Hi Stephen;

I suppose we can think of time as a dimension. However, there are provisos. Time is not like x, y, or z in so far as we have no ability to freely navigate the axis in any direction we choose. We are embedded in time and it moves onwards in a single direction without anyone’s consent. Furthermore, where it possible to move around in time all sorts of paradoxes would appear to ensue that just don’t when I traverse the spatial dimensions. I’d appeal to an asymmetry between time and space, it is a dimension of sorts, but not one that can conceptually swapped with a spatial dimension easily. I don’t think the a priori requirements for space will be necessarily the same as those for time.

Therefore, whilst our prior notions of space might be fairly complex, it seems to me that our a priori notion of time is in fact very simple. It is just the notion of succession. That time exists if there is a successor event to this event. I can imagine a succession of events that are repetitions of one another, and whilst I can agree that duration would not be measurable, that time might not be noticed, our a priori notion of time is not contradicted despite that.

'What is a "clock" if not an means to measure change?'

A clock changes in order to measure time. Change is the measure of time, but is not necessary for time to occur. Changes do not occur just because time passes. Change is just necessary for measurement. I agree that time carries with it the possibility of change, but that is not the same. It cannot be both necessary and just possible, and the notion of change being a possibility entails that there is no contradiction in the notion of time in which there is no change.

As to how we extract notions of transitivity from series of events, I would imagine it similar to how we extract notions of causation from sets of constant conjunctions.

'Does a "history"" include values that can be associated with either of McTaggart's A or B series?'

There is a strong argument to suppose it can be. The B series seems to carry all the information needed to judge truth conditions of reflexive statements such as 'event E is past' (from the A Series). The statement is true so long as it is occurs after event E. A B Series can then at least take a part in our conception of a history.

What is needed is a sense of 'now'. A change of time rather than a change in time, a succession of events. So temporal becoming has to be invoked somehow - but also, it shouldn’t be identified with conscious experience, there is no requirement for transitivity 'within the frame' so to speak. The danger with associating temporal becoming with our personal experience of time is that it is this that appears to deny time. To conclude that our experience of time is somehow fundamental to time itself, is to deny time exists when there is no observation of it.

Are you not open to the charge you are levelling at others? Are you not at least partially a time denier?

I accept that in a sense we always imagine time from a temporal perspective, that we can not leap out of the temporal view so to speak, but whether that should lead to a conclusion that makes experience of time fundamental is not so clear.

I prefer to think that temporal becoming is in some way an objective property of time. I think of it as conceived by Aristotle, as the now that stays the same, as 'what is now' changes. We experience time as we do with a future past and present, because of the way time in fact is. Where I think computational models might break down regards what process they invoke to run the B series in order to stamp each event with future, now and past, - what is their incarnation of 'now' - and whether the adoption of such a process involves a pernicious infinite regress.



From: "Stephen Paul King" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
CC: <everything-list@eskimo.com>
Subject: Re: The Time Deniers and the idea of time as a "dimension"
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 11:26:45 -0400

Dear Chris,

   Thank you for this post! Interleaving...

----- Original Message ----- From: "chris peck" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: <everything-list@eskimo.com>
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2005 7:34 AM
Subject: Re: The Time Deniers and the idea of time as a "dimension"

Hi Stephen;

I have a couple of quesitions.

"Emulations involve some notion of a process and such are temporal. The idea that a process, of any kind, can "occur" requires some measure of both transitivity and duration. The mere *existence* of a process only speaks to its potential for occurrence."

Im not quite sure what you mean by this. Possibly you mean that to coherently describe time it isnt enough to have laid out in succession a series of moments, or events, described by real numbers or however. There must also be something running through the series in order for the concept of time to make any sense. If you like, there must be a 'now' - a temporal position of sorts - in which raw sensory experience - audio and vision perhaps - comes together synaesthetically into a coherent perspective and is then consigned to memory. Put another way, there are many strips of film one could thread through a projector but until one does so the well ordered sequence of frames remains static, time is not realised in any coherent way in a film until it is shown. I think that if this is what you mean (or close) i'ld like to add my support to you're objection.


