Comments

  • Time and the law of contradiction
    It's continuous, as opposed to discrete? "Gunky" seems to imply a mixture of both.Metaphysician Undercover

    I don't define the terms. I would've liked to refer to it as continuous, but there are also continuums that contain fundamental units in the form of dimensionless points/instants which should be contrasted with that of gunk.

    In any case, this discussion is getting off-topic.
  • Time and the law of contradiction

    Means it doesn't have instants, no fundamental units. Gunky space has no points either if you're wondering.
  • Time and the law of contradiction
    If that is how we must view time then the LNC is meaningless because it requires the notion of an instant of time. Nothing happens in an instant/moment/single point of time.TheMadFool

    The LNC can be expressed without instants of time just fine. Take the statement "I am happy during the interval of 1pm - 2pm". This statement is incompatible with the statement that "I am sad during the interval of 1pm - 2pm" as that would imply that "I am not happy during the interval of 1pm - 2pm". A clear contradiction as both statements overlap one another and require inconsistent ideas to hold during the same period of time. This can all be stated even in a world where time is gunky.
  • Does science make ontological or epistemological claims?


    So far as I understand it, scientific theories consist solely of models which are used to make predictions about the world. These predictions are then tested in experiments which would either confirm or falsify them. However, none of these models are, strictly speaking, tied to any particular sort of ontological view of the world in and of themselves. A good example of this would be with Quantum Mechanics and the many, many, different ontological interpretations that are often attached to the theory (though you'll also find the same sort of situation in other theories like Relativity to a lesser extent), some of which treat the world as indeterministic, and others as a multiverse, to name a couple. In that sense, they have no relevance to matters of ontology or epistemology. Any attempt to attach an ontological view to a scientific theory would thus be going beyond the model itself and into the realm of philosophy.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    That's why I wonder about before-before, which blatantly puts cause well after effect, and in any reference frame. Or at least it does in non-local interpretations.noAxioms

    Again, the paper suggests otherwise. Given that my expertise on the matter is not that deep, that your knowledge level on the issue appears to be similar to mine, and the fact that the source that I have referenced appears to know much more about the before-before experiment then either you and me, I can only take his word on the matter that the before-before experiment does not violate causality under non-local interpretations, contrary to your own claims..

    The thing about the before-before experiment is that there isn't that much literature on it. The only person who seems to be writing about it extensively is the author of the source that I have referenced, Antoine Suarez. At least this is what I've gotten from google searches into the matter.

    I assume that you would probably make the same statements about causality violation for other attempts at proving retrocausality in QM. The delayed choice quantum eraser comes to mind here. With respect to experiments like those, I can certainly say that the apparent retrocausal effects found in those experiments are merely that and that different interpretations, including that of Bohmian Mechanics, can accomodate it without giving up causality. There is alot more literature on the matter that would demonstrate that.

    It has that. Is this something different than Lorentz Ether Theory, because I found no mention of flow in any description of it. Maybe Neo-Lorentz adds that on top of LET.

    LET and the Neo-Lorentzian Interpretation are one and the same. In other words, LET was simply the scientific theory of SR with the Neo-Lorentzian Interpretation. I don't know if there is any explicit mention of the flow of time in it's description, but it would be hard to deny that it included one given that it preserves the traditional view of absolute time.

    How could CMB possibly suggest a preferred moment??? A preferred frame, sure, but not preferred moment. The A-Theorists similarly do not base their definition of the preferred moment on the CMB. Their moment is simply 'now'. Easy-peasy.

    So do you think that the preferred moment should be equated with the set of moments picked out by the CMB? It seems like one moment you think that it should (like in your previous response to me), then the next you think it shouldn't (like you are here).

    I do not understand these paragraphs. I think you meant to say preferred frame. What is 'physically distinguished'?

    We've just gone over how the CMB frame was not physically distinguished in the sense given by the postulates of relativity.

    Since there is no difference between the CMB frame and any other in that sense, then that should give us reason to not take the former to represent the preferred moment that the A-theorists want. At least, this is part of the reason why I feel hesitant to call the CMB frame anything more than one that has some interesting properties.

    It would be a different matter if that wasn't the case though. If the laws of physics do single out a particular foliation of events then it seems to be more of a stretch to deny that the present moment picked out by such a foliation is not the same as that of the metaphysical present, at least in my opinion.

    All causes seem to be effects of prior causes, but barring an infinite past, there must be a first cause, uncaused. Surely you've heard of that. Block theory has one, but it is just a (perhaps blank) initial condition. Not sure how becoming is expected to fit into that.

    I suppose I don't find anything wrong with an infinite past, or infinities in general really, but I don't want to argue that here. There's also the possibility of cyclical time as well, if one doesn't want a first cause or an infinite past.

    The block universe, as I understand it, is compatible with a first cause or none at all. It doesn't necessarily have one or none.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    A model is considered time ordered when it proposes that a cause event tomorrow can effect a measurement taken yesterday in the same place? Perhaps I don't know what 'time ordered' means, as used in that article. The one picture in there showed non-local influence arrow in a spooky-action setup, and without a preferred frame, the direction of the arrow would be ambiguous. So maybe that's what they mean by time-ordered: Not that the arrow always points forward, just that it doesn't point either way. In the before-before, it doesn't point in an ambiguous direction. It is consistently pointing backwards.noAxioms

    I feel like you're being obtuse at this point. I see no ambiguity in the use of "time-ordered". It means that causes always precede their effects in time. The author has been pretty clear in referring to time-order in that sense. Here are a few examples:

    Section 2 considers time-ordered Leggett models assuming thatone event can be considered the cause (occurring before in time), and the other the effect (occurring later in time). — Antoine Suarez

    “Nonlocal realism” (as defined in [1, 5]) fails if experiment proves wrong that one of two non-locally correlated events occurs before and is the cause of the other.

    Models assuming that the “realistic” mechanism happens in a single preferred frame even in relativistic experiments with devices in motion, are not refuted by the before-before experiment, but such models bear a fundamental oddity: since they assume that each event has a cause preceding it in time, they actually dispose of the freedom of the experimenter.

    My emphasis on all except for the second. The last is more relevant to the discussion than the others. The reason why, to my understanding, that the experiment does not undermine causality is because models such as that of the Bohm interpretation restrict the freedom of the experimenters. The experiment is already predetermined, which is to be expected of a deterministic theory.

    Thus, if one wishes to save time-ordered causality one is forced to assume that the outcomes are determined at the beam splitters (like De Broglie and Bohm did). — Antoine Suarez

    Any "retrocausality" observed would only be apparent.

