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#1 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 10:10 AM

We do not sense (hear, see, feel, taste, smell) time.  What we sense are the changes which things undergo and their motions.  From these our minds/brain creates/fills-in/assumes/discerns the concept of time.

 

I forget where I recently heard/read this.

 

On a number of occasions I have attempted to read Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.  I found this book difficult to understand.  I suspect the difficulty was in part caused by the unique words he used and the unique meanings Kant applied to those words..  Also, my difficulty may have in part been caused by the specific English translation of the original German which I was using.

 

However, in the section in which he dealt with the concepts of time and space, I understood him to say that time and space are constructs of the mind which the mind uses to help us understand the events we experience.

 

Please share your thoughts about the accuracy of the statements above (e.g. did Kant really mean what I took him to mean) and please share your thoughts about the truth of the statements above.

 

With gratitude,

 

Otto


Edited by Otto Piechowski, 11 January 2020 - 10:35 AM.


#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 10:55 AM

I think time and space are fundamental parts of the universe. Particles (possibly even dimensions!) can't exist without space to exist in and there can't be movement without time. Both are relative to the observer, much like the density of water is relative to the speed with which you move through it with, as well as its pressure, so they will not appear or feel the same to each observer, because the speed and the gravity we're in may differ, but they still both exist for all observers.   

 

 

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#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:02 AM

I think Mr. Kant needed a hobby


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#4 jdk

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:04 AM

Kant is famously impenetrable, even to the most hardened academics. It's a mistake to look at his understanding of time as authoritative; that would be like looking back to Aristotle to better understand atomic theory. 

 

I am very swayed by the idea that our perception of time is driven by cosmological evolution; just like our perception of space (and the words we use to describe it) is driven by our relationship to the earth. 


Edited by jdk, 11 January 2020 - 11:06 AM.


#5 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:32 AM

JDK,  I would appreciate you "unpacking"/explaining/talking-more-about your statement "I am very swayed by the idea that our perception of time is driven by cosmological evolution; just like our perception of space (and the words we use to describe it) is driven by our relationship to the earth."

 

About your statement "It's a mistake to look at his [Kant's] understanding of time as authoritative; that would be like looking back to Aristotle to better understand atomic theory.":  I agree, Aristotle has little if anything to tell us about atoms and their properties.  However, why atoms exist and what is their essence (intrinsic formal/material/efficient/final causes), are questions which science-as-science has no opinion because these are philosophical questions.  About these philosophical questions, the hylomorphic ideas of Aristotle, classical metaphysics/ontology and scholastic metaphysics/ontology, do have meaningful things to say and consider.  So, if one wants to know what the material parts and behaviors of atoms are; yes, I only need that physics which Aristotle never conceived.  

 

But if my interest (which it is) is why material realities such as atoms exists and what are the essential aspects of its makeup, then I need to go to the philosophy, in general, and metaphysics/ontology in particular.


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#6 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:37 AM

We are "prisoners" caught in our own perception of what we call reality which itself is constantly moving in time at a speed of one second per second. Since we also perceive time in a linear fashion in a "forward" direction, that is constantly moving forward into the future, but that direction is not a direction in the normal sense of North, East, South, West that we can point to since our "reality of  the present" is a bubble which contains us and all that we "know". It is possible that our "bubble" is stationary with "time" and the rest of our Universe moving around our bubble which we perceive as the flow of time passing from the present constantly into the future with the past "behind" us in a linerality of which we cannot perceive.

 

For anyone that is either confused or cannot grasp what I was trying to explain, my appologies. You will only be able to understand if you are in the same state of mind or insanity that I am. Good luck!

 

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#7 TOMDEY

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:40 AM

I'm currently reading Bradford Skow's Objective Becoming © 2015, Oxford University Press, UK. Loaded with cartoons depicting the familiar space-time relationships and coined metaphor constructs like ~Block Universe~ and ~Traveling Spotlight~ etc. Well, I intend to ~take the time~ to slug my way through from beginning to end, give him a chance to convince, elucidate... regardless of my already rather negative attitude and feeling that I'm probably paddling upstream through mumbo-jumbo land. All I can lose is a little time.

 

What I'm saying is that I think everyone seems to be using different words and complete metaphors to describe the same thing... with no obvious insights, gestalts, revelations or progress on the topic. All arguments seem to cascade to just the value of words... nothing else. Reductio ad absurdum seems to be the philosophers' ultimate self-actualization, necessarily and identically.

