• Benj96
    1.6k
    Benj96 I tend to scold people here on their use of the word " information " without much result. Could you explain ( your basis for and physically how ) energy and matter hold information.

    To me, the best way to understand time psychologically is to define information as brain state existing as the physical brain with mental content. No Tinkerbelling please. Energy should be just energy and matter should be just matter.
    Mark Nyquist

    I'll try my best not to tinkerbell haha.
    What do we mean by "information". For me it is synonymous with "change" and thus requires two distinct states of existence: 1). An observer and the 2) the observed
    So far so good?

    Observation is an active process (it requires information to travel from A (the object) to B (the subject).

    Information can only travel between the two if there is a). Inherent information on offer within the object - for example matter - which gives quantitative and qualitative information: how much, what shape, what texture, size, colour, location etc.

    b) inherent information in the subject (a database for reference - Memory, as well as the perception of time that that data offers by being static (stored) in a changing external environment (one where new stimuli are constantly flowing in through the senses and influencing the database.
    .
    c). Sufficiently short distance between A and B so that the information exchange can be accurately interpreted as occurring almost simultaneously. Things that are light-years away are not occurring "now" when the light reaches our eyes. The speed of light (fastest rate at which information can travel) has an influence.

    Energy should be just energy and matter should be just matter.Mark Nyquist

    But it is not.
    They are the equivalent by a function of the speed of light. E=mc2. If energy should just be energy and matter just matter than you'd have to contest Einsteins famous and widely accepted formulas relating to general and special relativity.
  • Benj96
    1.6k
    Benj96 Nice discussion of the physics related to time. Thanks. :cool:jgill

    Thank you jgill. :)
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    Progression of physical matter.
    Clocks are physical matter that can delivery a number.
    Mark Nyquist

    But what is measured by the clock, as time, is decisively not the "progression of physical matter". It is something which applicable to all the progression of all physical matter, yet it is not the progression of any physical matter itself. This is evident from the relationship between time and light. In this sense, time, as the thing measured, becomes more like a limit or restriction to the progression of physical matter.

    All we are doing with the idea of time is piggybacking on the progression of physical matter.Mark Nyquist

    No that's not the case at all. As indicated above, we use time in the practise of physics, to restrict the things we can say about the progression of matter. So it is not a case of "piggybacking", it is a case of us saying, this is what time is, and time imposes limitations on matter, so our conceptions of matter must abide by these limitations which we say time enforces. A good example is the law of entropy.

    The problem though, is that when we stipulate this is what time is, and these are the limitations it imposes on matter, how do we know that we have it right?
  • Mark Nyquist
    366
    I grew up not believing in time so that's my bias. I sometimes change my view but have to be convinced.

    My mindset is that it's always the physical present and that physical matter changes.

    What if instead of calling it time in our math we switched to calling it physical change units? The math would work out exactly the same and we would relieve ourselves of the false perception of time.
  • Mark Nyquist
    366
    I'm guessing you went to public school. Am I right?
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    we use time in the practise of physics, to restrict the things we can say about the progression of matter. So it is not a case of "piggybacking", it is a case of us saying, this is what time is, and time imposes limitations on matter, so our conceptions of matter must abide by these limitations which we say time enforces.Metaphysician Undercover

    Is time a mathematical construct external to matter , such that it acts as a generic and universal limit on matter , while matter itself has aspects or properties which can be understood independently of time? Is time external to and unaffected by the things located in time?
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.5k
    Everyone knows what time is.Raymond
    Do they? Or do they think they know? :smile:

    That's why I wonder what the big mystery is.Raymond
    Well, I don't think that it is a mystery: it is not something kept secret, neither something obscure nor something puzzling. No one questions what "time" is, since this word is deeply rooted into our minds and lives since ever. We are talking about it ... all the time. Right. Like in this expression, time has a lot of meanings and uses. We also personify it, using it as an entity, in phrases like "Time goes by", "Time heals", etc. And we treat it as something that we even own: "I have no time for this", "My time is limited", "My time or your time (different time zones)?", etc.