    Only SR says it is undetectable. GR does not, since it isn't just a local theory. There are non-local tests for an isomorphic foliation, which isn't an inertial frame, but seems to be the most viable candidate for some kind of preferred ordering of all events anywhere.noAxioms

    As far as I can tell, the CMB frame is not a physically distinguished frame in the sense that a preferred frame in SR is physically distinguished (as in the laws of physics are observed to be different in that frame). In that sense, so much as it is preferred, such a fact would be undetectable.

    For that matter, I don't understand what possible problem is solved by growing block as opposed to presentism. I looked up the wiki page, and it defined it, but went no further in pointing out a single benefit of it.

    It solves the problem of truthmakers for the past. In saying that the past exists and is real, the Growing Block Theorist has the resources to talk about it unlike the Presentist. Personally I think the truthmaker argument begs the question against Presentism in assuming that truthmakers all must currently exist, but I won't go into that here.

    The Minkowski model is one specifically of a block scenario. It is a straight metaphysical interpretation of time, making no empirical predictions distinct from the flowing model. Einstein drew on the mathematics of this model and Lorentz's work in producing his theory of relativity. But yes, the theory of relativity does not itself assert those metaphysics. It just uses the mathematics of spacetime, and refers regularly to spacetime as a unified whole.

    Sorry, I thought you were just referring to QM interpretations, and missed the "relativistic". In that case, the alternative interpretations to the Minkowski Spacetime such as the Neo-Lorentz interpretation of SR do include a flow of time as it is supposed to preserve the traditional view of time as a dynamic succession of events in a 3D universe. Such an evolution refers to what people often understand as becoming.

    Really?? Do any of them suggest another, like the frame of the solar system perhaps? That would suit the purpose of some people that would seem to have a requirement for A-theory.

    It's not really the A-theorists who are making that claim, but the B-theorists who are objecting to the CMB as a means of defining a preferred moment because it appears to be arbitrary to do so. According to them there is no clear link between the CMB and the preferred moment in metaphysics that should lead us to equate one with the other. In a sense, I can see where they're coming from since, as noted above, the CMB is not physically distinguished like we would want it to be. In that regard, we have just as much reason to prefer it over any other alternative foliation of events.

    Of course, if the CMB were to be physically distinguished and people are making the same objections then that'd be another story altogether, for one could very well have made such an objection prior to relativity in the 1800s with respect to the absolute time of Newtonian physics. At that point it would be unreasonable to require that there needs to be a neon light sign that says "This is a preferred moment of metaphysics" over the preferred moment picked out by physics in order to say that they are both equivalent.

    It does? I wasn't there at the time. Couldn't say.

    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. The entire thread is based around that specific argument.

    I find becoming to be difficult to explain, with all the uncaused-cause contradictions.

    This is confusing to me. Becoming conceptually requires no uncaused causation, and even I see nothing contradictory about an uncaused cause.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    No frame, preferred or otherwise puts cause before effect in the Bohmian interpretation of before-before results. So I guess I don't understand where the article addresses that. The two events are separated time-like, so there is no ambiguity to their ordering that can be disambiguated with a preferred frame.noAxioms

    This just sounds like a bald assertion on my end. The issue of a preferred frame model is clearly addressed in the section that is titled as such. Again, the author refers to the preferred frame model of Bohmian Mechanics explicitly as one that is time ordered, and admits that it's empirical predictions are compatible with the correlations found in the before-before experiment. Take no offense, but at this point, I am more willing to side with his view over yours.

    From what I read, A-theory includes growing block and presentism, which differ in the ontological status of past events, but both posit the flow of a preferred moment, so all my comments about presentism so far also can be applied to growing block. Perhaps you can explain the distinction if it is more than that.

    There's also the moving spotlight view of time as well, which says that all events in the universe's history exist but that there is a dynamic spotlight that shines on the set of events that represents the present. This is what I have told you at my first reply.

    I'm saying that no QM or relativistic interpretation seems to propose flowing time. I'm probably wrong, but I'm just unaware of one. Some assert a preferred frame, but that isn't flow.

    No interpretation says anything about the existence of the block universe either. None of them have any direct say on the matters of the metaphysics of time. The only thing that I can say is that, in including a preferred frame, some interpretations are more compatible with the idea of a flow of time than others.

    Relativity just says it isn't locally detectable. Non-locally, one does suggest itself, and GR very much acknowledges it. It is the foliation where spatial expansion is symmetric/isomorphic.

    Yeah, the direct implication of Relativity's postulates is that if there were such a preferred frame, it would not be empirically detectable, which some have taken to be evidence of it's nonexistence. The CMB is taken by some to be a preferred foliation of the universe in a sense, but it is debatable whether it is good enough for the A-theorist's purposes.

    The concept of becoming seems required only for the flowing model, but doesn't fit well at all with the block model. That's a good deal of the appeal of the block model is it doesn't need to explain the becoming.

    I would actually argue that, in rejecting the idea of becoming, the block model has more trouble accounting for why the universe appears to become in time (given its structure), and that this is a weakness of the view relative to its alternative. This is the argument that I have been trying to push here in this thread.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    I don't see a description of before/before. I see it named, but not described.noAxioms

    Not sure why you feel the need to say that. If you're concerned about whether the author understands the before-before experiment or is knowledgeable of it, than he is one of the two people who proposed the very idea in the first place and one of the main authors of papers about the experiment from what I can see.

    Unfortunately, the before-before experiment (which I didn't see described) very much violates time-ordering since the effect measurement events by Alice and Bob are separated from the cause decision event by Victor in a time-like separation, not a space-like separation.

    The article very explicitly addresses the before-before experiment and clearly states that preferred frame models such as that of Bohmian mechanics do not violate time-ordering. You're free to disagree with that but that is what the article states.

    I'm not sure how Bohmian mechanics describes the before-before experiment. I thought it explained spooky-action through hidden variables, not through time ordered non-local influence, but I don't see how hidden variables can explain before-before.

    It's both. Bohmian Mechanics is a deterministic non-local hidden variable interpretation.

    BTW, none of this directly relates to presentism, or A-theory as you call it.

    Presentism is not equal to the A-theory. It is a subset of it. What the argument in the OP tries to support are the set of views that include a passage of time, Presentism being one of them.

    A preferred frame is not a preferred moment, even if a preferred moment seems to require a preferred foliation if not a frame.

    A preferred frame/foliation allows us to define an absolute order of events, and in turn the preferred moment. The reason why Relativity undermines the idea of a preferred moment is because it states that there is no way to choose one frame or foliation of events, and that therefore there isn't any preferred frame/foliation. Without it, we would not be able to make sense of the passage of time, as least that is how it is commonly viewed. Now there appear to be some who dispute this, who claim that a concept of becoming can exist without a global now but for the most part I am just going off of the traditional opinion on the matter.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    Both chrome and IE show no page, just the download.noAxioms

    Okay, here's a separate link from another site. For the record, I'm using chrome so best start there.

