Does the present exist?

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Zetherin
 
Reply Thu 6 May, 2010 11:21 pm
@DaMunky89,
Pangloss wrote:
Yea Zeth, I know how a clock works, and I know that the business world goes by its number of revolutions per day. Implying that I did not understand this was obviously some sort of attempt at an insult to my intelligence, but I'm not so easily offended.


I'm not talking down to you. I'm pointing out the obvious so that you may realize how absurd the things you are saying are.

I understand how things can be interpreted negatively on here, but please try not to assume some kind of belittling tone. It's definitely not present (haha, present) here. What I'm saying is sincere, and I honestly think people use "philosophizing" to mask and make more complicated simple issues.

Quote:
And he's right; that distinction hasn't been correct since Einstein's relativity theories were published and tested.


You've yet to explain how the theory of relativity supersedes or is contrary to the popular understanding of time (that is, past, present, and future). Sorry, I just can't find anything within the link you posted which isn't compatible with what I've said.

Quote:
The fact is, we only perceive events that have already occurred.


We perceive things when they occur, and that moment is the present. We can reflect on the things that occur, after they occur, and that is a reflection of the past. We can also predict things which will occur, and that is a forecasting of the future. Moreover, like I said, it is nonsensical to speak of the past or future and at the same time deny that the present exists; refer to my "number three" analogy.

Quote:
If we can't agree on anything about the present, then, as I've already said, it's merely a subjective, abstract notion like God


"Country" is also an abstract object (I assume this is what you're referring to). But we know that something being a country is not subjective. I can't just say, "Hey, guys, this plot of land in my backyard is a new country!". We have agreed on those conditions which make a body of land a country, and we can distinguish between countries and non-countries. We also have agreed on what the present is, what the future is, and what the past is.

So, I don't understand why you think that since something is abstract, we can't have a definitive understanding of said thing. We very often do.

Quote:
Oh, and that analogy with Poland is entirely erroneous.


Well, I think it demonstrates two things:

1.) We do not need an exacting or all-inclusive definition of a thing to understand what a thing is. Another example is "game". In other words, though I can't give you an absolutely mathematical precise time that something happened, or provide you an exacting definition which describes "present", I can still give you a time, and you can still understand what moment it is that I'm referring to.

2.) A thing can still exist (like the country Poland), even though we may not perceive it. The country Poland would exist no matter if I knew about or not, or if I had perceived anything in Poland or not. Similarly, moments exist no matter if I know about them or not, or if I perceive them or not. (This is relevant because you keep focusing on us perceiving being the problem)
 
Doubt doubt
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:02 am
@DaMunky89,
time does not exist as it has no shape or location(semantics. i win). time can not be defined without using time in the definition or another word with time in the definition so that's crap. i would describe time as a force of corrosion that eats away at things. there is no past only memory's of what was the present and there is no future only hope that the present will continue. either way time is a concept that no two people can define the same thus can not be communicated from one to the other. all concepts are like Wittgenstein beetle in a box which i think is the most important thought experiment to ponder.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 02:08 am
@DaMunky89,
We're obviously just talking about two different things here. You mention "the popular understanding of time". What this thread is concerned with (or should be), is an objective, or absolute understanding of the nature of time. We can not claim that there exists an absolute "present" within spacetime, given the observations of relativity. That is why I objected to your initial statement that, "of course there is a present". Now, sure, when we're all standing around on the street corner talking about what's happening "right now" around us, we call this thing the present, and though it's not entirely accurate, of course the things we are observing do/did exist, and the concept of that moment of time (though unquantifiable) exists in our minds.

When relativity showed that there is no objective simultaneity, and that certain events can seem to last longer or shorter depending on the observer, it encouraged different philosophical views to take hold. The original post here was meant to argue against presentism (the doctrine that claims only the present exists), and I'm not sure how well it has done that. Relativity spawned many arguments to support the contrasting philosophy of eternalism, the doctrine of everything (past, present, future) existing, to the point where making a distinction between the three different time periods is meaningless. In this view, we exist in a "block universe", where everything (in all time periods) exists simultaneously in space. This view does seem to agree more with relativity, by the way, where an object has a worldline that is represented by its existence throughout space and time, and where events are relative. Eternalism would not exactly agree that "the present", as it is commonly defined, exists, in that it is no different from "the future" or "the past". See:

Rietdijk?Putnam argument - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00002408/01/Petkov-BlockUniverse.pdf

Then there's McTaggart, again, who argued quite convincingly against the idea of time existing at all:

The Unreality of Time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My point is that there are many good arguments on the nature of time...and, regarding the objective measurement of time, we can't agree on a present. So, for you to come into this thread and do nothing but reiterate the fact that we all subjectively can perceive, and talk about some type of "present", as if it can apply to a discussion on the objective measurement of time (which as I've very briefly shown, is a highly relevant philosophical question, and always has been), is just unproductive.

