Mod+ Time [Resources]

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
Usual "rules" - no problem commenting on resources, but if conversations get long best to make a new thread for them. Ideally 3 comments discussing a post, don't go past 5 before making a new thread - thanks!

To kick things off, look for a celebratory song at the end of this post.


The Unreality of Time By John Ellis McTaggart

It doubtless seems highly paradoxical to assert that Time is unreal, and that all statements which involve its reality are erroneous. Such an assertion involves a far greater departure from the natural position of mankind than is involved in the assertion of the unreality of Space or of the unreality of Matter. So decisive a breach with that natural position is not to be lightly accepted. And yet in all ages the belief in the unreality of time has proved singularly attractive.

In the philosophy and religion of the East we find that this doctrine is of cardinal importance. And in the West, where philosophy and religion are less closely connected, we find that the same doctrine continually recurs, both among philosophers and among theologians. Theology never holds itself apart from mysticism for any long period, and almost all mysticism denies the reality of time. In philosophy, again, time is treated as unreal by Spinoza, by Kant, by Hegel, and by Schopenhauer. In the philosophy of the present day the two most important movements (excluding those which are as yet merely critical) are those which look to Hegel and to Mr. Bradley. And both of these schools deny the reality of time. Such a concurrence of opinion cannot be denied to be highly significant -- and is not the less significant because the doctrine takes such different forms, and is supported by such different arguments.

I believe that time is unreal. But I do so for reasons which are not, I think, employed by any of the philosophers whom I have mentioned, and I propose to explain my reasons in this paper.
And now the song:

 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
Quantum Experiment Shows How Time ‘Emerges’ from Entanglement

This is an elegant and powerful idea. It suggests that time is an emergent phenomenon that comes about because of the nature of entanglement. And it exists only for observers inside the universe. Any god-like observer outside sees a static, unchanging universe, just as the Wheeler-DeWitt equations predict.

Of course, without experimental verification, Page and Wootter’s ideas are little more than a philosophical curiosity. And since it is never possible to have an observer outside the universe, there seemed little chance of ever testing the idea.

Until now.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don't Exist at the Same Time

The experiment shows that it's not strictly logical to think of entanglement as a tangible physical property, Eisenberg says. "There is no moment in time in which the two photons coexist," he says, "so you cannot say that the system is entangled at this or that moment." Yet, the phenomenon definitely exists. Anton Zeilinger, a physicist at the University of Vienna, agrees that the experiment demonstrates just how slippery the concepts of quantum mechanics are. "It's really neat because it shows more or less that quantum events are outside our everyday notions of space and time."
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
A description of Jung's possible Time Slip

As Jung and his friend entered another room, they saw four very attractive biblical mosaics where Jung has seen windows on his first visit. Realizing he must have missed those particular panels back in 1913, he began to question his memory. Even so, the two people stood there studying the newly found pieces of art and talked about them for twenty minutes.
After leaving the mausoleum, Jung went to a store in order to buy picture post cards of those mosaics to take home with him. Sadly, he couldn’t find any and no one seemed to know what he was talking about.

So impressed was Jung with those four mosaics, he even mentioned them in some of his lectures after he returned home.

Sometime later, he asked a friend who was planning a trip to Italy, and visiting the Galla Placidia Mausoleum, to buy him the post cards he couldn’t find. The friend agreed but upon his return, he told Jung that no such biblical panels existed. Instead, the man found the missing windows just as Jung recalled from 1913.

In writing about this experience many years later, Jung still marveled about it and said that the memory of those four mosaics continued to burn brightly in his mind.
 
#7
Time exists in any world in which there is change, because time is the essence of change. Time exists wherever consciousness and experience exists, because conscious experience inherently entails change. Our world contains change and consciousness and therefore also contains time as a real thing (though we do not understand what it actually is). Making an argument that time is unreal is therefore specious and self contradictory since this argument is itself an act of consciousness.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#8
Time exists in any world in which there is change, because time is the essence of change. Time exists wherever consciousness and experience exists, because conscious experience inherently entails change. Our world contains change and consciousness and therefore also contains time as a real thing (though we do not understand what it actually is). Making an argument that time is unreal is therefore specious and self contradictory since this argument is itself an act of consciousness.
I'd agree with this. I think it's more about showing we don't understand many things about time.