    OK, but your thoughts were only that it doesn't have collapse. It does.noAxioms

    Um, no. My thoughts were mainly that I thought it sounded idealistic (again not saying it is idealism). The idea that it didn't contain collapse was an incorrect assumption on my part. But like you said earlier, this is all irrelevant.

    I might say I support this interpretation, but you'd then say that means I find the other interpretations wrong, and I don't. So I am again agnostic by the way you explain above. To deny other interpretations is to deny that they are inconsistent with themselves. That they are inconsistent with my preferences is evidence of nothing if I have no empirical evidence that my preferences are correct.noAxioms

    It depends on what you mean by "support" then. If by the term you meant that you find that interpretation more useful as a practical tool for understanding QM, then that's one thing. Some physicists may find the block universe model helpful as a tool to do relativity, but that is not really taking a metaphysical stance. Similarly, I don't find my oven "wrong" just because I prefer to microwave my food. They are just alternative tools to do the same job.

    However, if you mean that you believe in one interpretation being true, then if that interpretation is logically incompatible (as in mutually exclusive) with another interpretation, then you believe that other interpretation to be wrong. If I believe that object over there is a square, then that means that I think it isn't a circle. It is just a matter of basic logic so you simply can't have it both ways, but if you disagree with this for whatever reason, then I'm not gonna push it.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    Cannot read it. It downloads a pdf with an unreadable font.noAxioms

    It should be viewable without download in the link provided. Just scroll down.

    Neither of those interpretations require the observer to be a living thing. As I said, a rock will do.

    I wasn't disputing that. I understand that the definition of an "observer" needn't refer to a guy in a lab coat.

    We're getting kind of off-topic here.

    Agreed that the issue appears to be irrelevant to the OP. Just giving my own side thoughts about the relational interpretation since it was brought up and all.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    A good habit to hunt down critique. Helps point out which parts on which focus should be placed. I do it myself for papers whether or not I agree with them. I'll try to look at that link closer, but a good deal of it is beyond me.noAxioms

    No worries. I won't be able to fully engage with it anyways at least until I get a proper education on these matters so we're mostly in the same boat here.

    Idealism has to do with relations to consciousness. The relational view, being non-anthropocentric, is relative to anything at all.

    I never said it was idealistic, just that it has a very idealistic tone to it since it makes everything observer dependent. I suppose the same problems I have with it are similar to that of the copenhagen interpretation. You know that quote about the moon not being there where you're not looking at it? That's what first came to my mind.

    Relation interpretation has collapse. Collapse is what makes the red ball real. MWI does not have collapse.

    So it is. What I wanted to say was that I thought the copenhagen interpretation allowed for some observer independent states after collapse, unlike the relational interpretation, but that may not be correct.

    Bohmian mechanics is not refuted by any experiment. I never claimed that. It just denies locality, and so allows effect before cause, as does any interpretation that denies locality. That makes the interpretaion invalid only if you assert otherwise.

    And if you look at the paper I linked the author seems to suggest otherwise. He brings up the problems with the preferred frame view (it's empirical unobservability, the free will problem), but he does not mention the lack of a time order which he considers to refute the other non-local views.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    You can also look at Tegmark's paper referenced at the top of that answer. It is 400 pages and I think only deals with the dimensionality aspect.noAxioms

    Actually, I had a look at the paper linked and it was just 7 pages long. I think you're mixing up the book with the paper.

    I was actually able to follow a good portion of it surprisingly, but unfortunately, I don't consider myself to be capable of engaging with these arguments in a proper manner. Regardless, I still checked the citation list for the article to see what others thought of it (a habit of mine), and I found some objections (here is one of them) to the unpredictability argument that Tegmark promotes in his paper. Not sure what to make of it, but I'd thought I'd throw it out for those who do understand it to look at for themselves.

    The 'tachyons only' choice? You can publish that if you can think of a way for tachyons to interact coherently to be structure, let alone one that is a life form. The author Mauro seems to think so, but he omits Tegmarks commentary on that. I think Mauro is mistaking the condition for 3 space and 1 time, but everything moves faster than light, not slower.

    I honestly don't know, but I'm just going off of the summary that you gave me. Tachyons, though weird, are not completely impossible from what I can tell but I have no idea how they work to say one way or the other.

    I think it violates every attempt at a definition of life that I've seen. Perhaps you'd like to give one that would include this timeless configuration of state.

    If one is looking for a more practical definition of "life" then sure I am willing to grant that temporal persistence is necessary. But I wasn't trying to argue with those kinds of definitions.

    My concern is with the possibility that we could, as conscious beings, be located on a single static moment of time. Like the situation with Boltzmann Brains and Descartes Demon, I was willing to grant that, given what we currently find in our experience, that we cannot deduce that we are not such beings.

    So yes, can be thought of as one collective determined state. I call that soft determinism since the future measurement of some trivial experiment still cannot be predicted even given perfect knowledge of the system and infinite computing capability. It's determinism only because every possible result happens, and that list of results can be (and already is) computable. The relational interpretation is similar, but says the results that were not measured are not real (they didn't happen 'elsewhere'), and is therefore not a deterministic interpretation.

    Hmm, the relational interpretation sounds pretty idealistic to me. From what I've read it seems to suggest that there is nothing to the physical world other than our own observation of it. That is, there is no noumenon, no red ball in itself, since there is nothing to it if we are not looking at it. This goes further than the copenhagen interpretation since at least that view allows for the collapse of the wave function.

    I don't know what to make of that (especially since I am not qualified to look into it more deeply), but with regards to the topic in the thread, it doesn't seem to undermine the concept of time as we traditionally define it. Physical reality is constituted by the states that are observer dependent, but that doesn't undermine the view that it is a series of states of the same things. And neither does the many-worlds interpretation as far as I see it.

    No, there are quantum experiments that seemingly effect past measurements by decisions made in the future of those measurements. The before-before experiment is one of them. Only interpretations with locality explain that without reverse causation. A preferred frame helps not at all. The issue is not ambiguous ordering such as spooky action between two events outside each other's light cones. The issue here is blatant cause after effect between events that are within each other's light cones.

    No, I don't think this is correct. Contrary to your claims, it would appear that preferred frames are the only the thing that saves nonlocal interpretations like Bohmian Mechanics from being refuted by the before-before experiment. This paper is very relevant to that.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    The representation as a dimension would not reflect reality.noAxioms

    The representation would reflect reality as a dynamic succession of events. It would of course not reflect reality in the same way it would under the block universe, where time is all laid out like space, but that is not to say that it doesn't reflect the nature of the world.

