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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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Is Time Real?

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  • Is Time Real?

    Or an illusion, just an abstract that we invent to mark successive events?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  • #2
    Spacetime and matter. Are real. Time we measure as seconds. The order depends on place and distance. The units we use are made up. Only what we think we are trying to measure had reality. Every thing is in constant change. But maybe not at 0 degrees Kalvin.
    . . . the Gospel of Christ, for it is [the] power of God to salvation to every [one] believing, . . . -- Romans 1:16.

    . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: . . . -- 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: . . . -- 1 John 5:1.

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    • #3
      The phrase "successive events" presupposes the existence of time in the first place.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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      • #4
        Originally posted by seer View Post
        Or an illusion, just an abstract that we invent to mark successive events?
        I think you'll find that everyone (except, perhaps, Julian Barbour) agrees that time is real; the better question is whether the passage of time is real. That is to say, does the present actualize future events, which then fade into the past; or are all moments of time co-extant and actual, together.
        "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
        --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by seer View Post
          Or an illusion, just an abstract that we invent to mark successive events?
          It depends on what time is, but I'd say that 'change' is real. The fact that things move from one state of being to another, a match is unlit, is struct and is now lit, is real. The idea that there's a persistent reality to match being unlit and to being lit, is false; the universe doesn't exist as a solid block, where a particular moment is a slice taking along it. That's sometimes a practical view to take in order to do calculations, but its not a notion that makes sense metaphysically.

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          • #6
            The big problem with saying that things are changing for a theist, is that we assert both that God is changeless, and that God is omniscient.

            The question is then, can God know what the present moment is?

            I know the way scholastic metaphysics have solved this issue, and I might give it later, but I'm curious if anyone has some other opinions on this.

            Mind you this issue was severe enough that it forced William Lane Craig to say that God entered time after He created the universe, though I'm not sure if Dr Craig would say that God underwent change during this.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
              The phrase "successive events" presupposes the existence of time in the first place.
              I'd disagree, I think there's more to what time is rather than merely successive states of being. It involves that as a minimum, yes, but there's more to it. In Heaven we won't have time, but there'd still be successive states of being.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
                I'd disagree, I think there's more to what time is rather than merely successive states of being. It involves that as a minimum, yes, but there's more to it. In Heaven we won't have time, but there'd still be successive states of being.
                I don't understand what you mean, here. How could there be successive states of being in Heaven without time? Successive along what dimension of measure?
                "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                  I think you'll find that everyone (except, perhaps, Julian Barbour) agrees that time is real; the better question is whether the passage of time is real. That is to say, does the present actualize future events, which then fade into the past; or are all moments of time co-extant and actual, together.
                  But time is not a physical thing, it has no substance correct? Can you point to something else in the universe that exists but has no physical substance?
                  Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    But time is not a physical thing, it has no substance correct? Can you point to something else in the universe that exists but has no physical substance?
                    Time is certainly a physical thing. Space-time is the substance of the universe.
                    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                      I don't understand what you mean, here. How could there be successive states of being in Heaven without time? Successive along what dimension of measure?
                      The dimension of measure is a good point, because I think that is what fundementally what time is: the fact that we can talk meaningfully about duration of events.

                      When an hour has passed for me, an hour has passed for you. During this hour, we both experience succession of experiences, but these are constrained by time in that we can only experience so many things during one hour. So time here can be seen as a constraint, rather than simple an axis to plot events on.

                      We know that time won't exist in Heaven, but we also know that we won't experience the same kind of timelessness that God enjoys, so scholastic philosophers have postulated a state of being they call sempiternity for souls in Heaven. They would go from one state of being to another, again because the Bible reports this, that the souls of righteous run to and fro. However they would do so unconstrained by time, so that there could have number of experiences they cared for during any event. To a soul in Heaven, there could be a thousand years in a single second on Earth.

                      Also events in Heaven would happen discontinuously in so far as souls in Heaven have no physical bodies, but are pure spirit. So their events would be more similar to our thoughts, their minds moving from one state of being to the next.

                      They'd get back a continuous sense of time at the Resurrection.

                      However their experience of God, the Beatific Vision, would be completely changeless, without either growth or diminishment in quality.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
                        Time is certainly a physical thing. Space-time is the substance of the universe.
                        Well what is time made of? Photon? Electrons? Atoms?
                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Leonhard View Post
                          To a soul in Heaven, there could be a thousand years in a single second on Earth. ...Also events in Heaven would happen discontinuously in so far as souls in Heaven have no physical bodies, but are pure spirit. So their events would be more similar to our thoughts, their minds moving from one state of being to the next.
                          I must not be understanding something, because this certainly seems like a description of temporal events.

                          Originally posted by seer View Post
                          Well what is time made of? Photon? Electrons? Atoms?
                          Time is not "made of" anything. It is a measure of displacement between events.
                          "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
                          --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by seer View Post
                            But time is not a physical thing, it has no substance correct? Can you point to something else in the universe that exists but has no physical substance?
                            Space. If you remove all physical objects from it, it is still there.

                            Time is like a 4th dimension of space. Just like you can move through space, you move through time. The difference is that there is only one direction you can move in time, and you can't stop moving in it. But the rate at which you move through time does vary, depending on the amount of mass around you, or your speed through space. The closer you are moving to the speed of light, the faster you move through time from your subjective view, but slower from everyone else's view. You would see the outside universe speed up, and the outside universe would see you slow down.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seer View Post
                              Well what is time made of? Photon? Electrons? Atoms?
                              That's a bit like asking what distance is made of.

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