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Thanks to Ethan for putting me on to this:

Chapman University scientists introduce new cosmic connectivity

There are different types of non-locality which quantum mechanics showed could not exist in classical physics. In classical physics for a particle to experience a force, it must be at the same location where the force is. In quantum mechanics you can have a force in one place while the particle moves outside. Nevertheless, the particle will still feel this force. This is called the Aharonov-Bohm effect.

There is another kind of non-locality that has to do with the relation between two particles that used to be next to each other in the past and then subsequently were separated to a large distance. Even after they were separated far apart, they appeared to maintain a strange kind of connection—what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.” However, these surprising kinds of connections had many limitations. For example, the particles had to originally be next to each other and only a relatively small number of particles in the universe could be connected with each other at a time.

While the above was remarkable enough, now it appears this was only part of the story as demonstrated in a recent paper by a team from the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University co-authored by Yakir Aharonov, Fabrizio Colombo, Sandu Popescu, Irene Sabadini, Daniele Struppa, and Jeff Tollaksen. They introduced a new kind of quantum connectivity between particles which transcends these limitations. This connectivity is happening all the time on a much bigger, cosmic scale.

“With the new kind of quantum linkages which we have introduced, the particles don’t have to interact in the past. In fact, they have no idea that the other particle even existed,” said Jeff Tollaksen, Director of the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University.
Aharonov turned Einstein’s question around and asked, “Why does God play dice?” He found that Nature gains something very beautiful and exciting with this indeterminism: the present is not only affected by the past but it is also affected by the future. That is, the future (also known as post-selection) can come back to the present (like in the movie “Back to the Future”). So quantum mechanics does not pick out an arrow of time, it works just as well from past to future as from future to past. The quantum world links the future with the past in subtle and significant ways; and in dramatic contrast to everything previously known about time.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
Remembered seeing this awhile back:


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A counterpoint to the above video -> As Hahuri mentioned in other threads, Bergson was against this idea of looking at time in frozen moments. I've not read much about his philosophy of time, having only heard of him a few days ago, but here's his SEP entry:

Henri Bergson (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

'...for him, no image can represent duration. An image is immobile, while duration is “pure mobility”'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#10
Smolin's lecture regarding the Evolution of the Laws of Physics, centered on the work which went into his book Time Reborn:

 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#11
Smolin's lecture regarding the Evolution of the Laws of Physics, centered on the work which went into his book Time Reborn:

Is it possible that time is real, and that the laws of physics are not fixed? Lee Smolin, A C Grayling, Gillian Tett, and Bronwen Maddox explore the implications of such a profound re-think of the natural and social sciences, and consider how it might impact the way we think about surviving the future.

Full event, Q&A available by following link in comments.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#12

'There are serious indications from attempts to create a quantum theory of gravity that time must disappear completely from the description of the quantum universe. This has been known since 1967, when DeWitt discovered the Wheeler-DeWitt equation.

I shall argue that this forces us to conceive explanation and causality in an entirely new way. The present can no longer be understood as the consequence of the past. Instead, I shall suggest that one may have to distinguish possible presents on the basis of their intrinsic structure, not on the basis of an assumed temporal ordering. If correct, this could have far-reaching implications. Hitherto, because the present has always been interpreted as the lawful consequence of the past, science has made no attempt to answer 'Why' questions, only 'How' questions. But if there is no past in the traditional sense, we must consider things differently. Thus, if we eliminate time, we may even be able to start asking "Why" questions.'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#14
Great stuff Ethan. I'm a huge Dilbert fan!

Introduction to Time Symmetric Quantum Mechanics (TSQM)


Nearly all physical processes at the microscopic level are time symmetric, such that that the theoretical statements that describe them remain true if the direction of time is reversed. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_of_time) It is the second law of thermodynamics and our experience that conventionally limits classical mechanics and the equations of Maxwell, Schrödinger and Heisenberg to a “forward in time” direction. Accordingly, any quantum system is normally described in terms of the quantum state(s) of the system’s initial condition(s) and the subsequent evolution of the initial state(s) in a “forward in time’ direction. However, in time-symmetric quantum mechanics (TSQM), quantum systems must be described both in terms of forward-in time evolution of the systems’ initial boundary states, but also in terms of some future-defined boundary conditions that evolve backward in time.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#15
Surprise! Naturalistic metaphysics undermines naive determinism, part I

