# Defining time

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Sat 17 Jan, 2009 01:13 pm
Hello all,
In Philosophy class the extra credit assignment is to give a non-circular definition of time. Here's my shot, let me know what you think.

Time would first have to be split to be more specific. So, I will refer to the two as Time Relative (scientific) and Time Objective (abstract).

Time objective is one of the forces that drives all systems to change. If there were a system that never changed that system would transcend time.

Time relative is the measurement of the amount of that force (time abstract) which is required in a system to produce a certain change (relative to other forces in that system).
i.e In the iterative system of the earth's change in position relative to the sun we get the idea of what a year is.
or
velocity=distance/time

validity

Sat 17 Jan, 2009 04:31 pm
@re turner jr,
re_turner_jr wrote:
Time objective is one of the forces that drives all systems to change. If there were a system that never changed that system would transcend time.

Time relative is the measurement of the amount of that force (time abstract) which is required in a system to produce a certain change (relative to other forces in that system).
i.e In the iterative system of the earth's change in position relative to the sun we get the idea of what a year is.
or velocity=distance/time

You may need to tease out the meaning of force and differentiate it from time. For example a cannon works by a chemcial reaction that creates a pressure difference. The force pushing the cannon ball is the result of the electromagnetic force of the combusting gunpowder. Try it with any force you can think of and the force will be reduced to one of the four fundamental forces ie Fundamental interaction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now does time drive change or does a force drive change? Does time measure the change or cause the change?

Sekiko

Sat 17 Jan, 2009 07:38 pm
@validity,
[SIZE="4"][INDENT]
I like your concept of time being the force behind change. However, I can't help but notice that you don't have an actual theory that explains how the presence of time would result in the change of the system.

I think I can help. Instead of seeing time as a force separate from systems, I see it as an inherent property present in all sub-atomic, i.e. quantum, particles. Now, when you think about it, a sub-atomic particle can exist in two states: a particularite state, and a field-like state.

I believe the particle state to be, in essense, the very representation of a moment in time, that is, sub-atomic particles in the particle like state only occur when they are interacting with something, like, say, a photonn detector.

On the other hand, the field like state of a photon is tantamount to an accumulation of all possible future states, one of which will occur at precisely the moment when the particle interacts with something else.

In other words, a photon as a field can be said to be in the "past/future" state, seeing as how it represents all possible states. Any one of those states will become the present as the photon interacts with, say, a retina. And as the particle photon exists only for a moment in time, we could say that as a photon is a particle is precisely the unit of time.

When we scale the countless interactions of subatomic particles, we see that time isn't universal at all, but rather changes according to the mass of particles in space. Thus, scaled over billions and billions of interactions, you, in essense, get change to occur in the universe at a rate quite identical to that of einsteinian relativity.

In this sense do I feel that time is not a force on it's own, but a property that is inherent in the structure of reality.

[/INDENT][/SIZE]

re turner jr

Sat 17 Jan, 2009 09:11 pm
@Sekiko,
Sekiko wrote:

I like your concept of time being the force behind change. However, I can't help but notice that you don't have an actual theory that explains how the presence of time would result in the change of the system.

Perhaps it could be argued that time, rather than a force in itself, is the catalyst that allows the four fundamental forces to be applied to matter?

GHOST phil

Sat 17 Jan, 2009 09:25 pm
@re turner jr,
Time is not definable. It just is. We will never properly define it nor measure it. We will never warp it with anything other than our mind. It can only be said to exist because we, the observer, the self-aware consciousness, experience one moment after the next. I think of it like a hamster ball. We are stuck in it, and as we move forward, so does time.

Sun 18 Jan, 2009 01:03 pm
@GHOST phil,
Wasn't it Einstein who said that time and space are inventions of mankind? They provide a convenient filing system for events.

The Past exists only in our memories and the Future exists only in our imaginations. The only time that exists is Now. But, since it takes a few milliseconds for our mind to work, Now is in the Past when we become aware of it. So the only thing we have is the Past -- is our memories.

My own (verified) experiences indicate to me that there is no sequence of time in the Past. Everything is at the same "time". Everything is equally accessible as if it happened 1 second ago, even though our "filing system" may record that it happened 1 hour ago, or 1 year ago, or 1 millenium ago.

I would tend to define Time as "a filing system used for relating our memories of events with positions and rotations of the Earth relative to the Sun."

GHOST phil

Sun 18 Jan, 2009 05:40 pm
I would drop the Earth rotating about the sun part. I would say "a filing system used for relating our memories of events in sequences, according to the order in which they occured."

boagie

Sun 18 Jan, 2009 05:57 pm
@GHOST phil,
Time, the perception/experience of the changing relations of things, time as a cognitive reaction forming consciousness. Without consciousness there is no time just changing relations. Take anything, put a circle around it and it is a clock, measuring seconds and/or the eons.:a-thought:

xris

Mon 19 Jan, 2009 06:22 am
@Sekiko,
Sekiko wrote:

[INDENT]I like your concept of time being the force behind change. However, I can't help but notice that you don't have an actual theory that explains how the presence of time would result in the change of the system.

I think I can help. Instead of seeing time as a force separate from systems, I see it as an inherent property present in all sub-atomic, i.e. quantum, particles. Now, when you think about it, a sub-atomic particle can exist in two states: a particularite state, and a field-like state.

I believe the particle state to be, in essense, the very representation of a moment in time, that is, sub-atomic particles in the particle like state only occur when they are interacting with something, like, say, a photonn detector.

On the other hand, the field like state of a photon is tantamount to an accumulation of all possible future states, one of which will occur at precisely the moment when the particle interacts with something else.

