Is Time Just an Idea?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 16th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 12:31 pm
viewtopic.php?p=346127#p346127
Terrapin Station wrote:I don't think it's right to reify anything/any concept.
Not even a concept like mass? Is that because, in your view, there is the concept of mass as the 'm' in various equations and there is the physical thing, "out there" in the "real world" and (in your view) the two are separate concepts? The Ontology/Epistomology divide?
Concepts, which are particular sorts of mental states, are never the same* as the phenomena that they're a response to. Concepts are mental abstractions ranging over different particulars, where those particulars in most cases--certainly in any objective (extramental) case, are nothing like mental phenomena (particular mental phenomena or not).

Reification misconceivedly projects concepts into the extramental world. Objective (extramental) existents have a property of mass (where the property isn't identical from object to object--I'm a nominalist), but that property isn't the same as the concept of mass. The concept of mass is a mental abstraction we perform in response to the objective property we observe. It's a way we think about that property so that we can use the "same" term/concept to range over a bunch of different instances.



(*Well, or almost never--there might be an exception with some sort of reflexive concept)

User avatar
Steve3007
Posts: 7608
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Dolly Parton
Location: UK

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Steve3007 » January 17th, 2020, 4:27 am

Terrapin, I think what you're telling me, in a nutshell, is "you're mistaking/conflating the map for/with the territory". I've been told that before.

I'll have a think before replying properly.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1978
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by RJG » January 17th, 2020, 6:11 am

RJG wrote:
  • P1. From a geometric perspective:
    • A 0D "point" cannot move/change without a 1st dimension.
      A 1D "line" cannot move/change without a 2nd dimension.
      A 2D "plane" cannot move/change without a 3rd dimension.
      A 3D "object" cannot move/change without a 4th dimension.
    P2. The 4th dimension is called "Time".
creation wrote:I do not see the "logic", which you see, about how Time must be an actual separate dimension that exists independently of, and before, Motion existed. To me, that perspective of 'time' is just consistent with change, itself.
It seems that you no longer believe Time is a dimension. -- Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]

1. If you say YES, then what is a dimension? Do you agree with my view (as illustrated above)? ...i.e. I view "dimension" as a spatial direction; as a 'means' for movement/change. How do you define "dimension"?

2. If you say NO, then this is the root of our misunderstanding.

Either Time is a dimension, or it is not. It cannot be both.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 7:52 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 4:27 am
Terrapin, I think what you're telling me, in a nutshell, is "you're mistaking/conflating the map for/with the territory". I've been told that before.

I'll have a think before replying properly.
Yeah, basically that's the idea. The very idea of maps doesn't make sense if they're not maps of something that isn't a map.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 7:56 am

RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 6:11 am
RJG wrote:
  • P1. From a geometric perspective:
    • A 0D "point" cannot move/change without a 1st dimension.
      A 1D "line" cannot move/change without a 2nd dimension.
      A 2D "plane" cannot move/change without a 3rd dimension.
      A 3D "object" cannot move/change without a 4th dimension.
    P2. The 4th dimension is called "Time".
creation wrote:I do not see the "logic", which you see, about how Time must be an actual separate dimension that exists independently of, and before, Motion existed. To me, that perspective of 'time' is just consistent with change, itself.
It seems that you no longer believe Time is a dimension. -- Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]

1. If you say YES, then what is a dimension? Do you agree with my view (as illustrated above)? ...i.e. I view "dimension" as a spatial direction; as a 'means' for movement/change. How do you define "dimension"?

2. If you say NO, then this is the root of our misunderstanding.

Either Time is a dimension, or it is not. It cannot be both.
Dimension is a(n abstract) concept we invented that has a lot of utility when approaching physics mathematically--it enables dimensional analysis. It seems like you're maybe looking at "dimension" as having some sort of platonic form reality instead. That's not the case.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1978
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by RJG » January 17th, 2020, 8:18 am

RJG wrote:Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]
Terrapin Station wrote:Dimension is a(n abstract) concept we invented that has a lot of utility when approaching physics mathematically--it enables dimensional analysis. It seems like you're maybe looking at "dimension" as having some sort of platonic form reality instead. That's not the case.
Is this a YES or NO? ...is Time a dimension?

creation
Posts: 1098
Joined: November 22nd, 2019, 10:39 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by creation » January 17th, 2020, 8:26 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm
creation wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 11:52 am

This is not exactly true, because there is one single thing that remains the same during the course of the change, but this detracts from the main point of what you are getting at. (But I can clarify if interested).
What would you say is the thing that remains the same in the case I described?
The Universe, Itself.

