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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Cristi Stoica: on 12/24/08 at 16:11pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Foundalis, I like the explanation based on adaptation, which you...

Harry E. Foundalis: on 10/21/08 at 9:19am UTC, wrote Essay Abstract In physics, the following puzzle exists: there...


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FQXi FORUM
April 26, 2018

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: Why Does Time “Flow” but Space Is? Answers in Evolution and Cognition by Harry E. Foundalis [refresh]
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Harry E. Foundalis wrote on Oct. 21, 2008 @ 09:19 GMT
Essay Abstract

In physics, the following puzzle exists: there appears to be a physical device, the human brain, which manages to detect properties absent from the formulas of physics; namely, the one-way direction of time and its “flowing” quality. So, either (a) these two properties are physical and physics is an incomplete theory, or (b) they are cognitive (reducible to quantum physics after several levels of reduction, i.e., the neurobiological and chemical levels) and physics is complete as far as our knowledge of time is concerned. This essay claims that (b) is true: both the directionality and the flowing quality of time emerged as evolutionary adaptations in cognitively complex animal species. The main contribution of this essay is to explain why these adaptations emerged in such species, and thus to help disengage discussions on the directionality and flowing quality of time from physics proper.

Author Bio

Harry E. Foundalis has a Ph.D. in cognitive science (2006) from Indiana University, an M.Sc. in computer science, and a B.Sc. in mathematics. He also has keen interests in physics, astronomy, biology, cosmology, philosophy, classic literature, and more.

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Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 24, 2008 @ 16:11 GMT
Dear Dr. Foundalis,

I like the explanation based on adaptation, which you provide for our EGN worldview and for the perception of time as flowing. Nice essay.

Best regards,

Cristi Stoica

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