    If there were no space, then yes, there would be just this linear series of events. But most pairs of events are ambiguously ordered (at least in the eternal model), so time would then not be a series of events.

    I believe you're focusing too much on the fact that there is no clearly preferred way of ordering events while ignoring the fact that no matter which way we do order them, space-time as a whole would be broken down to a series of events describing an evolving 3D universe.

    Time seems to be relevant only to causally related events, so time seem more to be a a product of a structure with causal relationships. That's how I tend to view it at least. YMMV.

    Even if you choose to view time in a local manner, I think that that is still enough to get my argument rolling. As it goes we represent events locally as a changing series of moments with all of the features mentioned above. The A-theory accounts for it through the passage of time, and the B-theory takes it as simply part of the structure of the Block Universe.

    I would think not. If there is a present, it is an absolute state, however undetectable, and other abstract slices of the block are simply misrepresentations of reality. There is no arbitrary choice about it. An arbitrary guess if something preferred suggests itself, and yes, it does.

    Doesn't matter. The fact that the Presentist would argue that past and future events aren't real does not change the fact that they do view reality as a series of events. Unless they are temporal solipsists, then they should not disagree with that understanding of time. The only difference between them and the Eternalist is that they would take these series of events to describe a succession of events via. the flow of time, while the Eternalist would view them as locations in the Block Universe.

    There's a list of stuff that can vary, and a list that cannot. Yes, the cosmological constant is one, and the hardest one to get to a workable value if you're just pulling random values out of your arse. I guess that implies a lot of bubbles.

    But does that list of stuff include the time dimension? I have yet to see a source that says yes.

    Try this, which was the first item on my little google of it:
    https://www.quora.com/If-there-are-3-physical-space-dimensions-why-arent-there-3-time-dimensions

    That isn't what I'm asking for. I wanted a source that says that under the inflationary multiverse, the number of dimensions of time does vary. This link doesn't do that. However it does address the other concern that I had about why we should prefer a 3+1 Universe on anthropic reasons. I am assuming you're referring me to the first answer in the post, which references Tegmark, but if not then please direct me to the appropriate answer.

    With regards to that answer, I don't think he actually demonstrates that life cannot work in a universe that does not contain one time dimension. In fact, the author seems to indicate that a world that contains 3 time dimensions and 1 space dimension is possible, albeit very strange, for life. That in itself would rule out the requirement for time to be linear. In addition, in addressing the possibility of multiple time dimensions, the author suggests that the problem with these universes lies in the fact that they are "unpredictable", but it isn't clear to me how that precludes life. Perhaps the argument is going over my head (likely is in a large sense) it apart from the strangeness, I don't see how life cannot work there.

    The article I linked gets into this.

    For the record, I was objecting to the idea that other combinations of dimensions is somehow incompatible with life, regardless of the sort of universe we these dimensions exist in. I'd imagine if we have sufficient freedom over other factors such as the laws of nature we could potentially build a world that contains multiple dimensions of space and time yet houses life.

    Yes, but most of them not macroscopic. We're counting the macroscopic ones here.

    Fair enough.

    Makes no sense to me. You seem to describe a photo of a dog, which is not a living thing. It isn't life if there are no dynamics.

    Not a photo of a dog, but a state of a universe containing a real dog while it's alive. Perhaps one can debate whether or not a single instant is sufficient for life, but I see no reason why it doesn't.

    Well, take the relational interpretation then, which has no meaningful state except as measured, and nothing measures the universe (the big bang is a point of view that sees nothing), so the universe has no state, just relations. Everett would say it has solutions to Schrodinger equations. Neither of those has meaningful state. The Bohmian interpretation has it (hard, single-outcome determinism), but it does so at the cost of cause before effect (locality). I personally find the latter more offensive, but that's just my taste.

    Not entirely sure if that really solves the problem or makes it worse. At least with respect to the Many-Worlds interpretation of Everett it would appear that the number of states that exist would be multiplied, since they would all be realized together. As for the Bohmian interpretation, I don't think that adopting non-locality would require rejecting causality, provided one introduce a preferred frame to preserve it. In a sense it would make the interpretation quite compatible with Presentism in that regard since it would give us reason to have a notion absolute time again, though I'd imagine that wouldn't make it any more appealing to you.

    I am a squishy eternalist. I only take firm stances against positions which don't seem self consistent.

    If you're an Eternalist then you think Presentism is wrong. That's what it means to be an Eternalist.
  • An Original Argument for the A-theory of Time
    The philosophical positions you are describing is presentism and eternalism, with the former asserting a flowing preferred moment in time separating all events into 3 distinct ontological states of happened, happening, and yet to happen. The latter gives equal ontological status to all events and disallows references to the nonexistent preferred moment.noAxioms

    Not really. The A-theory as I described it is meant to encompass all forms of the view, including the Moving-Spotlight and Growing Block views. If it was Presentism I was referring to exclusively, then I would've specified that only the present exists when describing that view. As for the B-theory being equated to Eternalism, that would be true simply because there are no other versions of the B-theory that people take seriously.

    The A-theory and B-theory for the purposes of this thread deal with the reality of the flow of time. Issues pertaining to the ontology of time are irrelevant.

    It is certainly more practical, which is why A-series is used in everyday language and intuition. I can similarly argue that B-series gives a more practical framework in which physics can be discussed. But lacking an empirical distinction between the two, I don't see a proof being likely. Everyday life can be awkwardly described in B-series, and physics can be awkwardly described in A-series.

    Note that first, I am not claiming to provide a proof of the A-theory, just an argument in it's favour.

    Second, the features that I am claiming here are accepted even in the context of physics. The laws of nature operate on the assumption that time is a connected linear series of events describing the story of the same universe.

    Finally, third, your argument for the B-theory pertains to a practical argument based upon it's usefulness in physics, while mine is an argument from explanation. Two different types of arguments.

    I can say the same with slices of space. The word 'history' carries an implication of a past, which is a presentist interpretation.

    How so? I'm curious to see you try. What exists in space can be completely random. They do not all represent different versions of the same object. However, the red ball at t1 and the red ball at t2 apparently do and we describe it as such. Space defines what things exist, while time defines how they exist.

    Spacetime has connectivity yes. Calling them slices is from the eternalist interpretation. The presentist would only have the one current state of space, with no other 'slices' to connect with it.

    The Presentist (nor the A-theorist) would not disagree with the representation of time as we normally understand it, where adjacent events are related to one another via causality. They would still understand time as a series of interconnected events.

    It isn't a dimension at all if time flows.