The best argument in favor of scientific realism is known as the “no miracles” argument, according to which it would be nothing short of miraculous if scientific theories did not track the world as it actually is, however imperfectly, and still managed to return such impressive payoffs, like, you know, the ability to actually send a space probe to Mars. Even so, the anti-realist can reply, we know of scientific theories that are wrong in a deep sense and yet manage to be empirically adequate, Newtonian mechanics perhaps being the prime example.
I talked about the pessimistic meta-induction at TAM a couple of years ago, and Richard Dawkins approached me afterwards to let me know that — clearly — the Darwinian theory is the obvious exception to the meta-induction, thus displaying a surprising amount of ignorance of both the history of biology and the current status of evolutionary theory. Cue the onslaught of incensed comments by his supporters...
Surprise! Naturalistic metaphysics undermines naive determinism, part II

The same goes for causality: when historians, economists, biologists and so on talk about “X causing Y” they are simply deploying a concept that is useful for capturing patterns that are affected by time asymmetry, and that are no more or less illusory than patterns at any other level of analysis of reality. The only difference between physics and the special sciences, according to Ladyman and Ross, is that the former is concerned with patterns that have for all effective purposes a very very large domain of stability (both in space and time). Biologists, instead, are concerned with patterns that have local stability both in space (earth-bound, for now) and time (the duration of the life of an individual, or of a species).

The surprising upshot of all of this is that physicalist reductionism — the idea that all the special sciences and their objects of study will eventually reduce to physics and its objects of study — is out of the question. And it is out of the question because of a metaphysics (ontic structural realism) that is based on the best physics available! If you are not blown away by this you may not have caught the thing in its entirety and may want to go back and re-read this post (or, if your philosophical and physical chops are adequate, ETMG).

This has all sorts of implication for those increasingly popular (and, I think, annoying) statements about determinism and reductionism that we keep hearing. Turns out that they are based on bad physics and worse metaphysics. There is no fundamental determinism for the simple reason that there is no fundamental causality, and that “cause” is a conceptual tool deployed by the special sciences that has no counterpart in fundamental physics, and so it cannot be reduced to or eliminated by the latter.
eta: Massimo's not a Platonist or Ontic Realist anymore, see here.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#16

'The talk will examine an embarrassment shared by both theological and scientific approaches to the intelligibility of the world and h ighlighted for theologians by Special Divine Action (SDA).

I will suggest that a serious, perhaps the central, problem presented by SDA is that of understanding a local event being brought about by an agency or force that is, by definition, absolutely general. The commonly expressed worry that SDA requires of God that he should violate His own laws reflects only the most obvious manifestation of what is a deeper difficulty; namely, finding an adequate explanation of the local, and actual, in the general.

The scientific endeavour to make the universe entirely intelligible - culminating in a putative Theory of Everything – encounters similar problems. I shall examine the Principle of Precedence in its various guises (inertia, laws of nature, probability) and different approaches to causation. They all prove profoundly unsatisfactory for different reasons. The difficulty common to various naturalistic responses to ‘Why’ is that of establishing an adequate connection between the explanandum and the explanation given that the former inevitably sets out general possibilities and the latter is composed of singular actualities.

The goal, or regulative idea, of science – namely finding a sufficient reason for singular events in the general properties of the universe to which they belong - is analogous to the theological aim of making sense of SDA by connecting and reconciling such action with fundamental characteristics of God. I shall argue that theists and atheists both need to look critically at the very idea that things happen because they are made to happen, typically by what has preceded it characterised in most general terms; at the notion of ‘becausation’.

In the final, and most speculative and least-developed, part of the paper, I shall ask whether the search for an explanation of events in something that makes them happen is prompted by a felt need to reconnect items of an intrinsically seamless universe pulled apart into distinct elements by the irruption of self-consciousness into Being. This last idea is offered up tentatively for dissection.'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#17
Henri Bergson’s The Creative Mind

Bergson distinguishes between two forms of time: pure time and mathematical time. Pure time is real duration. Mathematical time is measurable duration. Real time is continuous and indivisible. Mathematical time is divisible into units or intervals which do not reflect the flow of real time.

