Time as before, or after, but never now.

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Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 05:42 am
I doubt there is something called "now". We know from special relativity that different observers have different notions of now. For Observer O, and O*, where O* move at +v relative to O. An event E, depicted by O is (x, y, z, t), and O* is (x*, y*, z*, t*). In general, t is not equal to t* for v>0. This is just the consequence of the special theory of relativity that our notion of simultaneity is wrong. So, if we discard the notion of now, what remains of our notion of time? I there is still the notion of before, or after of an event. So:


1. There is no now.
2. There is before for an event.
3. There is after for an event.


My claim that 1 to 3 captures our notion of time.
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 07:37 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;156362 wrote:
I doubt there is something called "now". We know from special relativity that different observers have different notions of now. For Observer O, and O*, where O* move at +v relative to O. An event E, depicted by O is (x, y, z, t), and O* is (x*, y*, z*, t*). In general, t is not equal to t* for v>0. This is just the consequence of the special theory of relativity that our notion of simultaneity is wrong. So, if we discard the notion of now, what remains of our notion of time? I there is still the notion of before, or after of an event. So:


1. There is no now.
2. There is before for an event.
3. There is after for an event.


My claim that 1 to 3 captures our notion of time.


The present is a small part of the past. (immediate past)
The future is not knowable until it becomes part of the past.
Only the past exists in virtue of memory or historical record.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 07:43 am
@Owen phil,
Owen;156382 wrote:
The present is a small part of the past. (immediate past)
The future is not knowable until it becomes part of the past.
Only the past exists in virtue of memory or historical record.


What is your main point?
 
jgweed
 
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 07:59 am
@TuringEquivalent,
"Now" is unknowable except as a past event; it is like we are in a car facing backwards.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 25 Apr, 2010 08:05 am
@jgweed,
Then you support my thesis. Now, can you tell me something interesting?
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 11:58 am
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;156362 wrote:
I doubt there is something called "now". We know from special relativity that different observers have different notions of now. For Observer O, and O*, where O* move at +v relative to O. An event E, depicted by O is (x, y, z, t), and O* is (x*, y*, z*, t*). In general, t is not equal to t* for v>0. This is just the consequence of the special theory of relativity that our notion of simultaneity is wrong. So, if we discard the notion of now, what remains of our notion of time? I there is still the notion of before, or after of an event. So:


1. There is no now.
2. There is before for an event.
3. There is after for an event.


My claim that 1 to 3 captures our notion of time.
A still photo captures now, there is a now.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 12:22 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;156382 wrote:
The present is a small part of the past. (immediate past)
The future is not knowable until it becomes part of the past.
Only the past exists in virtue of memory or historical record.

Reality is composed of "events" not "things".
"things" are just events of varying duration dependent on your position for observation.
 
Extrain
 
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 04:23 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;156382 wrote:
The present is a small part of the past. (immediate past)


I'm just curious, is that not contradictory? I imagine you are just speaking colloquially or metaphorically. or not? What are past, present, and future...really? Are they mutually exclusive properties of events? Indexical terms?

Owen;156382 wrote:
The future is not knowable until it becomes part of the past.


Why can we not know about future events? Of course we can't have certainty about will happen, just as we can't have certainty about what already did happen, nor about what is happening. So isn't justified true belief sufficient for knowledge of future events, just as it is for present and past events?

Owen;156382 wrote:
Only the past exists in virtue of memory or historical record.


Either the past exists or it does not exist. If "it" exists only in the memory since only the memory exists of what happened once in the present time, then the past does not exist at all. What makes past-tense propositions about the past true if the past does not exist? Are not all history books false, then?
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 06:56 pm
@Extrain,
There's really no present, in fact. No matter how you couch it, the instant you can imagine any temporal event, it's past. It's really a term that denotes relative proximity to the current place in time in terms of blocks of realized sensory input. It's a useful term, but as time is theoretically infinitely-divisible in increments, it's almost impossible to nail down. As such, its just a concept for describing relative states.

James Mill (and later William James) did a lot of work on the way we perceive time and came up with what I believe is a good way to contextualize this problem. They called it the "specious present", the 'present' that is immediately recognizable within a given situation. Take, for example, viewing a flash that's a shooting star; though it might have taken a second perhaps, we see that as happening in a_point in time. Studies showed that we lump the 'present' different, with some blocks being up to about 12 seconds.

So there's a past, a future and a reference point we call the present. No matter how hard you try to nail down the present, it'll have passed into the past. This is from the perceptional view of time, an a practical context for our referencing. I make no claims to absolute universal physics Smile

Thanks
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 06:44 am
@prothero,
prothero;159037 wrote:
Reality is composed of "events" not "things".
"things" are just events of varying duration dependent on your position for observation.