    Why? The Presentist (nor the A-theorist) again does not disagree with the representation of time as a linear series of events, so whether they all exist together or occur one by one is irrelevant. It wouldn't be a dimension like space of course but that is not to say that it cannot be described as a dimension at all.

    4D spacetime can have all four axes oriented arbitrarily, so yes, there's one time axis, but its orientation is arbitrary within the confines of the speed of light. Rotate beyond that, and a different axis assumes the role of the time axis.

    That is irrelevant, since it doesn't change the fact that there is only one time dimension in contrast to the three dimensions of space.

    Entropy defining the direction of the arrow. If entropy stabilizes, there would be no arrow.

    The objective status of the arrow of time isn't completely settled, so that is one area that I am willing to grant may not hold. However, that still leaves the other three features left unaccounted for.

    Both account for it all just fine.

    The question is not whether the B-theory is able to account for it. It can accommodate it simply by positing it as a brute fact about the nature of time, but that doesn't make it equal in strength to the A-theory's account of it, which I argue here explains it better.

    ??? It isn't in either view.

    Really? It seems very obvious that time is a series of events.

    The former has no slices, just a changing 3D state. The latter has a block with no slices other than abstracted considerations that can be oriented any way one chooses, similar to the way the 3D universe has no mandatory choice for the X axis.

    As stated before, the Presentist would still agree that time can be described with the features mentioned above. As for Eternalism, the fact that, under relativity, we can slice spacetime up in practically an inifnite number of ways does not change the fact that no matter how we look at it (under any given slicing), that time is a series of 3D slices of space.

    From what I've read on inflation theory, this is chance. There are a lot of dimensions and some inflation bubbles have different numbers of macroscopic spatial and time dimensions. So maybe one bubble has 2 spatial and 3 time dimensions.

    Not sure about this. I've heard inflation being used as a way of solving the cosmological constant problem, but varying constants is not the same as varying dimensions of time. People have also spoken about the "dimensionality" varying between universes, but as far as I can tell, this "dimensionality" that people speak about as varying refers strictly to space (and even then it is only the apparent dimensionality that is claimed to vary), not time, which is what I am concerned about. Do you have a reference that says that the time dimension can vary across bubble universes?

    Also given that inflation is a dynamical process, it should unfold in time no? If so, then I have trouble imagining how inflation would lead to the creation of universes with varying time dimensions given that the process of bubble universes being formed is something that occurs within a time dimension itself. Of course, it could be that I am misunderstanding something here, which is also a possibility.

    The idea of a multiverse is still debatable (at least of the stronger forms involved here), but if there can be other universes that exist along our own that contain more than one time dimension (or none at all), then that would undermine the linearity feature of my argument.

    Only the 3/1 configuration seems to allow the sort of physical mechanics that permits complex structures like atoms to form. Most of those strangely configured bubbles collapse immediately or explode into featureless fog. That 3/1 bit is part of a much longer list of tunings required to allow us to exist.

    This just sounds plainly wrong to me. I don't see why life would require 3+1 dimensions in order to exist. For one, such an idea would falsify string theory on the basis that the latter requires alot more than 3 dimensions of space to even work, but I imagine that they wouldn't be persuaded to drop it based upon anthropological concerns. In addition, on the issue of time, I also fail to see why life would require a single dimension of time in order to operate. Although it isn't clear to me what it would exactly mean to say that there is more than one dimension to time I do not see what about it's nature would preclude conscious beings like us from existing in it. With respect to a world that contains no time at all, the same reasoning applies. It could be that that some form of temporal solipsism is true, where one 3D slice of time exists and only that time, but that time can in theory describe a world where living animals and conscious beings such as us exist.

    There is still quantum indeterminacy, so no brute fact implied by the block. A lot here depends on your quantum interpretation of choice. Hard determinism seems to be what you're describing here, and both time interpretations allow it but don't assert it.

    Don't see how quantum indeterminacy undermines or accounts for any of the features of time. A block universe with quantum indeterminacy (assuming that an indeterministic interpretation of QM is true) is still just as problematic as one that doesn't have it. Can you explain how it is relevant here?

    I prefer the eternal model, but I don't assert that the presentist model is wrong.

    Then you are a presentist then? My assumption is that you're a firm eternalist, but in that case, you would believe that presentism is wrong.
  • Is destruction possible?
    That which we have no knowledge of we should just shut up about. There are plenty of other things that are knowable and about which we can do something.Bitter Crank

    Well, I think there's very little that we can know for certain. Apart from our own direct experience and existence that doesn't leave much for discussion.

    If I find reincarnation depressing, that need not stop you from being enthusiastic about it. Being reincarnated as a slime mold was just not a good thing, back 5862 tears ago, and I still resent it.Bitter Crank

    I can't say that I'm really that enthusiastic about reincarnation either. My opinions on the value of non-existence are actually sort of mixed (on the one hand I find the idea of an afterlife to be comforting like alot of people, but at the same time I also find non-existence to be liberating in a sense) so I can't really say what I think about death from a personal level. Not comfortable with my neutral stance, but I like to think that it makes me more objective when thinking about topics such as life after death.
  • Is destruction possible?
    This is actually one of the reasons why I'm partial to the idea of reincarnation. Basically everything in the world that we know about follows the laws of conservation. Nothing can be created, nor can it be destroyed in other words. There are just things that change their state as they interact with one another. Therefore, given that "we" also exist as a part of this world (a little self reflection would help to demonstrate that much), shouldn't we be "conserved" as well? Of course, what "we" are is debatable (it may be that "we" aren't matter and energy at all), but whatever "we" are should follow the same laws as everything else right? At least it seems that the onus is on those who suggest otherwise. Reincarnation sounds like a natural way of making sense of all of this.

    One possible objection to all of this would be to say that what "we" are refers to an arrangement of matter rather than the matter itself (as @Bitter Crank suggests). Unlike the elementary particles, we have no trouble talking about things like "chairs" being created and destroyed, so it may just be that who "we" are is more like the latter than the former, the objection goes. Putting aside any thoughts about whether an arbitrary arrangement of matter is who "we" really are, I don't think this means that reincarnation is impossible even if true. I mean, even if what comprises "us" is the specific set of particles that makes up our bodies right now, and even if that structure will cease to be in the future, there is nothing saying that that arrangement won't repeat itself. Regardless of whether one considers such an event likely or unlikely it is a possibility. In a sense, then given that such a structure refers to "you" then technically that could also be considered a form of reincarnation as well.
  • Spacetime?
    Keep in mind that the absolute frame is not an inertial one, nor accelerated or anything else. All the things you can do with a frame are not valid even in this absolute non-frame.noAxioms

    I was operating from SR at that point. In GR we don't have inertial frames, but there can be a preferred foliation, which serves the same function with respect to this conversation as an absolute frame that describes the correct order of events in the universe's history.

