Authors
Marco J. Nathan
University of Denver
Abstract
During his celebrated 1922 debate with Bergson, Einstein famously proclaimed: “the time of the philosopher does not exist, there remains only a psychological time that differs from the physicist’s.” Einstein’s dictum, I maintain, has been metabolized by the natural sciences, which typically presuppose, more or less explicitly, the existence of a single, univocal, temporal substratum, ultimately determined by physics. This reductionistic assumption pervades much biological and biomedical practice. The chronological age allotted to individuals is conceived as an objective quantity, allowing one to straightforwardly assign and compare the biological age of organisms. This essay argues that the standard practice of assessing the age and aging of organisms against the backdrop of a physical conception of time is problematic. This becomes especially evident in light of recent discoveries of various levels of senescence underlying the development of individual organisms—a phenomenon known as ‘age mosaicism.’ The bottom line is that the study of age and aging requires a biological conception of time, as opposed to a physical one. Einstein clearly wasn’t wrong about his operationalization of time in relativity theory. Still time may be less monolithic than he surmised.
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DOI 10.1007/s40656-021-00381-y
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References found in this work BETA

The Direction of Time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Dover Publications.
Ageing and the Goal of Evolution.Justin Garson - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-16.
Can Aging Research Generate a Theory of Health?Jonathan Sholl - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-26.
Aging Biomarkers and the Measurement of Health and Risk.Sara Green & Line Hillersdal - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-23.

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Citations of this work BETA

Can Aging Research Generate a Theory of Health?Jonathan Sholl - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-26.
Between Hoping to Die and Longing to Live Longer.Christopher S. Wareham - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (2):1-20.
What’s My Age Again? Age Categories as Interactive Kinds.Hane Htut Maung - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-24.
The time of one's life: views of aging and age group justice.Nancy S. Jecker - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (1):1-14.

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