newton's laws of motion versus nature's -- The continuity conundrum -- Continuity and linearity : confusion twice confounded -- From illusions of precision and reproducibility in natural science to delusions of normalcy in social science -- Mutability -- Laws of motion : natural law and questions of mutability -- Essential and intangible role of temporal factors : a detailed example -- Detaching Canada's East Coast Fishery from its history : causes and consequences -- Mishandling temporal factors : a (...) problem of method -- Social science and the problem of linearised time -- The dialectic of nature and its usefulness for the social sciences -- Placing Tlinear on life support -- Merchant's capital : key historic intangible of the East Coast Fishery -- The 800-pound gorilla. (shrink)
In his dialogue the Timaeus, Plato recognized two aspects of time, the past and the future, but not the present. In contrast, Aristotle's analysis of time in the Physics took its orientation from the 'now'. It is the latter path that Husserl follows with his conception of the 'original impression' (Urimpression). However, in certain parts of Husserl's Bernau Manuscripts, the present loses significance because of a novel interpretation of protention. This development, which revitalizes Plato's understanding of time, (...) is furthered in Heidegger's late lecture Time and Being: the present can be understood on the basis of the 'withdrawal' which determines the mutual relation between the arrival as authentic future and the having-been as authentic past. (shrink)
THIS paper seeks to elucidate the phenomenon known in psychology as 'the specious present,' by postulating a two-dimensional theory of the extensional aspects of time. On this theory, the usual logical and psychological difficulties, encountered in current accounts of this phenomenon, can be resolved. For, when there are two dimensions of time, the same event may be without extension in one of these dimensions ('transition-time'), while it is nevertheless finitely extended in the other of these dimensions ('phase- (...) class='Hi'>time'); so that in a definable sense the phases of a finitely enduring event, though successive in one time-order, yet are contemporary in the other. The epistemological standpoint implicit in the paper is generally similar to the one Bertrand Russell has put forward, in his Physics and Experience (Cambridge, 1946), and his Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (London, 1948) (allowing for the changes which would be required in Russell's theory to take into account a second time dimension). A 'psycho-neural parallelism,' or one-one correspondence, is postulated between features of certain 'experiential events' (namely, those experiential events normally held to be happening to some person's mind, which are describable in the language of psychology); and features of certain 'physical events' (namely, those events described in the language of physics, chemistry and physiology, which are ordinarily conceived as happenings in that same person's body). These physical events are conceived of as being causally connected with events in the physical world outside the experient's body, by means of the concepts of light waves, sound waves, chemical stimuli, and consequential processes in the nervous system (central and peripheral) and sense-organs, in the usual way. In terms of this psycho-neural parallelism the physical correlate of the finite temporal span of the specious, or experiential present, is to be found in certain consequences of the uncertainty principle in quantum physics; according to which there is a finite interval of time necessarily associated with a nearly precise determination of energy levels, and of transitions between them. Some of the physical implications of this theory, applied to processes in the material structure of the human body, are discussed qualitatively. But, for the reasons given in the last section of the paper, a quantitative treatment is not yet possible. The paper is greatly indebted in regard to the physical application of the two-dimensional theory of time, to the discussion of the pentadic group structure in Eddington's Fundamental Theory (Cambridge, 1946 and 1950); and in particular to the treatment there of the phase-variable as the 'time-analogue' in the quantum statistics of stationary states. (shrink)
In this paper I consider two objections raised by Nick Smith (1997) to an argument against the probability of time travel given by Paul Horwich (1995, 1987). Horwich argues that time travel leads to inexplicable and improbable coincidences. I argue that one of Smith's objections fails, but that another is correct. I also consider an instructive way to defend Horwich's argument against the second of Smith's objections, but show that it too fails. I conclude that unless there is (...) something faulty in the conception of explanation implicit in Horwich's argument, time travel presents us with nothing that is inexplicable. (shrink)
This paper searches for an explicit expression of the so-called problem of the direction of time. I argue that the traditional version of the problem is an artifact of a mistaken view in the foundations of statistical mechanics, and that to the degree it is a problem, it is really one general to all the special sciences. I then search the residue of the traditional problem for any remaining difficulty particular to time's arrow and find that there is (...) a special puzzle for some types of scientific realist. (shrink)
Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and (...) ‘time without change’. As we shall see, the two allegedly very different rival views are much less different than has been thought: their structure is extremely similar, their strategies are extremely similar, and they can both face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’ in the same way. Thus, I argue in favour of a certain kind of equivalence between the two views; I discuss a Strong and a Weak version of this claim; and I provide reasons for endorsing the former. I also discuss the parallel between this pair of views about the nature of time and another analogous pair of views: the bundle theory and the substratum theory about the nature of material objects, with respect to the problem with Identity of Indiscernibles. (shrink)
It is argued that the main problem with "the problem of the direction of time" is to figure out what the problem is or is supposed to be. Towards this end, an attempt is made to disentangle and to classify some of the many issues which have been discussed under the label of 'the direction of time'. Secondly, some technical apparatus is introduced in the hope of producing a sharper formulation of the issues than they have received in (...) the philosophical literature. Finally, some tentative suggestions about the central issues are offered. In particular, it is suggested that entropy and irreversibility are much less crucial to the central issues than most philosophers would have us believe. This suggestion is not made because of any firm conviction of its correctness but rather because it helps to focus the discussion on some basic but long neglected assumptions which underlie traditional approaches. (shrink)
Evidence that led to the hypothesis of a backwards referral of conscious sensory experiences in time, and the experimental tests of its predictions, is summarized. Criticisms of the data and the conclusion by Churchland that this hypothesis is untenable are analysed and found to be based upon misconceptions and faulty evaluations of facts and theory. Subjective referral in time violates no neurophysiological principles or data and is compatible with the theory of "mental" and "physical" correspondence.
The aim of this essay is to introduce philosophers of science to some recent philosophical discussions of the nature and origin of the direction of time. The essay is organized around books by Hans Reichenbach, Paul Horwich, and Huw Price. I outline their major arguments and treat certain critical points in detail. I speculate at the end about the ways in which the subject may continue to develop and in which it may connect with other areas of philosophy.
This chapter is concerned with the representation of time and change in classical (i.e., non-quantum) physical theories. One of the main goals of the chapter is to attempt to clarify the nature and scope of the so-called problem of time: a knot of technical and interpretative problems that appear to stand in the way of attempts to quantize general relativity, and which have their roots in the general covariance of that theory. The most natural approach to these questions (...) is via a consideration of more clear cases. So much of the chapter is given over to a discussion of the representation of time and change in other, better understood theories, starting with the most straightforward cases and proceeding through a consideration of cases that lead up to the features of general relativity that are responsible for the problem of time. (shrink)
Leibniz's philosophy of time, often seen as a precursor to current forms of relationalism and causal theories of time, has rightly earned the admiration of his more recent counterparts in the philosophy of science. In this article, I examine Leibniz's philosophy of time from a new perspective: the role that tense and non-tensed temporal properties/relations play in it. Specifically, I argue that Leibniz's philosophy of time is best (and non-anachronistically) construed as a non-tensed theory of (...) class='Hi'>time, one that dispenses with tensed temporal properties such as past, present, and future. In arguing for this thesis, I focus on the three facets of Leibniz's philosophy most relevant for evaluating his commitment to a B-theory of time: (1) the nature of change, (2) the reality of the future, and (3) the truth-conditions for tensed temporal statements. Despite prima facie evidence to the contrary, I show that a close examination of Leibniz's views on these topics provides compelling evidence for interpreting his philosophy of time as a B-theory of time. (shrink)
The frequencies with which photons pass through half-silvered mirrors in the forward direction of time is always approximately 1/2, whereas the frequencies with which photons pass through mirrors in the backward direction in time can be highly time-dependent. I argue that whether one should infer from this time-asymmetric phenomenon that time has an objective direction will depend on one's interpretation of quantum mechanics.
I discuss Julian Barbour's Machian theories of dynamics, and his proposal that a Machian perspective enables one to solve the problem of time in quantum geometrodynamics (by saying that there is no time!). I concentrate on his recent book, The End of Time (1999). A shortened version will appear in The British Journal for Philosophy of Science}.