    I thought about it, and light speed is constant only in an absolute sense. Of course light speed is constant, just as is sound in a stationary medium. But if you are moving at 1/2c, delta real light speed in one direction is .5c, and it is 1.5c in the other. The subjective moving observer will not notice that since he's perhaps measuring round trip, not one direction... So he puts a mirror 300000 km away (they have these), and it takes 0.666 real seconds one way and 2 seconds the other way, which is 2.66 seconds round trip. But his clock runs slow and the mirror appears to be 346000 km away, so it says 2.3 seconds have elapsed and hides the fact that light in one direction moved slower than the other way.

    I probably screwed up the maths somewhere, but it was my shot at it. This is what I mean by more complicated to do it in 3D. In 4D, it is just 2.3 seconds for a 692000 round-trip with everything being stationary in its frame.
    noAxioms

    The differences you describe appear to be purely conceptual. Under the 3D view, time dilation and length contraction is a real effect on moving objects whereas in the 4D view it arises from moving through space-time. The results and the mathematical work used to get them are the same in both cases for both observers however, which again restates my point that it is not the equations that are different (so one cannot be more complicated than the other) but the metaphysical framework with which we interpret them.

    Interestingly, the first light speed measurements were done in one direction by putting a clock very far away and then syncing a local clock to our image of it as its light arrives here at (unknown at the time) lightspeed. Now you move that distant clock even further away and notice the amount that it gets out of sync. You move it closer again and it appears to catch back up. In this way, light speed was measured by dividing the increase in separation distance by the amount of time the two clocks appeared to get out of sync. No compensation for relativistic implications (all unknown at the time) of accelerating clocks, but good enough for the precision they were after.noAxioms

    Hmm, you have a reference for this? The best example that comes to mind is Galileo's proposed experiment which involved lanterns but not clocks.
  • Spacetime?
    And all measurements of time and distance are false as well only if you consider them to describe the 3D metaphysical interpretation.noAxioms

    With the exception of the absolute frame measurements. Other than that, the rest will be distorted due to a certain degree and will have to be adjusted, but they will all find the speed of light to be constant.

    It is an interesting exercise to do just that. Assume that the train is the thing stationary, which helps one see past the bias that the platform is always the stationary thing. The platform observer detects the two events at once and is equidistant from the marks left by the events. Why is he wrong in concluding simultaneity?noAxioms

    Cause he is operating from the incorrect frame of reference. Assuming that the absolute rest frame is the correct one, then the events are actually ordered according to the train observer. The speed of light being measured the same in all frames would lead the platform observer to deduce the wrong set of simultaneous events.
  • Spacetime?
    Well, those equations describe a 4D model, even if a 3D interpretation is assumed.noAxioms

    The equations are the equations. Whether they describe a 4D or 3D world is what is up to interpretation.

    To do it in 3D, each experiment must adjust for inaccuracies of measured mass, length and time since all these are dilated if one is moving.noAxioms

    Of course, if one assumes a preferred order of events, then every other order that people find in other reference frames will be considered false. But to my mind there is no difference in the scientific approach for someone who has different interpretations of relativity, which is what you seemed to have stated earlier. Like with QM, the equations remain the same regardless of your metaphysical views and the maths aren't any different.

    The train thought experiments assume a non-absolute definition of space, which is incorrect in the 3D model. Incorrect conclusions of event simultaneity are drawn.noAxioms

    The train thought experiments are a demonstration of the relativity of simultaneity, describing a situation where two or more observers have differing views on the ordering of events. The presentist version of this situation would certainly describe it differently, as it will take one or more of these observers as being incorrect in their assessments.
  • Spacetime?
    That is a metaphysical view, and one that renders the relativity equations so much simpler, but relativity also works in a 3D model (at a massive expense of complexity) so doesn't assert those metaphyiscs.noAxioms

    To be clear, both the 3D and 4D interpretation use the same mathematical equations, so one approach mathematically isn't any more or less complex than the other. In other words, physicists will calculate the same results in the same way regardless of their metaphysical views. This is why they are empirically equivalent to one another, since the only difference lies in the interpretation and not in the equations themselves.
  • Spacetime?
    I don't know how that's made consistent with Relativity, but I guess some of the concepts of spacetime in GR are rejected (replaced by presentist concepts), although not the experimental results.Marchesk

    It's easy to make it consistent with relativity theory, though it has its costs. One could simply define a foliation of spacetime as being the preferred one, or argue that one of the many foliations out there is the objective one. Empirically the worldview would be equivalent to both SR and GR so it would be like an alternative interpretation ala the interpretations of QM. The problem? There are too many foliations to choose from and we have no way of determining which one is correct without arbitrarily saying so, but this is not an insurmountable problem if one's motivations are strong enough. However, speaking of time travel, such a move would certainly not work if we are talking about spacetimes with time travel, like in Godelian Spacetimes with closed-timelike curves.

    HG Wells The Time Machine could not be written under a presentist view of time. A machine can't be traveling from the future to kill Sarah Conner or her son, and there is no parallel timeline/universe for Donnie Darko to save his family from the end of the world (or whatever he was doing).Marchesk

    Haven't read the Time Machine, but I do believe that there can be some forms of time travel that are consistent with presentism. If we were to take time travel as a process of reversing the universe's history while the time traveller stays within a bubble for instance, in a manner similar to rewinding a cassette tape, then everything stays within a single 3D universe and we can visit 1850 and kill our ancestors without problem.
  • Is God Timeless or Eternal?
    An explanation that posits the existence of objects without explaining where the objects came from is not complete.Devans99

    Does there need to be an explanation? That's what needs to be justified isn't it?

    I’d also argue if we give any of these objects a mind then it has an infinite personal history which is impossible.Devans99

    You keep saying these things are impossible without giving a solid reason as to why. Until you do, then I can only assume you have none and this discussion can't really go forward.

    In addition, those objects require motion to achieve anything useful. What imparted the first motion to be one of these objects?Devans99

    There is no first motion as there is no creator. You have to stop thinking about things in terms of fundamental level. That's the idea.

    You are still invoking infinity in the time dimension when talking about the physical universe; it leads to paradoxical problems like everything that can exist must of existed and we should all be Bolzman brains...Devans99

    Having an infinite amount of time doesn't entail that possibilities become necessities. That is based upon a faulty application of probability to infinities. You can flip a coin an infinite number of times and they can all turn up heads, for example, despite tails being a possible outcome in every coin flip. But anyways, even if everything that can exist must exist given an infinite time, then that doesn't sound like a problem in itself or paradoxical in any way.