Why do you mention reality here?

Reality is the total of existent things, including: events, happenings, and what is the case.
Things, eg. objects, are not events at all. All things have duration, don't they?
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 12:08 pm
@Extrain,
Originally Posted by Owen
The present is a small part of the past. (immediate past)

Extrain;159095 wrote:
I'm just curious, is that not contradictory? I imagine you are just speaking colloquially or metaphorically. or not? What are past, present, and future...really? Are they mutually exclusive properties of events? Indexical terms?


I don't see a contradiction, do you?

Originally Posted by Owen
The future is not knowable until it becomes part of the past.


Extrain;159095 wrote:

Why can we not know about future events? Of course we can't have certainty about will happen, just as we can't have certainty about what already did happen, nor about what is happening. So isn't justified true belief sufficient for knowledge of future events, just as it is for present and past events?


imo,
To know, to be certain, is to be able to show truth or falsity. It is not possible to show the truth of an event before its happening. What we show about a proposition when we know it, is its truth.
Future tense statements are believed true or false but, they cannot be known true or false.
Certainty is truth with respect to the method of decision that provides it.
"justified true belief" needs clarification.
Originally Posted by Owen
Only the past exists in virtue of memory or historical record.

Extrain;159095 wrote:

Either the past exists or it does not exist. If "it" exists only in the memory since only the memory exists of what happened once in the present time, then the past does not exist at all. What makes past-tense propositions about the past true if the past does not exist? Are not all history books false, then?


Past tense propositions are true when they are shown to be the case.
The record of their truth is current but the past is not current.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 03:13 pm
@Owen phil,
Owen;159275 wrote:
Things, eg. objects, are not events at all. All things have duration, don't they?
"Things" are enduring events. All "things" have been created by "process, events, becoming" and all "things" will be destroyed by "process, events, becoming". So process is primary reality and "things" are derived. "Becoming" is primary reality not "being". Time is merely process, change, becoming.

Reality is composed of droplets or moments of experience (of becoming not being). One moment of experience perishes and a new moment of experience is born incorporating elements of the past and possiblities of the future.
Things perpetually perish and are reborn. The many increased by one and becomes one in a neverending process of creative advance (the march of time).
 
Extrain
 
Reply Mon 3 May, 2010 12:59 am
@Owen phil,
Owen;159342 wrote:
I don't see a contradiction, do you?


If an event is present, then it is not past.
An event that is present is immediately past.
That's contradictory...at least it seems that way to me.

Perhaps you could clarify?

Owen;159342 wrote:
To know, to be certain, is to be able to show truth or falsity. It is not possible to show the truth of an event before its happening. What we show about a proposition when we know it, is its truth.


What do you mean by "shown"? Presently empirically observed? Logically or mathematically demonstrated? ...then it follows that I can't know about anything other than what I presently observe or have demonstrated to me.

Owen;159342 wrote:
Future tense statements are believed true or false but, they cannot be known true or false.


Why? Are you saying I can't know that Obama will be president of the USA tomorrow? If "Obama will still be president of the USA tomorrow" is true, and if I justifiably believe it is true (for which I am, in fact, justified), then I can know about a future event. It is certainly possible that Obama is killed by an assassin before he wakes up in the morning, sure. But I certainly don't require demonstrative certainty to know that he will still be president tomorrow, if this is, in fact, true and I am justified in believing that it is true. I don't have to be certain that a proposition about some event is true in order to know the proposition about that event is true. But this seems to be exactly what you are implying: that knowledge requires demonstrative or empirical certainty...

Owen;159342 wrote:
Certainty is truth with respect to the method of decision that provides it.


I don't understand what that means.

"P" is true, if and only if P.

Certainty has to do with some kind of notion of infallibility, or subjective degree of belief (level of conviction), like Cartesian indubitability.

It seems obvious to me I can still know that P even though I am not certain that P. It also seems obvious to me we are not really certain about anything, either. And if knowledge requires certainty, then I don't know anything at all.

Owen;159342 wrote:
"justified true belief" needs clarification.


There is a lot of stuff about that notion, and it is still widely discussed.
But it does have a core significance for epistemologists. Suffice it to say, I am justified in believing that P if I am within my "epistemic rights" to believe that P. So I know that P if and only if I am justified in believing P and P is true.

Owen;159342 wrote:
Past tense propositions are true when they are shown to be the case.


So if past-tense propositions are not "shown" to be the case, then they are false? That's not right. Are you proposing some kind of epistemic idealism, that what exists, or is true, consists only in what I can immediately perceive in the present time, or have demonstrated to me in the present time?

Owen;159342 wrote:
The record of their truth is current but the past is not current.


Yes. But that doesn't mean past-tense propositions are false, or not known to be true.
 
 

 
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