creation
Posts: 1098
Joined: November 22nd, 2019, 10:39 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by creation » January 17th, 2020, 8:30 am

Steve3007 wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:13 pm
viewtopic.php?p=346157#p346157
creation wrote:But where do you suggest we go instead?
If this is a question that you are asking me, I suggest this:

We both, symbolically, hit the "reset" button. We both agree to start again from this point, and try to follow a set of mutually agreeable guidelines for constructive conversation. Fortunately, the website has been setup with guidelines and rules designed to promote civil, rational discussion. They're discussed here:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12
and here:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1977

Below is my interpretation of the spirit of some of those rules/guidelines. I aspire to follow them but am happy to admit that I don't always succeed. I sometimes "fall off the wagon".


1. Take other posters' words at face value. Do not assume that they have an agenda. Do not speculate about an ulterior motive for their words, such as a religious devotion to what they say. Simply address what they say. If they say something, they are simply giving their view. They are not implying anything by it, such as that you are stupid not to know what they have said, or that they believe what they say as an article of faith without question. If you disagree with them, you're free to challenge them fairly. That's why we're all here.

2. Do not conflate one poster's words with another. Do not fall into thinking that there is a group of like-minded posters forming a clique and ganging up. Don't assume that any poster either supports or doesn't support another poster's words unless they explicitly say so. We are all individuals with individual views. None of us is responsible for, or has any control over, what anyone else says. None of us has a monopoly on truth or wisdom, and the simple act of expressing our views does not imply that we think we do. We can all learn from each other.

3. Do not make remarks about another poster's character. Don't tell other posters that they are stupid or arrogant, or that they are blinded by their upbringing, nationality, ethnicity, education or religion. These are irrelevant ad hominem speculations about a person that you know almost nothing about, except for what they explicitly say here.

4. Attempt to communicate your arguments as clearly and succinctly as you can. Don't play games and expect other people to constantly guess what you mean. Be as clear and unambiguous as you can, from the outset.

5. Attempt to make rational arguments. Think about what it means to make a logical argument. Try to read your own arguments from another person's perspective to see if they might make sense to others. Try not to get bogged down in trivia, irrelevance and flame wars. As this is a philosophy site, generally try to see the broad overarching principles that are being discussed rather than the technical details.

6. Try to stay broadly on topic, but be reasonable. Don't use accusations of going off topic or going away from a strictly philosophical discussion to simply shut down debate. All conversations drift, over time, to some extent. Be reasonably sympathetic to that. If you really think another poster has drifted way off topic, ask them to briefly explain the philosophical relevance of the direction in which they've gone.

7. If you jump into the middle of a conversation, there's nothing wrong with that, but bear in mind that you may have somewhat misunderstood the nature of the discussion. So try to see things in context.

8. Don't misrepresent other posters' words. If you want to reply to somebody, quote them, but quote the relevant parts while being mindful of the context from which those parts were taken.

9. Don't block-quote very large tracts of text and then make general comments which appear to be about what was quoted but can't be tied down to anything specific.


That's all I can think of for now. Obviously there's probably more, and obviously I could have expressed the above better. I've done the best I can.

Do you agree with the above?
To me absolutely everything in Life is very simple and easy. So, my interpretation of doing philosophy is to just remain inquisitive, open, and honest. All of the above will just fall into place naturally.

creation
Posts: 1098
Joined: November 22nd, 2019, 10:39 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by creation » January 17th, 2020, 8:47 am

RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 6:11 am
RJG wrote:
  • P1. From a geometric perspective:
    • A 0D "point" cannot move/change without a 1st dimension.
      A 1D "line" cannot move/change without a 2nd dimension.
      A 2D "plane" cannot move/change without a 3rd dimension.
      A 3D "object" cannot move/change without a 4th dimension.
    P2. The 4th dimension is called "Time".
creation wrote:I do not see the "logic", which you see, about how Time must be an actual separate dimension that exists independently of, and before, Motion existed. To me, that perspective of 'time' is just consistent with change, itself.
It seems that you no longer believe Time is a dimension. -- Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]
When did I ever believe absolutely anything?

And, when did I ever even think that time is a dimension?

Why did you assume such a thing as "I believe Time is a dimension" in the first place?
RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 6:11 am
1. If you say YES, then what is a dimension? Do you agree with my view (as illustrated above)? ...i.e. I view "dimension" as a spatial direction; as a 'means' for movement/change. How do you define "dimension"?