 

My own reductio is that... after all the dust has settled, after all the arguments have been exhausted... the World is... pretty much just what it appears to be... no more, no less. The rest is just Shakespeare's Sound and Fury... adding nothing.   Tom

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#8 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:00 PM

Perhaps an attempt to ask the opening question in another way, might be helpful.

 

Let us imagine our universe was devoid of life.  Would time exist in the universe?  Would space exist in the universe?

 

Otto



#9 llanitedave

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:27 PM

Perhaps an attempt to ask the opening question in another way, might be helpful.

 

Let us imagine our universe was devoid of life.  Would time exist in the universe?  Would space exist in the universe?

 

Otto

That's easy.  The universe does not exist for our benefit.  There are many things which we do not yet perceive, but they exist.  The things of the universe that we DO know about did not pop into existence on the day that some person, or ourselves, discovered them.

 

If life is required for the rest of the universe to exist, is it not equally valid to insist that my individual life is required for the universe to exist?  That it only begins to exist as I learn about it, and ceases to exist when I forget about it?  That when I die, it no longer exists?

 

I think that is a rather arrogant concept, narcissistic, actually.


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#10 TOMDEY

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:29 PM

Perhaps an attempt to ask the opening question in another way, might be helpful.

 

Let us imagine our universe was devoid of life.  Would time exist in the universe?  Would space exist in the universe?

 

Otto

Howdy, Otto!

 

And... seriously... Would the Universe exist. at all?! It's a very serious question asked by professional and amateur philosophers and occasionally, just occasionally... scientists and astronomers. Playing that logical thread backwards... is the Universe, necessarily (to its own existence), sentient? And also cruises ~full circle~ right back to Descartes's observation regarding thought and existence.

 

And my own concoction, excerpt from a poem I penned a few years ago >>>

 

Although I want,

I know I Kant,

to put the cart,

before Descartes...    Tom

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#11 bobhen

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:33 PM

I don’t believe “time” is actually a thing unto itself. It is the change in things and our environment that we perceive as time. Clocks don’t measure time they measure the movement/change of objects in our solar system.

 

For example: if you take a photo of your dog and print it out. That image of your dog will never change and so remains static in time. However, the print itself will degrade and eventually crumble and you can tell by the “degrading/change” of the paper and ink about how many earthly revolutions around the sun the print has made.

 

If everything in the universe stopped moving/changing/degrading, etc. from the atoms to the galaxies etc. (like that image of your dog) there would be no way to measure change and no way to measure time. 

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 11 January 2020 - 01:39 PM.


#12 bobhen

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:34 PM

Perhaps an attempt to ask the opening question in another way, might be helpful.

 

Let us imagine our universe was devoid of life.  Would time exist in the universe?  Would space exist in the universe?

 

Otto

Yes and Yes.

 

Bob


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#13 llanitedave

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:36 PM

Is there a universe when nothing happens nowhere all at once?



#14 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:37 PM

Thank you Bob. Dave, I think you agree with Bob; his yes and yes.  Correct?


Edited by Otto Piechowski, 11 January 2020 - 01:44 PM.


#15 Migwan

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:57 PM

I quit on Kant soon after understanding that the basis of his philosophy was, in my opinion, severely flawed.   His a priori assumes that we can know something that we could not have reasoned or perceived.   To me, that would be a belief, not knowledge.   

 

Regarding time, a friend named Charles once challenged a group with something like this.   Time, in an of itself, doesn't exist.  The banter this caused was at times raucous and the group eventually dissolved with this notion unresolved.

 

I argued that time is an existent circumstance and that we perceive it by differentiating it's passage from an interval of its passage.  I also  thought we could remove space from the equation using the following notion. 

 

In cognition, one thought follows another.  It's not like we think of everything, all at once.  Each thought is an interval and that they follow each other is allowed by the passage of time. 

 

I was partially crushed by a counter that space had not in fact beeen removed from the equation.  It was present as ions crossing semi permeable membranes all along our neural paths.   I still believe that we perceive time as a mindful differentiation between the movement of one interval to another and concede that space is a construct in the perception of time, one way or another.

 

jd


Edited by Migwan, 11 January 2020 - 02:06 PM.

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#16 jdk

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 01:58 PM

Otto, it seems like you may have just discovered one of the biggest schisms between classical and renaissance era philosophers. Most people who worry about this kind of thing usually talk about chairs (much like people who are worried about entropy talk about stirring coffee or breaking eggs). Is there some innate "chairness" to a chair, or is a chair just what we happen to call it? You're asking the same questions about time. Would time exist if there is no one around to call it that, or is there some innate "timeness" that transcends us?



#17 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 02:13 PM

I appreciate your responses.