    But the essence of time escapes most people, even philosophers and scientists. Yet, Heraclitus had shown --2,500 years ago-- in the best way possible the essence of time, and without even talking about it: "Everything flows". "You can't walk into the same river twice." Perpetual movement and change. So, the actual mystery is why have we kept on chasing a phantom since then! :smile:
  • Benj96
    1.6k
    we would relieve ourselves of the false perception of time.
    6h
    Mark Nyquist

    How would we relieve ourselves of false perceptions of time when we cannot avoid perceiving time? Its part of consciousness.
    If you ask 10 people how much time elapsed after a fun/exhilarating event like a roller-coaster ride, you'll find a large descrepency between individual opinion. Some may say it took 28 seconds, others 1 minute and 10 seconds, when according to a clock it may have actually been 47 seconds.
  • Benj96
    1.6k
    Is time external to and unaffected by the things located in time?Joshs

    I would say no as time passes internally (perception) and externally (standardised for use by everyone as a collective).

    A person just waking from a coma likely has a very different perception of the passage of time as someone who lived their life conscious during that coma period.

    When you sleep does it feel like 8 hours have passed? Or does it feel like you fell asleep, had a few minutes worth of dream recollection and then woke up? The perception of time is dependent on level of consciousness.

    Time clearly then has Duality. That which is personally interpreted to have passed, and that which has objectively passed/elapsed.
  • Benj96
    1.6k
    I grew up not believing in time so that's my bias. I sometimes change my view but have to be convinced.

    My mindset is that it's always the physical present and that physical matter changes.
    Mark Nyquist

    Well you would find relatvity very interesting then. As because it takes time for light/other perceivable information to travel a distance, according to relativity nothing is "simultaneous".

    According to relativity an absolute "present" doesn't exist for objects/observers. If it did then everything - past, present and future would all occur equally instantaneously.
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    GLEN willows
    These are the folk who will explain the ineffable at great length, with no awareness of the irony involved. Historically such a thread runs parallel to, but against the flow, of philosophy, which seeks open rational explanation. — Banno
    GLEN willows
    Empirical Science studies the effable & phenomenal (physical) aspects of the world. So, it's left to Philosophy to dabble in the ineffable & mental (metaphysical) features of reality. Whenever a scientist makes a generalized inference about her object of study, she's doing philosophy or metaphysics, not physics. The art of philosophy is to describe abstractions, such as space & time, in metaphors that allow us to imagine concepts that are not physical things, but "psychologically real" metaphysical meanings. Metaphors & analogies are intended to express ineffable ideas in meaningful comparisons.

    Ironically, the best scientists are not just data-loggers, but philosophers who extract general meaning from the specific data. "Rational explanation" is not a phenomenal observation, but a logical (philosophical) inference. Nobel-prize-winning scientists are usually the ones who make the ineffable effable. For example, Einstein replaced the notion of Space as a vacuum lacking contents & properties, with the metaphor of space as a flexible fabric and a pool of potential (virtual ; unreal) energy. :smile:

    phenomenon : noun. any state or process known through the senses rather than by intuition or reasoning.

    Ineffable :
    There are two slightly different flavors to 'ineffable', let's call them 1) things impenetrable to our understanding and 2) things that defy description. For the latter we need not venture beyond our imaginations to find the limitations of language...
    https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/65854/have-philosophers-explored-the-ineffable-and-what-in-our-language-makes-it-impo

    The illusion of time :
    Why is time controversial? It feels real, always there, inexorably moving forward. Time has flow, runs like a river. Time has direction, always advances. Time has order, one thing after another. Time has duration, a quantifiable period between events. Time has a privileged present, only now is real. Time seems to be the universal background through which all events proceed, such that order can be sequenced and durations measured. . . .
    To many physicists, while we experience time as psychologically real, time is not fundamentally real. At the deepest foundations of nature, time is not a primitive, irreducible element or concept required to construct reality.

    https://www.space.com/29859-the-illusion-of-time.html

  • Joshs
    4.2k

    Empirical Science studies the effable & phenomenal (physical) aspects of the world. So, it's left to Philosophy to dabble in the ineffable & mental (metaphysical) features of realityGnomon

    And the physical and the mental are separable aspects? Empirical science isnt already dealing with the mental in studying the physical (the objective as the product of intersubjective organization of subjective experience)? Time is a more abstract concept than physical object?
  • Banno
    19.9k
    ↪BannoGnomon

    What?
  • Mark Nyquist
    366
    Psychologically I think of time as most people do. Past, present, future, clock time and calendars.

    We can't escape our mental models of time even when we try to do physics only time... it's still a mental model.

