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Ronald Green: on 5/17/20 at 7:57am UTC, wrote Dear Ilgaitis, Thank you for your comments and for introducing me to your...

Ilgaitis Prusis: on 5/17/20 at 7:26am UTC, wrote Dear Ronald, Thank you for your interesting essay. It is very good. I...

Ronald Green: on 5/15/20 at 9:08am UTC, wrote Hi Luca, Thank you for your comments, which were interesting and useful. ...

Luca Valeri: on 5/14/20 at 22:32pm UTC, wrote Hi Ronald, I enjoyed a lot reading your short essay about time and...

Ronald Green: on 5/11/20 at 7:54am UTC, wrote Dear Lockie, Thank you for your comments. I would have liked to read your...

Ronald Green: on 5/11/20 at 7:47am UTC, wrote Hi Georgina, Thank you for your comments, which are much appreciated. The...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/11/20 at 6:25am UTC, wrote Hi Ronald. You tackle a subject close to my heart. You do a good job of...

Lachlan Cresswell: on 5/4/20 at 13:56pm UTC, wrote Dear Ronald, A nice essay on various aspects of time. I wrote a long...


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FQXi FORUM
July 11, 2020

CATEGORY: Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest (2019-2020) [back]
TOPIC: Objectivity and Time by Ronald Green [refresh]
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Author Ronald Green wrote on Mar. 12, 2020 @ 14:49 GMT
Essay Abstract

A number of seemingly intractable puzzles in science could be unraveled if the element of time were introduced. It seems strange, in fact, that time is missing at all, considering that it is perceptively ubiquitous. A re-examination of time is needed in order to show its functionality within science and philosophy, laying to rest the notion of objectivity and in so doing will disambiguate the notions of unverifiability, unexplainability, and unpredictability.

Author Bio

Ronald Green, a former lecturer in linguistics and philosophy at Tel Aviv and Oxford, is the author of Time To Tell: a look at how we tick (iff Books 2018) and Nothing Matters: a book about nothing (iff Books 2011), and 13 ESL books used worldwide. His articles on philosophy have appeared in a number of journals, while his short stories have been published in several literary journals. He is active in showing the connection of philosophy to science, and explaining it in terms that are popularly understood.

Download Essay PDF File

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 08:02 GMT
Dear Prof Ronald Green,

Your Essay on "Time" is wonderful. Your words....

...............So prisoners we are. We cannot help looking back, just as we continue looking forward as part of our experiencing the proverbial flowing of time. An analogy with space, given by Bernardo Kastrup,5 is illuminating. Describing a road in the desert, where mountains are ahead of us and the valley from where we have come, it is claimed that we see it all simultaneously as a “snapshot of your conscious life.” But the images don’t hit us simultaneously. The further the places, the longer it takes for us to see them, all of which..........................

You are exactly correct here about time. I want to add an example that tells about time:.......... Think about your living room. Your there now. But you got a memory that you were not there in that room for month, came today only. Take the 3d space coordinates as the room. By the way of your memory, you know that you are not there yesterday. So the space coordinates are same, but the "memory" is another coordinate tell this fact, which is nothing but "time", what do you say???

By the way.....I just elaborated what should be the freedom available to an author when the “ real open thinking” is supported. Have a look at my essay please.

“A properly deciding, Computing and Predicting new theory’s Philosophy”

=snp.gupta

By the way....

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H.H.J. Luediger wrote on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 11:38 GMT
Hi Ronald,

reading your essay reminded me of Goethe: "Thus our relation to the past is one of the destruction of monuments: we dig up the graves of the past to be properly buried."

What this says is: TIME=PSYCHOLOGY. Would you agree?

However, as far as historical records go, stones keep on falling to the ground, not into the sky. In other words, what then is the dimension in which KNOWLEDGE exists?

Heinz

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Author Ronald Green replied on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 13:39 GMT
Dear Heinz,

Thank you for your comments.

That is an appropriate quote from Goethe. In the light of my essay, I do have a quibble with the word "properly". The point is that there is no (objective) "properly", and certainly not when it comes to putting memory to rest. Memory is never buried; it is a constantly moving phenomenon of a past that is always changing.