According to Bergson, real time cannot be analyzed mathematically. To measure time is to try to create a break or disruption in time. In order to try to understand the flow of time, the intellect forms concepts of time as consisting of defined moments or intervals. But to try to intellectualize the experience of duration is to falsify it. Real duration can only be experienced by intuition.

In the intellectual representation of time, a succession of distinct states or events is presented as a spatialized form of time. Time is conceptualized as an ordered arrangement of defined events, rather than as an endless flow of experience in an indivisible continuity. The intellect analyzes time as having measurable duration, but the flow of real time can only be known by intuition.

Bergson says that reality has extension as well as duration. However, space is not a void or vacuum which is filled by reality. Things are not in space, space is in things. Thus, emptiness can only be conceptualized by suppressing a space-occupying reality. Similarly, nothingness can only be conceptualized by suppressing the awareness of being. According to Bergson, emptiness cannot be directly perceived, it can only be conceptualized...

...The existence of time may explain the indeterminateness of things. Time as duration may explain why indeterminate things may later be able to be determined. Things that can be determined may also become indeterminate. If time did not exist, all things could (theoretically) be determined simultaneously. The indeterminateness of things means that the outcome of some events may change, and that there may be freedom of action. Freedom can be experienced by direct intuition.

According to Bergson, the reality or actuality of something is not necessarily preceded by the possibility of that thing. When something is real or actual, we can say retrospectively that it was possible. But whatever is possible does not reveal what is real or actual. Whatever is real or actual reveals what is possible...

...If reality is always changing, then this variability contradicts the theory that every event is causally determined, and that every event must necessarily happen the way it does happen. If reality is not a succession of static moments or immobile states of being, then there is an indeterminateness and uncertainty in events which produces a freedom of creative possibility.

Time is not a multiplicity of moments, nor is it an abstract eternity. Both of these concepts of time fail to recognize its movement and variability, which cannot be properly understood by representing time as a succession of immobile stages of specified duration.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#18
Space, Time and Consciousness: An Enquiry into Duration

'Since it is a succession of states of consciousness that occurs intensively in our minds in a qualitative way rather than an extensive quantitative phenomenon, duration cannot exist in space – for as soon as we try to objectify and externalise duration, it becomes something else. It becomes space. To make this clear and support his argument, Bergson gives an example of the idea of a flock of fifty sheep being counted in duration. Here we have a flock consisting of fifty sheep, and to count this flock in an attempt to experience duration, one could begin by picturing in his or her mind all the fifty sheep at once. The problem, however, is that in that case the sheep would be placed in space rather in time. Needless to say, this would not represent duration, since there would be no process of succession within one’s mind but just the idea of fifty sheep occupying different spaces within a wider given space.'

'This shift from duration to space is facilitated by the confusion which arises when we try to measure duration. As previously said, duration is immeasurable. If by any means it were to be measured, the only way to do so would be to attach some sort of symbol to it in order to symbolically represent it in space. To that end, whatever symbol that is attached to duration must be placed in space and in space only, it cannot exist outside it.Therefore the relationship between duration and symbols, such as numbers, causes a confusion which leads to time becoming spatialised. We can identify this happening in the aforementioned example of the conscious point traversing the lone: By symbolically representing the trajectory which the point had made and also that which it was yet to make, an objectified line was created in space, which resulted in the qualities produced by duration being nullified and duration becoming space.'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#19
Close To Truth Interview Series -> What is Time?

'Time is a mystery; it's not what it seems. Time's flow feels unstoppable, yet some say time is not fundamental, perhaps not even real. Why do physicists and philosophers think time is a construct, something that emerges, not something that is basic? From where does time come? What is its deep essence?
'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#20
Time's Arrow: Can physics explain the nature of time?

Time appears to be the ultimate form of progress: an unavoidable direction imposed on the universe. Some physicists claim this is an illusion. How should we make sense of time? As a dimension, a flow, a place, a process, a social construct, or something altogether more mysterious?

The Panel
Physician, poet and thinker Raymond Tallis, philosopher and broadcaster Angie Hobbs, theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, and philosopher of time Craig Bourne go in search of time's direction.
 
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