    Anyway, I agree it's been a good discussion.
    I would agree we should think in two categories, psychological and physical. Also the importance of consciousness and memory as you mentioned last week.
  • Benj96
    1.6k
    Exactly Mark. For the purpose of everyday life its nice to not have to think about time and merely take it as that thing that's always there ticking along in the background.

    But it's great that we have the imagination, creativity and lateral thinking skills to posit deeper questions about what time means to us, how is it perceived, where it comes from and what is its relationship to not just us but anything at all.

    In that way it's the most basic, trivial/mundane of things but also one of the most profound and illusive.
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    And the physical and the mental are separable aspects?Joshs
    Of course! Don't you distinguish between those categories? Physical is real & tangible, while Mental is an imaginary intangible model of Reality. One is matter-based, and the other is meaning-based. One is here & now, while the other is anywhere & any-when.

    Animals, who don't make such "trivial" irrelevant distinctions, live in a material world of the 5 senses, while humans live in a cultural world modified by the mind. For example, turkeys feel blessed to be currently living high-on-the-hog, with no mental concept of Thanksgiving in their future. :smile:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.9k
    Is time a mathematical construct external to matter , such that it acts as a generic and universal limit on matter , while matter itself has aspects or properties which can be understood independently of time? Is time external to and unaffected by the things located in time?Joshs

    I don't see how anything could be understood independently of time. I think we could presume to understand something independent of time, but that would just be a misunderstanding.
  • jorndoe
    2.4k
    Maybe time seems mysterious because we haven't come up with something simpler/satisfactory by which to explain time?

    Time (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
    Time (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    People sure have come up with a few ideas about time over the years (pun intended):

    • Zeno: motion is illusory
    • Aristotle, Hume: no change implies no time (an empirical perspective)
    • Kant: time and space are a priori (pre)conditions for all experience
    • McTaggart: bah, smoke and mirrors, nothing but illusion and humbug
    • Robb: time is a causal dimension of the world
    • Shoemaker: time without change is conceivable (and logically consistent)

    Whatever time may be, it seems to involve duration and simultaneity, so, a theory of time would have to account for those.

    • duration: it takes time to get to work in the morning
    • simultaneity: we get to work about the same time in the morning, as agreed prior

    Science tends to tie space and time together, at least in some respects. What about absence?

    • Suppose x is defined as not spatial, "outside of space". Then x is nowhere to be found. And x cannot have any extent, volume, area, length, or the like, not even zero-dimensional (like a mathematical singularity).
    • Suppose x is defined as atemporal, "outside of time". Then x can't be at any time. And there can be no duration involved, x cannot change, or be subject to causation, cannot interact, and would be inert and lifeless.

    Abstract Objects (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
    Abstractionism in Mathematics (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    In a way, objects (spatial) are to space what processes (temporal) are to time (and vice versa). Common, everyday stuff:

    • it takes time to get to work in the morning (duration)
    • work is elsewhere (distance)
    • we have our recurring phone meetings (simultaneity) as agreed prior (past)
    • we have a presentations room for visitors at work (place)
  • jgill
    2.7k
    So, it's left to Philosophy to dabble in the ineffable & mental (metaphysical) features of reality.Gnomon

    It's not easy to talk about something that can't be expressed in words. Good luck.
  • mcdoodle
    1k
    'Science' is often presumed to be monolithic in these debates. But time in biology and, it seems to me, genetics, is ill-explained by ideas that originate in physics. Here is an interesting paper on a biological approach to time.
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    It's not easy to talk about something that can't be expressed in words. Good luck.jgill
    That doesn't seem to inhibit scientists & philosophers from inventing new words to express formerly ineffable concepts. For example, C.S. Pierce coined the term "pragmaticism" to distinguish his personal philosophy from what he considered to be a corrupted sense of "pragmatism". Creation of Neologisms is a form of terminological innovation. Ineffable concepts are usually expressed indirectly by metaphors & analogies. :smile:

    Neologism :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neologism

    Ineffability and its Metaphysics: The Unspeakable in Art, Religion, and Philosophy :
    https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/ineffability-and-its-metaphysics-the-unspeakable-in-art-religion-and-philosophy/
  • Joshs
    4.2k
    And the physical and the mental are separable aspects?
    — Joshs
    Of course! Don't you distinguish between those categories? Physical is real & tangible, while Mental is an imaginary intangible model of Reality. One is matter-based, and the other is meaning-based. One is here & now, while the other is anywhere & any-when.