Now if you can't understand that, I'll just leave you with Augustine's quote: "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know."
 
Doubt doubt
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 03:46 am
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;161147 wrote:
We're obviously just talking about two different things here. You mention "the popular understanding of time". What this thread is concerned with (or should be), is an objective, or absolute understanding of the nature of time. We can not claim that there exists an absolute "present" within spacetime, given the observations of relativity. That is why I objected to your initial statement that, "of course there is a present". Now, sure, when we're all standing around on the street corner talking about what's happening "right now" around us, we call this thing the present, and though it's not entirely accurate, of course the things we are observing do/did exist, and the concept of that moment of time (though unquantifiable) exists in our minds.

When relativity showed that there is no objective simultaneity, and that certain events can seem to last longer or shorter depending on the observer, it encouraged different philosophical views to take hold. The original post here was meant to argue against presentism (the doctrine that claims only the present exists), and I'm not sure how well it has done that. Relativity spawned many arguments to support the contrasting philosophy of eternalism, the doctrine of everything (past, present, future) existing, to the point where making a distinction between the three different time periods is meaningless. In this view, we exist in a "block universe", where everything (in all time periods) exists simultaneously in space. This view does seem to agree more with relativity, by the way, where an object has a worldline that is represented by its existence throughout space and time, and where events are relative. Eternalism would not exactly agree that "the present", as it is commonly defined, exists, in that it is no different from "the future" or "the past". See:

Rietdijk?Putnam argument - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00002408/01/Petkov-BlockUniverse.pdf

Then there's McTaggart, again, who argued quite convincingly against the idea of time existing at all:

The Unreality of Time - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My point is that there are many good arguments on the nature of time...and, regarding the objective measurement of time, we can't agree on a present. So, for you to come into this thread and do nothing but reiterate the fact that we all subjectively can perceive, and talk about some type of "present", as if it can apply to a discussion on the objective measurement of time (which as I've very briefly shown, is a highly relevant philosophical question, and always has been), is just unproductive.

Now if you can't understand that, I'll just leave you with Augustine's quote: "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know."


externalism sounds like nonsense to me. the difference seems clear. past is a memory and future is a hope. explain to me the shape mass and location of the past or future. explain how abstract mathematics can outweigh all human observation through all of recorded history. for that to work you would have to be fooled into thinking you are alive when you are just seeing a movie on the screen of the mind. also relativity is a theory so you should not talk about it like it is a fact. also if some people are in the past while some are in the future this all becomes an argument on semantics and instead we should work on inventing new words to describe time because as of now by definition the past is gone and only something that can be remembered and the future is the hope that the present will keep going. What most believe to be infinite time is yet to be proven and could just be a long irrational number that for all intents and purposes is infinite but will eventually reach an end.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 11:16 am
@DaMunky89,
DaMunky89;159737 wrote:
I'm sure this topic is beaten to death already, but I didn't see anybody talking about it as of recently, so here's my two cents.

Many people believe that only "the present" is real. It's preceded by the past, which you remember, and the future, which you imagine. I think that's a silly concept. Here's my rebuttal:

  1. The present must lie between a time c seconds in the past, and c seconds in the future, where c is a mathematical constant. This is true because the present by definition is a span of time after the past and before the future.
  2. Units of time are merely a mathematical construct, and may be divided infinitely. Therefore, the present can be said to be ≤ c/∞ seconds in length.
  3. Any constant number divided by infinity is equal to zero. We must conclude that the present is ≤ zero seconds in length.
So, if the present is "a span of time zero seconds long", it effectively doesn't exist. Additional consequence: without the present to separate the past and the future, they become one distinguishable interval, which I choose to refer to simply as 'time'. My conclusion is that all moments in time are equally real.

What do you guys think?


Hi Damunky,

Let's see - According to me, and me alone, it seems.
No-one dares answer certain questions.

Does the present exist? Yes! always.

There is always a foremost event that draws the next (future) event into play. If we froze motion (all motion), there would be a distinguishable last occurence, assuming we could measure it that is.
I have no doubt, whatsoever, regarding this. But, cannot ever prove it.

Thank you, and prosper accordingly.

Mark...
 
Ergo phil
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 02:08 pm
@DaMunky89,
The present moment is like the horizon-- an illusion squished between the giants of the past and future.
 
north
 
Reply Fri 14 May, 2010 02:29 pm
@DaMunky89,
if the present didn't exist you'd be stuck in a loop of non-progressive thought Very Happy in the past

then of course how does the past then progress at the begining in the first place without the possibility of the present ?

conundrum to say the least
 
 

 
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