History is...

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Author Ronald Green wrote on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 12:58 GMT
Dear SNP Gupta,

Thank you for your comments.

When you say that I am in my living room now, I would say - as I did in my essay - that I am never anywhere now. 'Now' is too brief to have any events taking place in that time called 'now'. Even as you read these words, 'now' has slipped to the past and replaced with other 'nows' that are also moving back.

You are correct that at the same time that I am in my living room I have memories of when I was there before. And those memories are added to other memories mentioned above, thus changing them. So our memories are continually and continuously changing within the fluidity of our past. In other words, our past is always changing, so that there is no objective, absolute past.

I would like to read your essay. Will I find it in this forum?

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on Mar. 21, 2020 @ 10:22 GMT
Thank you Prof Ronald Green,

You gave good explanation of Logical NOWs...

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability are very much undesirable properties and out-comes of any theory. That theory might have developed by a very reputed person or by a group of well-educated and knowledgeable persons. There is no point of poring resources, money and highly educated man power into that theory when that theory is failing on above three points.

I just elaborated what should be the freedom available to an author when the “ real open thinking” is supported. Have a look at my essay with title......

“A properly deciding, Computing and Predicting new theory’s Philosophy”

=snp.gupta

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 21:29 GMT
Hello, very relevant philosophical analyse of this time. Congratulations. I work personally about my theory of spherisation, an optimisation evolution of the universal sphere or future sphere with quantum coded 3D spheres and cosmological spheres and a gravitational aether sent from the central sphere. I consider the philosophy essential for our physics like the maths, the philosophy permits to...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 13, 2020 @ 21:36 GMT
How this time must be understood philosphically speaking in fact ? like the infinity , the infinities and the finiet series if I can say. Because if we have this eternal infinite consciousness beyond this physicality and that this time does not exist there and that we have a pure eternity, we have the same paradoxal problem that with the infinity and infinities and finite series inside the physicality, like you have seen I don t consider that this God if I can say oscillate the energy infinite and eternal to create our reality and its topologies, geometries, matters and enmergent space time, I consider this gravitational aether and particles instead of Waves, so I don t consider these strings and a 1D main field or points and a geometrodynamics. I prefer particles coded in a superfluid aether, the space and vacuum so become relevant to analyse deeper. And about the infinity, and the time so we have interesting philosophical questions to analyse. ps sorry for my post, I write too quickly without rereading and I don t correct so sometimes they are errors, and my English is not perfect I am french speaking, regards

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Author Ronald Green replied on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 08:47 GMT
Dear Steve,

Thank you for your comments, which I found interesting.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 08:56 GMT
You are welcome, thanks , I found your essey interesting also, we search answers after all to this universal puzzle and its main unknowns

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Dale Carl Gillman wrote on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 02:17 GMT
Hello Professor Green,

I think that you do a wonderful job constructing a historical philosophical narrative. I thought that your essay was very interesting. Many of the essays that I have read lately are not dissimilar to mine. Have you read Daniel Kolak’s I am You. Please let me know if you would be interested and I will send you a link to the pdf of the book. Kolak provides a...

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Author Ronald Green replied on Mar. 15, 2020 @ 08:55 GMT
Dear Dale,

Thank you for your comments and for the links and suggested readings, many of which I am, of course, familiar with.

Regarding your comments in E, my essay points out briefly why there cannot be an objective existence of time, and that time 'exists' only relatively to other points at which time is said to exist. This, as well as aspects of causality, is greatly expanded in my book "Time To Tell: a look at how we tick (iff Books 2018).

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Mar. 19, 2020 @ 14:34 GMT
Dear Dr. Green,

Your essay on time is very well written, but I think you completely ignore the main issue:

Time is all about causality. “A implies B” is not the same as “B implies A”.

Time is not reversible in the real world. A dropped glass will break into a hundred small pieces, but the pieces will not spontaneously recombine.

I make several key points about time in my own essay, The Uncertain Future of Physics and Computing.

First, time and space are obviously different, and an abstract mathematical spacetime is not needed to explain relativity. Time is relative because the atomic clocks that calibrate its passage are variable.