    Animals, who don't make such "trivial" irrelevant distinctions, live in a material world of the 5 senses, while humans live in a cultural world modified by the mind
    Gnomon
    .

    It’s interesting that you identify the material
    with the tangible. What is physically real is what we can touch. Touching is interacting If we further analyze the basis of information we receive through touch, we find the sensory and the motoric, in the modes of our ways of moving in relation to objects, and the kinesthetic feedback from our movements, are inseparably involved in what objects are to us. In other words , what allows us to interpret objects as objects is a body schematic integrating touch sensation, kinesthetic feedback from bodily movement , as well as the input from other sense modalities, especially vision.

    This is also how other animals construct meanings concerning the world they interact with. Animals may move in a ‘material world’ , but that world appears very differently to different animals as a result of the different body schemas of various animals. In sum , a perceived object is a product of a scheme of interaction with an environment based on the needs and purposes of an organism. We call aspects of our environment ‘material’ and ‘physical’ as a result of the ways we have come to interact with our world. Thus, not only our experience of the imaginary, but also our experience of the actual is a synthetic construction of the real. The real is a production and not a passive
    observation , something we enact as much as discover.
  • jgill
    2.7k
    Ineffable concepts are usually expressed indirectly by metaphors & analogies.Gnomon

    Yes, but doing so has the drawback of inferring false information while attempting to make an arcane subject accessible to the average person. Here are two examples of existing realities that are difficult to convey with words, hence a bit ineffable, where popularization by science writers is misleading. However, no harm is done.

    Virtual "particles"

    "Curved" space
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    Thus, not only our experience of the imaginary, but also our experience of the actual is a synthetic construction of the real. The real is a production and not a passive
    observation , something we enact as much as discover.
    Joshs
    Yes. Some posters on this forum naively assume that they know Reality, when what they know is an imaginary construct inferred from a variety of sensory inputs. Those mental models tend to be based on limited experience with reality, and include some emotional evaluations that are specific to the observer. These limitations & filters are what make philosophical Epistemology necessary for weeding out the irrelevant or erroneous elements of our worldviews. It's a never-ending struggle, that has a modern nemesis in the ease-of-access to fringe opinions, viral memes and assorted misinformation & disinformation. Fortunately, by exchanging opinions with opinionated people (in real or virtual forums), we can learn where our models of reality overlap, to reinforce or weaken our prior opinions.

    Back to the OP : the "mystery" about Time involves the philosophical problem : that we can legitimately question whether it is a property of Reality, or of human Imagination or both. :smile:

    The illusion of time :
    According to theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, time is an illusion: our naive perception of its flow doesn't correspond to physical reality.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04558-7

    Epistemology :
    the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    Ineffable concepts are usually expressed indirectly by metaphors & analogies. — Gnomon

    Yes, but doing so has the drawback of inferring false information while attempting to make an arcane subject accessible to the average person. Here are two examples of existing realities that are difficult to convey with words, hence a bit ineffable, where popularization by science writers is misleading. However,no harm is done.
    jgill
    Yes. Ideally, Science is supposed to be objective and dispassionate. But scientists are human beings, whose reasoning may sometimes be used in service to emotions, including comfortable prior beliefs & paradigms. So they can't help having feelings about their facts. And it's those ineffable Feelings that cannot be encapsulated in objective language.

    That's why the pioneers of Quantum Theory so often resorted to metaphors, analogies, and Eastern religious concepts in their struggle to make sense of counter-intuitive and non-classical behaviors of sub-atomic reality. Presumably, it was the potential for watering-down of truth-values due to the fuzziness of feelings, that motivated frustrated Feynman to argue that physicists should not play the role of feckless philosophers ; instead, just "shut up and calculate". :smile:

    David Hume on Reason :
    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
    https://sites.pitt.edu/~mthompso/readings/hume.influencing.pdf

    Shut up and calculate :
    does a disservice to quantum mechanics
    https://aeon.co/essays/shut-up-and-calculate-does-a-disservice-to-quantum-mechanics
    Note -- By focusing solely on abstract Mathematical Values, purely objective Science loses the concrete and humanizing touch of Philosophy, which takes into account Moral Values & Personal Meanings : seeking to average individual emotions into universal motives, such as Love, Curiosity, etc..

    Feelings :
    "a feeling is an idea that hasn't been articulated yet" ___Timothy Morton, Object Oriented Ontology
    Note -- Poetry & Philosophy are different ways of articulating ineffable feelings & hunches. No harm, no foul.