What you seem to be considering is the distiction between 1st and 3rd person aspects! The "...laid out in succession a series of moments, or events, described by real numbers or however" is the 3rd person: The "view from the outside" of time. The 1st person aspect is: "running through the series in order for the concept of time to make any sense". This is the view from the inside in the sense that at any given "present moment" - 'now'- an observer (that has the capasity of making a report) will find itself within an experience. What ever the means are considered to generate that "experience", what does not change here is that the any observer will have a 1st person experience of something and within that experience there will be some means of distinguishing the overall content of that experience and some sense of somehow being seperate from it. It is this "seperateness" that, I believe, connect the 1st and 3rd person aspects and this is where the "inside" and "outside" framing obtains. One way of thinking of this is to consider a video game that is set up so that on can switch between seeing the computer generated scene, as one "moves around", from the point of view of "where the eyes are" to the point of view of a camera "floating overhead". What remained the same in the switching?

However, you might mean that there must be some sense of duration and transitivity within each individual moment. If you like, a series of events (frames, real numbers) which individually have no duration (or sense of transition) can not therefore collectively be considered to obtain such properties. I disagree with that. duration and transitivity can obtain accross a span of events, and to be strict I dont undestand the requirement for change at all.


No, if we are taking the notion of a moment to an infinitesimal "slice". It seems that in our eagerness to mathematize everything in sight, we neglect the consequences that obtain. Numbers by themselves do not naturally code for the operations on those numbers. We can arbitrarily assign some number to "+", "-", etc. as we find in Goodel numbering, but this is not natural, it must be assigned "by hand"! Thus we find ourselves in the predicament of having to account for where the notions of duration and transitivity come from. As to the requirement of change, I am claiming that we must have some prior notion of change, at least the potential to change, in order to have a coherent notion of transitioning from one "frame", number, Observer Moment, Time capsule, or whatever. Even is we are going to use numbers, the simplest of the ideas here, we have to have some "change" between the numbers themselves as some quantity to relations between the numbers. The mere existence of quantities is not sufficient to include both the numbers themselves and the relationships between them (the latter including the operations on the numbers). Figuratively, somewhere somehow, there must be included some form of change.

'Time, from what I have studied so far, involves two distinct notions: a "measure of change" and an "order of succession".'
I can see that time involves an 'order of succession'. I dont see that time is a 'measure of change', if by that you mean that time depends on change to exist. I can concieve an infinate universe consisting of a solitary glove over time, a universe in which there are moments but no change. Awareness of time might not be possible in the absense of change, but that is not the same thing as time not existing. Moreover, it seems odd to insist - if you are insisting - that events (frames, real numbers) change rather than the just the substances which characterise the event itself.


What is a "clock" if not an means to measure change? Time is not the change itself, it is the valuation of that change. Change is what is taken to be a priori in the notion of time; in requers some process of differentiation. "Distance" is a measure of extention, requiring some prior co-existence of differenciable entities. The how and the why of this differenciation is what we need to look at carefully. We can assume that the differentiated entities exist a priori, like numbers, but if we errace all vestiges of a means to "know a difference" such as an observer, what coherence remains?
   Numbers, in-themselves (dasein), are meaningless.

In boiling water, the water (substance) changes temperature, the event at which all the water has passed temperature 'd' requires no inherent 'becoming' to make sense temporally, it just needs to 'identify' the state of the water at that time, doesnt it?


Your claim here depends on looking only at an abstract slice 'd' that has some quantitative value within some assumed coordinate system; temperature vs. time. This is going back to the cellular automata results where I pointed out that the range of values over the checker board of results can only be taken after the act of rendering the result, not prior to it. Does a "history"" include values that can be associated with either of McTaggart's A or B series? No! It has boundaried at some initial point and spans to some "present moment". Again, we are considering an order of events after the fact of their ordering. The "measure of change" aspect goes from the 1st person aspect of "being there as the history was happening" to the 3rd person aspect of comparing the events at one date of a history to another.


Kindest regards,


Winks & nudges are here - download MSN Messenger 7.0 today! http://messenger.msn.co.uk

Reply via email to