    As for your idea of Boltzmann Brains, I don't understand where you're coming from with that, specifically how it would entail a paradox that makes a beginning-less universe impossible.
  • Is God Timeless or Eternal?
    “Things could’ve always been” - what created the things then?Devans99

    Nothing. That's the idea.

    How can they exist at all?Devans99

    Is there any reason to believe that they can't exist? I see nothing to preclude the idea or require the introduction of a first event.
  • Is God Timeless or Eternal?
    the act of creation of TIME does not require TIME.Devans99

    Not sure what "creation" could mean here since I've always understood it in a manner that involves time. Same with "causality". God is sometimes said to "cause" time as well but to stand in a cause effect relation one must stand "before" the other.

    Why is there anything at all instead of just nothingness? For anything to exist at all, causality must of been violated (unmoved mover) and causality is a feature of time.Devans99

    The existence of the universe doesn't require an unmoved mover. Things could've always been. I don't see anything wrong with that.
  • Is God Timeless or Eternal?
    But God existing within time and space gives us the old regression problem of who created time and space (if it were not god)?Devans99

    The act of "creating" time in itself sounds problematic since it is an action that requires time. You can't solve one logical problem with another one as if two wrongs make a right, though it would probably make for some interesting poetry.
  • Is God Timeless or Eternal?
    I suppose my position is the opposite of yours, @Devans99. I don't understand what people mean when they talk about something or someone's being spaceless and timeless. To me, it sounds more like a buzzword to get around tricky problems that is ultimately insubstantial. If something exists, then I am inclined to position it in a location relative to our own and in saying it exists, I am already saying that it presently exists but it doesn't make sense to me what the lack of either of those ideas could entail. Perhaps what people want us to believe is that the notion of "timeless" and "spaceless" is something beyond our conception and that my arguments against its conceivability do nothing to undermine it's possibility, though I don't find that line convincing. The usual contenders for being spaceless and timeless are God and the existence of abstract ideas (like numbers and the like). I'm not a Platonist or a believer of God (at least the ones of religion), but if I were to be, I would probably conceive of them as existing within time and space in some sense.
  • B theory of time, consciousness passing through time? (A hopefully simple misunderstanding.)
    Since the latter option is considered suspect due to the nature of time (block universe theory), it seems the former must be true.TheGreatOne

    Why is the latter suspect? The fact that there is an alternate theory shouldn't make it doubtful any more than the existence of Scientology would make atheism more doubtful. Perhaps you are referring to the scientific evidence from relativity that is often used to support the B-theory of time. Although it does lend some leverage against the A-theory, it does not necessarily prove it to be false.

    It seems to me that consciousness must be propelled forward OR time must "flow" future to present to past.TheGreatOne

    In any case, your former option seems to describe the moving spotlight theory of time, which combines a block universe model with a passage of time represented as a spotlight moving through space-time. I haven't read that much about it, so I am not sure if the people who believe in it have an explanation for any propulsion going on, but it wouldn't hurt to check out some articles and books on the view.

    How is the "now" of our experience change? Why isn't it statically present in one spot forever?TheGreatOne

    I believe the B-theorist would brush off this sort of experience as an illusion that is to be explained by neurological and psychological effects in the brain more than anything. Your "now" isn't actually changing, despite the fact that you feel that it does. This feeling of the passage of time that suggests the world is dynamic is misleading.

    Anyways, I think the better question would be, if under the block universe model all times are real and you in turn are a being extended throughout the time dimension of this block, why do you only find yourself perceiving one of these block times (or as you call them "nows") over the others. To put it another way, to me, according to the standard B-theory all events in the universe's history are currently real and you are currently composed of all of the moments of your life, which in turn suggests that your current experience consists of your entire life. However, a simple look at the contents of your current experience suggest otherwise. Why then does your current experience consist of only a single moment?

    For the record, I've heard people object to my understanding of all times in the block universe as "currently existing", but for the life of me, I never understood what else it could mean. There are some people say that they all "tenselessly exist" but that makes no sense to me though it doesn't seem like I'm the only one who feels that way, if the substantiveness of the presentism/eternalism debate being under dispute is any indication.
  • KK Principle
    Whether or not you believe in the KK principle depends on your notion of knowledge as others have said, which can be tricky since the idea of what constitutes knowledge is tricky. People say that knowledge involves a justified true belief, but what does it mean to believe something and what does it mean for something to be justified?

    From what I have found, there are many different variations of belief. One can say one believes in something if one is disposed to affirm it, or one can also define it as a conscious affirmation in thought for instance. Depending on how flexible one is with belief, then the KK principle may either be obviously true (as in the former) or false (like in the latter). As for justification, the Gettier problems show that what properly counts as justification is also unclear. You may have reasons for believing in something that turns out to be true that is completely irrelevant to the truth of that something. Though that may not be an issue in this case though since one is already directly acquainted with the fact that they know something to base their meta-knowledge on, which just leaves the issue of belief.
  • Why is atheism merely "lack of belief"?
    Similarly, I don't like how it makes theism/atheism a dichotomy. It lumps people that are undecided on the existence of god or have other proposition attitudes in with people that believe that god doesn't exist (a much different position). Furthermore, a theist could easily make the argument that theism is defined as "the lack of belief that no god exists", and that agnostics are really theists then.Jerry

    Exactly. I never really got those definitions either. It just sounds alot more confusing and unnecessarily complicated, which is the exact opposite of what words are supposed to be used for. It muddles an issue that most people do care about (that of belief) by blurring the lines between the three clearly different positions one can take with respect to a proposition, while adding an element that most people don't care much about at all (that of certain knowledge).

    If I were to ask you about your stance on God, like any other issue, I am concerned primarily with your belief on the matter. I couldn't care less about whether you think you're certain about your position than the position you actually hold. And for the most part, it doesn't seem like most other people do either. So I never understood why I'm expected to add an extra term in order to indicate my certainty/uncertainty as if people do give a damn. At least, this is just from my experience.

    Also, it seems like an escape from burden of proof to take the "lack of belief" side. To "believe god doesn't exist" holds a burden of proof, but most atheists claim that only the theist has a burden of proof, even those that clearly believe no god exists.Jerry

    I would say generally yes, but in the case of the existence of a God, not really. As people would say, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and the issue of God is arguably about an extraordinary claim, so the burden of proof lies solely with the theist to provide positive reasons for believing in one.

    Those are my rough thoughts on the issue. I'd like to hear why you think atheists insist, or why you insist, on this understanding of atheism. I can think of some reasons, but I'd rather hear from others and discuss them then.Jerry

    My guess is that it's a numbers game to them (the atheists). A way of inflating their numbers so as to piss a bunch of theists off. Sounds stupid and petty, but really, the entire debate between theists and atheists can get pretty childish sometimes, given how personal the topic of religion is to most people.
  • Time is a multiverse
    thus you can't prove time flows.Pollywalls

    Wait, was I proving that time is flowing here? I don't think I was.