  • jgill
    2.7k
    that motivated frustrated Feynman to argue that physicists should not play the role of feckless philosophers ; instead, just "shut up and calculate"Gnomon

    I thought it was Feynman, also, but it wasn't: David Mermin

    But scientists are human beings, whose reasoning may sometimes be used in service to emotions, including comfortable prior beliefs & paradigms. So they can't help having feelings about their facts. And it's those ineffable Feelings that . . .Gnomon

    It's tough being a leading edge physicist these days. At least mathematicians get to create their weirdnesses and don't have to attempt to interpret what nature throws at them. :chin:
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    I thought it was Feynman, also, but it wasn't: David Merminjgill
    Apparently, Feynman was quoting Mermin. But it was Feyman who made the quip famous as a viral meme. Quotes are usually attributed to the popularizer, not the originator, of catchy ideas. :cool:

    It's tough being a leading edge physicist these days. At least mathematicians get to create their weirdnesses and don't have to attempt to interpret what nature throws at themjgill
    Yes, but even uber-logical mathematicians work on the basis of a metaphysical worldview, implicitly assuming the existence (being qua being) of non-physical mathematical objects, that they mentally manipulate as-if real things. Time is just another non-physical notion that has practical applications. Subjective Metaphysics is usually about generalities & causal processes, not specific inert lumps of Objective Matter. :smile:

    Mathematical Metaphysics :
    A third option immediately presents itself, which is a metaphysical account
    that admits the existence of mathematical objects but not of physical objects.
    Because it is intuitively obvious that physical objects exist, this appears absurd,
    and so it should not be surprising that few philosophers have considered it

    http://shelf1.library.cmu.edu/HSS/2015/a1626190.pdf

    Metaphysical Mathematical Objects :
    Unlike physical objects and properties, mathematical objects do not exist in space and time, and mathematical concepts are not instantiated in space or time. Our mathematical intuition provides intrinsic evidence for mathematical principles.
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/philosophy-mathematics/
  • jgill
    2.7k
    Yes, but even uber-logical mathematicians work on the basis of a metaphysical worldview, implicitly assuming the existence (being qua being) of non-physical mathematical objects, that they mentally manipulate as-if real thingsGnomon

    True enough. Many ideas pop out of the subconscious before the "uber-logical" aspect comes into play.

    I've long considered mathematics a metaphysical realm with varying degrees of reality. Rates of change, derivatives, are close to physical reality, whereas infinitesimals are out there towards the other end of the spectrum.

    not specific inert lumps of Objective Matter. :smile:Gnomon

    I try to stay away from that odious clump. :cool:
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    I've long considered mathematics a metaphysical realm with varying degrees of reality. Rates of change, derivatives, are close to physical reality, whereas infinitesimals are out there towards the other end of the spectrum.jgill
    Yes. All of those mathematical concepts are related to physical reality, but not detectable by the 5 senses. The connections are logical, not material. That's why I call the logical structure of the world, Meta-Physical. We "know' such things only by the 6th sense of Reason, which "sees" invisible relationships between things, and even between non-things (e.g. ideas). Even Infinity is conceivable relative to physical Finity. It's merely Space that is more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, as indicated by unending ellipsis . . . . . . .

    The "meta-physical realm" is not super-natural though, but simply mental (and meta-animal). It's an imaginary world parallel to (not above) the sensory world. Even gods & ghosts are imagined with evanescent bodies analogous to physical human bodies. Mystics who are especially tuned-in to the metaphysical world, seem to take their fantasies as more-real than reality. I've never had a mystical experience, but I have had, what you might call a "mathematical experience"*1 : when a logical interrelationship pattern suddenly becomes apparent. Some of those numerical epiphanies may sound like woo woo*2 to hard core materialists. :smile:

    *1. Mathematical Experiences :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mathematical_Experience

    *2. My mathematical talents & skills are very ordinary, but in a Calculus class, I (me??) was surprised to be asked by a straight-A math major to explain the holistic concept of "Integrals". I guess the notion of wholes as more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts was more instinctive to little ole me, than to an either/or analytical/reductive thinker. On this forum, the taboo term "holism" will often bring-out the woo-boo-birds. But the concept of a composite whole is not super-natural, merely meta-physical : a rational concept, not a physical percept. :nerd:
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