 

And, while reading your responses, I realized that there is a way for me to ask this question without it being a hypothetical question.

 

After the big-bang, there was an original lifeless period during which many things were happening over increasingly great distance.

 

During that original "lifeless" period did time exist?  did space exist?

 

Otto



#18 Jim_V

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 02:40 PM

I have two feelings on time. Neither of which is provable, though both may be debated.

 

The first, which is facetious is: You are all figments of my imagination, as such time is just my way of keeping track of my imagination.

 

The second, is: Time must/need to exist, because linearity cannot happen without time.



#19 bobhen

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 03:06 PM

I appreciate your responses.

 

And, while reading your responses, I realized that there is a way for me to ask this question without it being a hypothetical question.

 

After the big-bang, there was an original lifeless period during which many things were happening over increasingly great distance.

 

During that original "lifeless" period did time exist?  did space exist?

 

Otto

The absence or existence of life is not a prerequisite for time.

 

The only prerequisite for time is change. Before the Big Bang everything (as far as we know) was uniform and therefor time did not exist nor did space.  After the “bang” change (expansion, evolution etc.) were introduced and therefor time began.

 

Bob



#20 EJN

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 03:48 PM

First, as I like pointing out, "space" and "time" as separate entities is an obsolete concept, having

been replaced by the concept of "spacetime" in relativity. And since relativity has passed the test

of having every prediction it makes verified by experiment/observation, we can be confident that

the theory is a reasonably accurate description of the universe.

 

In the simplest formulation (without gravity), the spacetime interval  "s" is given by:

 

ds2 = d(ct)2 - dx2 - dy2 - dz2

 

Since spacetime is the background on which everything else takes place, no spacetime = no

universe, whether or not humans (or any other intelligence) exists.

 

Because of the finite speed of light, we can see distant galaxies as they were before humans,

or even the solar system, existed. We occasionally see events such as supernovae happen in

them, so it is obvious that spacetime exists independent of human existence, since these

objects exist and events take place within them.

 

As for the "arrow" of time, the equations of classical physics are time-reversible, they work going

in either direction. However, the laws of thermodynamics, in particular the second law:

 

S = k log(W)

 

point towards the evolution of the state (S) of the system as not being time-reversible, in a

closed system the state always goes from order to greater disorder.

 

Living (biological) systems locally counteract the second law for a period of time, but at the expense

of increasing entropy in their immediate surroundings, preserving the second law overall.

 

Now, moving on to quantum mechanics, the equations obey what is called CPT (charge, parity, time)

symmetry. However, parity violations have been found in certain particle interactions involving

the weak interaction. In an expanding universe, T symmetry is violated globally especially in the

very early universe, where the phase space was expanding rapidly as well as the physical space.

And quantum mechanics is also subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

 

So modern physics has 2 mechanisms which account for the perception of time direction,

entropy and CPT violation.


Edited by EJN, 11 January 2020 - 03:53 PM.

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#21 llanitedave

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 04:06 PM

I appreciate your responses.

 

And, while reading your responses, I realized that there is a way for me to ask this question without it being a hypothetical question.

 

After the big-bang, there was an original lifeless period during which many things were happening over increasingly great distance.

 

During that original "lifeless" period did time exist?  did space exist?

 

Otto

If it didn't you would not be able to ask the question.


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#22 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 05:57 PM

EJN Thank you for that. I felt like I understood some of it, and I will understand more as I read it again and think about it more.

while I am doing so, a question about the history of physics. In coming to the realization of the existence of space time,; were considerations of space and time as separate things necessary for the ultimate arrival at an understanding of space time?

#23 Otto Piechowski

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 05:57 PM

EJN Thank you for that. I felt like I understood some of it, and I will understand more as I read it again and think about it more.

while I am doing so, a question about the history of physics. In coming to the realization of the existence of space time,; were considerations of space and time as separate things necessary for the ultimate arrival at an understanding of space time?

#24 EJN

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 06:56 PM

Yes, Newton postulated absolute space and absolute time as underlying his theory of

gravity and laws of motion.

 

Which seemed to work fine up to the discovery of the electromagnetic field.



#25 Keith Rivich

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 07:20 PM

Perhaps an attempt to ask the opening question in another way, might be helpful.

 

Let us imagine our universe was devoid of life.  Would time exist in the universe?  Would space exist in the universe?

 

Otto

Unless the lifeless universe experienced its existence instantaneously then time would have to exist. It took time to cool after its big bang. Time for the first stars to form. Things moved. R x ? = D 

 

And space would be needed for all this to occur in. 

 

The universe could care less about our existence...




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