On 12/24/2013 5:26 PM, Edgar L. Owen wrote:
Liz states that "Special relativity shows that there is no such thing as a "common present moment". but this is incorrect.


Actually special relativity shows exactly the opposite. In my book I explain how this works. It is well known, though little understood, that everything without exception continually travels through spacetime at the speed of light according to its own comoving clock. I call this the STc Principle. This is a well known consequence of special relativity but actually as I point out in my book this is an even more fundamental Principle than Special Relativity and Special Relativity is properly a consequence of it and can be derived from it.

What the STc Principle says is that the total velocity through both space and through time of everything without exception is = to the speed of light. This is the reason that time slows on a clock moving with some relative spatial velocity, as Special Relativity tells us.

It also demonstrates that the speed of light is properly understood as the speed of TIME. That's what c really is. Light just happens to move entirely in space according to its own comoving clock, therefore its entire spacetime velocity is in space only.

Anyway it is precisely this STc Principle that puts both the arrow of time and a privileged present moment on a firm physical basis. Why? Because it requires that everything must be in one particular place in spacetime (the present moment) and moving at the speed of light (the arrow of time).

This is the same approach used by Lewis Carroll Epstein in his excellent little book, "Relativity Visualized". His diagrams of spacetime use the usual spacial coordinates, but instead of coordinate time the fourth axis is proper time. Since the proper velocity is always 1, a Lorentz boost just rotates this velocity so is has an increased space component and a reduced time component. As Epstein puts it, "The reason we can't go faster than light is that we can't go slower. There is only one speed. Everything, including you, is always moving at the speed of light."


However, that doesn't change the fact that space-like separate events can be seen to occur in either order depending on the choice of inertial frame, which is what is meant by the there is no global "present".

Brent



So exactly contrary to your statement, it is precisely special relativity, properly understood, that puts both the arrow of time and a common present moment on a firm physical basis.

This insight simultaneously solves two of the big problems of the philosophy of science, the source of the arrow of time, and the reason for a common present moment, though no one seems to have recognized this prior to my exposition in 1997 in my paper 'Spacetime and Consciousness'.

Edgar


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