    Also, I fail to see the connection between some concept being fundamental and us being able to prove it. Red is a primitive concept, but I can prove to myself that I am seeing red when it is directly in front of me.
  • Time is a multiverse
    what is the definition of the flow of time?Pollywalls

    What is the definition of space? What is the definition of experience? I can explain the terms to you but at best only by pointing to other examples of it. To put it another way, I believe it is a fundamental term whose meaning cannot be reduced to anything more specific.

    With regards to the flow of time, I'd refer to the common descriptions of it. It is the coming and going into existence of events. It is the dynamic evolution of the world. But of course, such a thing may not make sense to you unless you're already familiar with the concept in the first place, so if you do not understand it at all, then I cannot help you. It would be like describing "red" to a person who was born blind.
  • Time is a multiverse
    also, it is strange to say time "passes". that would mean this whole time dimension exists in a nother time dimension. wouldn't that mean every time dimension exists in another time dimension? that would be illogical.Pollywalls

    That is if you treat the passage of time as a process that occurs within time like most other processes. This leads to confused questions such as the "rate" of the passage of time. Sure we can talk about the speed of my car on the freeway and the speed of the sun orbiting the earth, but how "fast" does time flow? But the passage of time isn't a process itself, it is the backdrop to which other processes occur.

    Similarly, with regards to space, it wouldn't make sense to talk about the "density" of space either, which is a question that is as similarly mistaken as questions about the "speed" of time's flow. Do we need to introduce a hyperspace with which our physical space resides in? How about a further space dimension to house that hyperspace? Such questions only arise if we treat space as an object that exists within itself, and not a background with which other objects exist
  • Time is a multiverse
    Based on what u said, traveling to the past from our present is possible in an Eternalism universe right? But even if we're not in this kind of universe we can still travel to the future, we'd just need to reach the speed of light, right?jonjt

    Well, just because the universe is an Eternalist one, doesn't mean that time travel is possible. Neither is it the case that if there is a multiverse, that there is a method to travel between universes. We may be able to but we may not be. But if the Block Universe is real, then any time travel that could happen would've already happened (or it's probably more appropriate to say that it is currently happening in a static state, since everything is after all).
  • Time is a multiverse
    Sounds like the Block Universe concept. Essentially, under that view, time can be treated as a fourth (functionally) spatial dimension where all events are laid out in a block. In a way, you can treat this 4th dimension as a series of 3D universes laid out in a multiverse like you do but the idea is essentially the same. "Yesterday" under this view is over there just as Pluto is over there. They just exist in different locations of the same 4D space but both exist now.

    The Block Universe concept is usually wedded to theories like Eternalism, which says that all times are real and exist and that time doesn't flow, but it can also be combined with ideas like the Moving Spotlight Theory of time or the Growing Block theory which says the same thing but differs on the issue of time's passage.
  • Ontological Relativism vs. Realism
    Anyway, what I'm interested in, is what the consequences of committing to the alternative stance would be. That is, if objects don't need to be real to have properties and relations, then what does that entail? Anything of significance?Sapientia

    I think a more specific question relevant to this thread is what significance such a view would have on arguments such as the Cogito. Would the strength of that argument be affected if one does not take relations to be existence-entailing? @noAxioms apparently seems to be suggesting that it does (at least from what I've read so far). As for myself, I'm not sure I see how they are related, but I just started to look into it so I'll have to think about it some more.
  • Saying you beleive no A can be the same as saying you don't believe A
    I don't think that is exactly true.

    For one, given that we are not perfectly rational, then we are certainly capable of holding inconsistent or even contradictory beliefs, provided that we aren't aware of the contradiction in the positions that we hold. For instance, if I were a religious die-hard Trump supporter, I may believe that committing adultery is wrong when asked generally in accordance with the bible, but in the case of Trump's affair with Stormy Daniels claim that it isn't morally wrong for one to cheat on their wife.

    In addition, the issue also depends on what one takes "belief" to mean. Some people may believe that there can be unconscious beliefs that one may hold on top of the conscious ones. If that were the case, then that would also mean that one can "believe" in not-p yet still "believe" in p. I may claim that racism is wrong and may genuinely believe in my mind that all people are equal, but also be unknowingly biased against certain ethnic groups regardless.

    That said though, I don't think your statement is entirely wrong. If one consciously and actively denies p (or affirms not-p), then I don't see how they can also consciously and actively affirm p at the same time. Perhaps this is what you meant by your thread title. It may be possible for one to hold contradictory beliefs at different times or in different ways, as I have just described, but I can't conceive of a mental state like the one above.
  • Ontological Implications of Relativity
    If something supplanted the verified predictions of SR that nevertheless had such an ordering, I would believe it.fdrake

    Then that would be a different scientific theory entirely. I was not talking about that.

    But I think that SR does a lot to undermine the existence of a unique total ordering of events - so I doubt that a conceptual manoeuvre which introduces a universal time without caveats would be a justified one.fdrake

    I am not asking about whether it is justified. I believe we have already agreed upon the costs of an undetectable absolute ordering associated with a universal time. I am merely talking about its possibility, the ability to reconcile the idea of a universal time with SR. Unless you think that there is a logical contradiction in the idea, then you should not object to its being possible. That is all I am asking here.
  • Ontological Implications of Relativity
    Great, then the conceptual work is done. It's more justified to believe that SR suggests there can be no unique objective ordering of events than not.fdrake

    Sure, I can follow that. Would you likewise agree with me that SR as a scientific theory can be reconciled with a unique objective ordering of events?
  • Ontological Implications of Relativity
    Logical possibility isn't a particularly good criterion for forming metaphysical postulates. Any metaphysics is likely to be logically possible. Any physical theory is likely to be logically possible. We need a finer net to capture what is relevant.fdrake

    It is a good criterion for determining what is impossible and what is possible. If we are going to say that something "can't happen", or that something is "impossible" then it means that it can never be the case regardless of any scenario. Otherwise we shouldn't be using that sort of language.

    What matters is what SR does to the idea of there being a unique ordering of events (time as the succession)- it shows that there is none. If there is no unique ordering, there can be no unique objective ordering. The class of orderings that agree with all other orderings is empty, so none can be objective.fdrake

    I can agree that it suggests that there is none, but I will withhold from using strong words like "impossible" here. I believe there is reason from relativity that supports the rejection of presentism, but I think it is a common misconception that relativity is completely incompatible with it which is why I feel the need to emphasize that point.