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January 20, 2018

CATEGORY: The Nature of Time Essay Contest (2008) [back]
TOPIC: On the Non-Existence of Time by James E Tyson [refresh]
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James E Tyson wrote on Dec. 1, 2008 @ 10:55 GMT
Essay Abstract

Through a careful and persistent separation of physical reality from what our senses perceive, the author demonstrates that time is a function of our conscious minds and not a part of physical reality. He proposes that the time should be discarded as a fundamental dimension, and replaced with a fundamental quantity called “urge” which is a measure of degree and direction of the instantaneous motion of a particle or, in another sense, its desire to be somewhere else during the present instant. The question of the arrow of time is shown to be partly a mathematical near-certainty and partly a perception of the mind, rather than a part of physical reality.

Author Bio

James Tyson, 54, is a civil engineer from Central New Jersey. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Princeton University. He has had an avocational interested in physics and cosmological questions since his high school years and has been a regular follower of developments in these fields. He has more recently developed an interest in the philosophy of science.

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F. Le Rouge wrote on Dec. 4, 2008 @ 09:32 GMT
Due to my French origin, I share your conclusion that Time has nothing to do with physical reality and thus must not be included in Physics as it is in 'Quanta Physics' and in Einstein's Theories that are obvioulsly non-sense.

But is what we state understandable in an Anglo-Saxon or Asian culture? I do not think so. The difference between me and you is that it is the cut from what our senses perceive that has driven to this 'Time ideology' in my opinion -a 'Time ideology' which is first of all a 'Musical ideology'.

James Tyson wrote on Dec. 10, 2008 @ 03:21 GMT
I believe it was Einstein who said that something is more real when it appears the same regardless of which perspective it is viewed from.

I don't know why a person from another culture would have more or less difficulty understanding this. Are you saying that some languages suggest concepts of time differently than others? I don't know much about Asian languages, but certainly French & English both have past and future tenses in addition to present, which, I would think, convey a similar concept of time.

Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 16, 2008 @ 13:47 GMT
Dear Ing. James Tyson,

I agree with you that the phenomena of light, color, sound, language etc. are not fundamental, being “emerged” from the fundamental phenomena by our perceptions and minds. In a sense, time as we perceive it is also a projection of our minds. You sustain well a presentist view (I admit this, although my personal opinion is different), and you correctly acknowledge the usefulness of time in physics. On the other hand, if we consider time as being rather an illusion, this may apply as well to the space. Not necessarily because of the Theory of Relativity, which relates in an interesting manner the space and time, and which rejects an absolute direction of time in the spacetime by rejecting the simultaneity. You said well that time will be absent in the absence of motion (I would say that it would be useless, or redundant, but from operational viewpoint this means absence). But if the state of a system is invariant to translations along a given direction in space, then we can also factor out that direction from our representation of the Universe, so in this sense even space may be an illusion. I like your idea of “urge”, and your warning that we should not regard the word “desire” from an anthropomorphic viewpoint. My humble suggestion would be to use the word “tendency” instead of “desire”, as being less anthropomorphic. Especially because I understand that you attempt by this proposal to distillate the real, physical quantity underlying the time, from our anthropomorphic view of time. In this respect, maybe the essay of Hrvoje Nikolic can be connected with yours, as a complementary approach (he seems to defend the block time view). In fact, in my humble opinion, the “urge” may be independent from the presentist view (which I understand to be the two main proposals of your essay).

Congratulations for your essay, which is both interesting and well written.

Cristi Stoica

Flowing with a Frozen River

matthew kolasinski wrote on Dec. 30, 2008 @ 06:09 GMT
Hello Mr. Tyson,

i experienced your paper as thought provoking.


"It may be initially difficult to think of motion in terms of an instantaneous velocity that exists only in the present. To aid our thinking, I would suggest a new quantity which I call "urge" (u). It can be thought of as a property of a particle that describes its ..desire,, to be somewhere else at the...

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Astro wrote on May. 17, 2010 @ 13:35 GMT
The arrow of time doesn't even exist.

I proved this once verbally. How can there be a directionality to time, if big bang happened everywhere? To draw a linearity or directionality in time, you need a specific point in which you can draw a line and calculate the distance from. In all honesty, spactime does not hold such a quality.

The linearity of time is IN FACT purely part of our percption of a past and a future. Even though the past and future do not actually exist, the perception of it allows us to destinguish the psychological arrow of time. The only true kind of arrow which explains the linearity in terms of our experience of the world around us.

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