Second, microscopic determinism is fully compatible with macroscopic uncertainty. I question the presence of fundamental quantum indeterminacy at any level, yet our ability to predict the future in complex systems is rather limited.

Third, consciousness is based on temporal pattern recognition of agency and the self, and creation of a simplified narrative in time involving the self, which connects past and future. This can be emulated using artificial neural networks.

Finally, let me comment on the conclusion of your essay: “we must question the deep-seated belief that the past is intrinsically different from the future …”

No, it is a fact that past and future are different, not a belief.

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

Alan Kadin

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Author Ronald Green replied on Mar. 20, 2020 @ 09:02 GMT
Dear Alan,

Thank you for your comments and for the time you took in examining my ideas. I am pleased to have the opportunity of addressing some of your issues.

I must disagree that "[t]ime is all about causality." Time is all about change, in which causality is a feature.

I agree, of course, that time is irreversible and it is linear, as I state "...the immutable linear...

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Gene H Barbee wrote on Mar. 22, 2020 @ 01:24 GMT
Ronald,

Wow! That is a lot to take in. If I understand part of what you say, we live in a memory centric existence. It seems to be dependent, not on time, but perception that moves forward based only on our past. As I read you essay it reminded me of one perception one person. I was struck by your reminder that Einstein said that time can’t be the same everywhere because there is distance between things. I had just concluded that there has to be a fundamental time to underlie protons that are everywhere the same. They are energy based and energy is E=h(1/time). This is consistent if everything is coincident and based on probability and perception. This would be extremely subjective.

I am aware that communication is difficult because we live in our own worlds. My view, I think, is similar to yours. I believe in an information based universe and believe that wave-function collapse is the basis of my (yours since we all have our own) perception. The perception, according to the Schrodinger equation is probability 1. But I think there is a huge amount of information in probability 1. It is information about nature and it is based on probabilities 1*1*1*1. Each 1 is the combination of probabilities that contain information fundamental to our perception of the proton in nature. It contains the laws of nature. Information processes separate (create) energy with equal and opposite halves in a creative process that we become part of. It might be one perception one person but we are part of a process that is apparently billions of years old. Bohm’s concept of an implicate order is appropriate. Billions of similar organisms have unfolded each with an apparent perception. I agree with a subjective view but have been working toward understanding the underlying structure that supports it.

I like your concepts.

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Author Ronald Green wrote on Mar. 22, 2020 @ 09:10 GMT
Dear Gene,

Thank you for your comments. I note that we seem to have similar views about the perception of 'reality'.

The connection between time and perception is an important point I make. With time as change, perception changes and it does so continuously for each of us as individuals. So, yes, it is - and can only be - subjective.

Your comments about information are interesting. Particularly interesting is your last sentence regarding the search for an underling structure. It is interesting in the sense that I don't believe that there is an underlying structure; there can't be if all is in constant change. An underlying structure would be objective (and untestable) and somewhat akin to Kant's 'thing in itself'.

Thank you again. Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Apr. 9, 2020 @ 00:41 GMT
Dear Ronald Green,

However much we try,we cannot imagine a world that has no time.” This is similar to saying we can’t imagine a wold that has no change.

The nature of change in physics is based on energy, which is the complement of time, but that brings ‘persistence’ into the picture. Noson Yanofsky’s essay treats persistence, whether in people, ships, nations, etc which retain identity over time while the pieces constituting the entities undergo constant change.. He too places the enduring or persistent ‘structure’ in the mind.

I believe that physicists project (in their minds) mathematical structure onto the world, then come to believe that physical reality actually has that structure. Some unlikely structures, such as ‘qubits’, taken seriously, lead to bad places.

You observe that ‘now’, ‘the present’, has fuzzy edges and we don’t know where it begins or ends. This was, more or less, the topic of three papers in Found. of Physics last November, that I treat in my essay, Deciding on the nature of time and space. You observe that special relativity complicates this further. My essay analyzes special relativity’s frozen 4D-ontology versus the (3+1)D-ontology of universal simultaneity across all space, which is the energy-time formulation of ‘spacetime’.