In other words, a photon as a field can be said to be in the "past/future" state, seeing as how it represents all possible states. Any one of those states will become the present as the photon interacts with, say, a retina. And as the particle photon exists only for a moment in time, we could say that as a photon is a particle is precisely the unit of time.

When we scale the countless interactions of subatomic particles, we see that time isn't universal at all, but rather changes according to the mass of particles in space. Thus, scaled over billions and billions of interactions, you, in essense, get change to occur in the universe at a rate quite identical to that of einsteinian relativity.

In this sense do I feel that time is not a force on it's own, but a property that is inherent in the structure of reality.

[/INDENT]
Maybe you can help..does a static state experience time ? say for instance a magnetic field in itself does that initiate time ? If you have true vacume does it exist outside of time, especially if there is no activity at all within its boundries? You cant put a clock into it because that would create time.Thanks xris..

ACWaller

Mon 19 Jan, 2009 01:58 pm
@re turner jr,
Thankyou for this thread. I thought it would be a simple matter of physics, but it made me realise that physics defines the units of quantities pretty precisely e.g.

The second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom

But I realised it doesn't define what the quantities of S.I. base units actually are.

nameless

Mon 19 Jan, 2009 02:16 pm
@re turner jr,
I heard an interesting 'definition' once, might have been I. Asimov;
"Time is the measure of distance between two events."
(The perception of 'time' is a 'local' relic of linear sequential Perspective (appearances).)

re turner jr

Tue 20 Jan, 2009 04:32 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
I heard an interesting 'definition' once, might have been I. Asimov;
"Time is the measure of distance between two events."
(The perception of 'time' is a 'local' relic of linear sequential Perspective (appearances).)

So if an event happen in my front yard, and another event happens 100 miles away at the same moment, then the 100 miles between the two events is time??

I think your definition (or Asimov's) needs a little work. A measure of the distance of what?
**Also note that the original post states "non-circular". Sequential would be hard to define without referring back to time.

nameless

Wed 21 Jan, 2009 03:52 pm
@re turner jr,
re_turner_jr;43831 wrote:
So if an event happen in my front yard, and another event happens 100 miles away at the same moment, then the 100 miles between the two events is time??

I think your definition (or Asimov's) needs a little work. A measure of the distance of what?

I'm not thinking that you are understanding his quote.
'Miles', physical distance, is irrelevent here.
Can you not get past the 'physical' aspect of 'distance'? Have you never heard the term 'distant past'? 'Distant relative'? Do you really think that it refers solely to 'miles'? Can 'minutes' not be a 'distance'?
I think that your reading and understanding of the quote "needs a little work".

Ola

Thu 29 Jan, 2009 11:18 am
@re turner jr,
My best definition of time is:
A humans wrongfull understanding of movement - mainly from human logical deduction limits.
Dissonant movement of three or more objects lead humans to belive that there is such a thing as time. There is such a thing (abstract tool) but time may not be used in the way that scientist do today.
For example - There is no such thing as time travel. That would mean not just having to freeze all objects in the universe but also changing the laws of physics and making everything work backwards(!).
Things move - when we see this, an idea of time is perceived. Wrongfull conclusions and interpretations are made (our minds seek patterns and connections where there are none).

Time = Movement
Or rather
Movement => (idea of) Time

Bones-O

Thu 29 Jan, 2009 02:36 pm
@re turner jr,
Perhaps the point of the assignment is to show that you can't. So much of what we can talk about depends on time that to define it necessarily introduces circularity of argument. For instance, you cannot state that time is what allows things to have motion, since motion is the rate of change of position with time. Even if you put time on the same footing as space as per Minkowski, you then need a non-circular definition of space. And before anyone says space is what separates things, ask yourself 'separate in what'?

re turner jr

Thu 29 Jan, 2009 04:28 pm
@Bones-O,
I think that Bones is right!
-about a definition of time being circular by nature
-about a definition of space having the same infuriating quality

Thanks Bones

The assignment is over and been turned in I'll post later the exact def. I used and the grade, just for anyone interested.

Bones-O

Thu 29 Jan, 2009 05:11 pm
@re turner jr,
re_turner_jr wrote:
I think that Bones is right!
-about a definition of time being circular by nature
-about a definition of space having the same infuriating quality

Thanks Bones

The assignment is over and been turned in I'll post later the exact def. I used and the grade, just for anyone interested.

Is now a bad time to mention that I also believe that no-one exists except myself and that planets are kept in their orbits by monkeys swinging them on invisible strings?

Paracelsus

Tue 17 Feb, 2009 04:09 am
@ACWaller,
Bergson Matter and Memory.

BrightNoon

Tue 17 Feb, 2009 07:32 pm
@ACWaller,
Time is change, not the force that drives change. A force operates in time; the concept 'force' means nothing without the passage of time. To say that time is the force driving change is just a play on words; we tend to need to invent an agent to 'do things' in the world. Time 'does this or that' resulting in change = time is change. It would like saying that 'it is energy which energizes an energetic movement.' ...says nothing

ACB

Fri 27 Feb, 2009 04:37 pm
@GHOST phil,
GHOST wrote:
I would say "a filing system used for relating our memories of events in sequences, according to the order in which they occured."

I think this is exactly right. Time is all about the sequential order of events. The time interval between two events is entirely determined by the number of intermediate events. Some aspects of time - i.e. temporal order, the idea of 'before' and 'after' - have to be regarded as brute facts of experience. But the idea of time as a distinct entity, additional to the ordered events themselves - time as a thing that 'flows' - can be dispensed with.

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