314Lecture11-TimeOnline - Lecture 11: Time Philosophy of...

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Lecture 11: Time Philosophy of time Here are a few questions that philosophers think about regarding the nature of time: What is the relationship between time and the mind? If there were no mind, does that mean time would not exist? Does time exist for beings that have no mind? Does time exist for beings that have no concepts of time? When examining the nature of time, there is often confusion between the perception of time and time, itself. How should our intuitions about time (itself) be treated? Many people experience the flow of time, but science claims there is no actual flow of time. Is our intuition telling us something deep about the nature of time or should this intuition be disregarded in favor of what science tells us? What are the presuppositions and assumptions and implications about time? It is often argued that philosophical theories should be consistent with science. Can time exist if no event is happening? What is the relationship between instants and events? What is the explanation of and for the arrow of time? Does it follow from the second law of thermodynamics? Could the arrow of time reverse? Can we go backwards in time or forward in time? Is it possible to time travel? Would that be breaking any natural laws? Stephen Hawking argues that if time travel were possible, someone would have visited us from the future already. But since no one has time-traveled from the future, then time travel isn’t possible. What is the present and why does it move into the past? How long does the present last? It seems that you can never capture the now moment. The flow of time seems more like a feature of human perception rather than an objective aspect of time. Are there ontological differences among the past, present, and future? Are the future and the past as real as the present (whatever is now)? How should time be conceived? Bacon, Newton, Barrow, Leibniz, Locke and Kant claimed that time is linear. Einstein conceived time in terms of closed loops of proper time (closed curves in spacetime) that permit you to go forward continuously in time until you arrive back to your past. You become your younger self in the future. This very possibility, argued Gödel, shows that time is not real. 1
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There are many paradoxes that arise when thinking about the nature of time. For example, the famous grandfather paradox: if a person travels back in time and kills his biological grandfather before he married his biological grandmother, then the time traveler would never have existed. So this means the time traveler couldn’t go back in time, which means he couldn’t have killed his grandfather, which means the time traveler exists (since his grandfather wasn’t killed by him). But if his grandfather is still alive, then the time traveler could go back in time to kill his grandfather. Each possibility seems to imply its own negation. This is an example of a logical paradox. For those of you with some background in formal logic, the paradox can be symbolized
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This note was uploaded on 06/05/2011 for the course PHI 314 taught by Professor Creath during the Spring '08 term at ASU.

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314Lecture11-TimeOnline - Lecture 11: Time Philosophy of...

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