Whereas I agree with your observations about perceived or ‘experienced’ time as unique to each person, nevertheless, as you say, “we cannot imagine a world that has no (objective) time.” As I do not believe we can capture the experience of time, except allegorically or metaphorically, I focus on the shared or common time so necessary to physics. I hope you will read my essay and I welcome any comments.

Thanks for an insightful, topical essay.

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Ronald Green replied on Apr. 10, 2020 @ 14:03 GMT
Dear Edwin (if I may),

Thank you for your comments which I found not only interesting, but extremely helpful to the development of my thoughts on the subject and its ramifications.

I read your essay "Deciding on the nature of time and space", which I enjoyed, and which added perspectives to my own theories, and to which I will refer as well in my reply below.

I find much in...

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Lachlan Cresswell wrote on May. 4, 2020 @ 13:56 GMT
Dear Ronald,

A nice essay on various aspects of time.

I wrote a long post to you but was logged out after submitting and all was lost!

Now I am too tired to re-do it. My essay covers some aspects of time from the philosophy of presentism that may be of interest to you. I hope you find 'time' to read it.

Best Regards

Lockie Cresswell

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Author Ronald Green replied on May. 11, 2020 @ 07:54 GMT
Dear Lockie,

Thank you for your comments. I would have liked to read your essay, but I don’t seem to be able access it through your link. I’ll try again later.

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 11, 2020 @ 06:25 GMT
Hi Ronald. You tackle a subject close to my heart. You do a good job of explaining the experience of time from the human condition. The validity of memory is something you could have said more on. That memories are plastic and sometimes false. There is research showing false memories can be induced. I'm not sure the past is as unpredictable as the future, but memory and records are clues to what was and not certain truth. Authentication and corroboration help. Very readable. Regards Georgina

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Author Ronald Green replied on May. 11, 2020 @ 07:47 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Thank you for your comments, which are much appreciated.

The fact I was limited to 9 pages precluded me from making the points that you raised. For your information, all of them were dealt with in my book “Time To Tell: a look at how we tick” (iff Books), In which I was able to expand on each and every one.

Thank you again,

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Luca Valeri wrote on May. 14, 2020 @ 22:32 GMT
Hi Ronald,

I enjoyed a lot reading your short essay about time and objectivity or better non-objectivity. There are lots of pictures I like and a lot I disagree. I disagree because it questions the canonical way one looks at time in physics. But since it is well argued, it is on me to justify my view.

But let me first pick some if your statements I like lot. For instance pointing out...

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Author Ronald Green replied on May. 15, 2020 @ 09:08 GMT
Hi Luca,

Thank you for your comments, which were interesting and useful.

I read your essay, which I enjoyed. It does seem that there are some basic differences in our approach, which makes the topic interesting.

As you can see, I don't accept the possibility of objectivity in any sense. Yes, I agree with you that subjectivity is a mental construction. But how can it be anything else? What else is there apart from the construction/interpretation of the universe that presents itself to us? Objectivity can 'exist' only 'out there', absolute and unchanging - a situation that could never be arrived at.

So when you say that "lawful relations are contingent, depending on the environment and the mesoscopic scales of our body," I agree. How, then, can anything be objective? Where would 'reality' be, and in which sense?

In my view of time, the human is not an object within the universe, but the universe is within the human manifestation of his/her perception. To quote the last line of my book "Time To Tell: a look at how we tick": "It is time that contains the universe, not the opposite." (Marc Levy, "La Prochaine Fois",

I wish us both luck,

Best wishes,

Ronald

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Ilgaitis Prusis wrote on May. 17, 2020 @ 07:26 GMT
Dear Ronald,

Thank you for your interesting essay. It is very good.

I think the same. In the nutshell, Time itself does not exist. There are only motions. Motion is used as the time standard. The time is handy way to compare motions. Universal time (expansion rate of Universe) is irreversible. Local movements can be reversible, i.e., the local time can be reversible. More in: About Arrow of Time. http://viXra.org/abs/1902.0495.

Best regards

Ilgaitis

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Author Ronald Green replied on May. 17, 2020 @ 07:57 GMT
Dear Ilgaitis,

Thank you for your comments and for introducing me to your very interesting essay.

Best wishes,

Ronald

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