2. If you say NO, then this is the root of our misunderstanding.

Either Time is a dimension, or it is not. It cannot be both.
If I recall correctly I have not used the 'dimension' word to define anything, including 'time', so 'dimension' is not something I would necessarily have to define here. But, if I was to define 'dimension', then I would define 'dimension' something like; a measurable extent of a particular kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height.

Also, do you still have absolutely no idea of what my definition of 'time' is yet? If you already knew some of my views, then I have explicitly explained that a 3 dimensional object ONLY needs 'space' to move/change.

And, I do not agree with your view (as illustrated above) for the very reasons that I have already given. If I was to agree with your view that "dimension" as a 'spatial direction', then 'spatial' refers to 'space' and not 'time', so a "dimension" as a 'spatial direction' would, to me, just be a direction, spatially.

User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1978
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by RJG » January 17th, 2020, 9:19 am

RJG wrote:It seems that you no longer believe Time is a dimension. -- Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]
creation wrote:And, when did I ever even think that time is a dimension? Why did you assume such a thing as "I believe Time is a dimension" in the first place?
From this string in the discussion:
RJG wrote:Time does not "cause" motion, any more than Space causes matter. Motion is caused by interacting matter. Time is just the substrate; i.e. the place where motion occurs.
creation wrote:So, time, the dimension, is the place where motion occurs. But, if motion is caused by interacting matter, then the place where motion, or interacting matter, occurs is just the Universe, Itself, correct?
RJG wrote:Yes, the 4D universe. The 4D universe is where 3D objects interact (and motion occurs).
creation wrote:Does anyone here in this thread not know this, or dispute this?
It appears here (in this discussion string) that you agree "Time is a dimension" (the 4th dimension). -- And now it appears that you believe "Time is NOT a dimension". My apologies if I misinterpreted your words.

RJG wrote:Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO] ...2. If you say NO, then this is the root of our misunderstanding.
creation wrote:If I recall correctly I have not used the 'dimension' word to define anything, including 'time', so 'dimension' is not something I would necessarily have to define here. But, if I was to define 'dimension', then I would define 'dimension' something like; a measurable extent of a particular kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height.

Also, do you still have absolutely no idea of what my definition of 'time' is yet? If you already knew some of my views, then I have explicitly explained that a 3 dimensional object ONLY needs 'space' to move/change.

And, I do not agree with your view (as illustrated above) for the very reasons that I have already given. If I was to agree with your view that "dimension" as a 'spatial direction', then 'spatial' refers to 'space' and not 'time', so a "dimension" as a 'spatial direction' would, to me, just be a direction, spatially.
So then your answer appears to be "NO", ...correct?

And if so, then we are talking about 'different' things. Hence the root of our misunderstanding. -- If we cannot agree that "Time is a dimension", then no need for us to further discuss anything based on this fact/non-fact.

Terrapin Station wrote:Dimension is a(n abstract) concept we invented that has a lot of utility when approaching physics mathematically--it enables dimensional analysis. It seems like you're maybe looking at "dimension" as having some sort of platonic form reality instead. That's not the case.
If dimensions are just figments of our imagination (i.e. "concepts we invented"), then those stationary and moving objects that we observe out in the world, are also just figments of our imagination. For only imaginary (non-real) objects can be constructed from 'imagination'. If dimensions are not real, then neither are its constructions.

If dimensions are not real, and Time is a dimension, then Time is not real.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 12:45 pm

RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 9:19 am
RJG wrote:It seems that you no longer believe Time is a dimension. -- Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]
creation wrote:And, when did I ever even think that time is a dimension? Why did you assume such a thing as "I believe Time is a dimension" in the first place?
From this string in the discussion:
RJG wrote:Time does not "cause" motion, any more than Space causes matter. Motion is caused by interacting matter. Time is just the substrate; i.e. the place where motion occurs.
creation wrote:So, time, the dimension, is the place where motion occurs. But, if motion is caused by interacting matter, then the place where motion, or interacting matter, occurs is just the Universe, Itself, correct?
RJG wrote:Yes, the 4D universe. The 4D universe is where 3D objects interact (and motion occurs).
creation wrote:Does anyone here in this thread not know this, or dispute this?
It appears here (in this discussion string) that you agree "Time is a dimension" (the 4th dimension). -- And now it appears that you believe "Time is NOT a dimension". My apologies if I misinterpreted your words.

RJG wrote:Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO] ...2. If you say NO, then this is the root of our misunderstanding.
creation wrote:If I recall correctly I have not used the 'dimension' word to define anything, including 'time', so 'dimension' is not something I would necessarily have to define here. But, if I was to define 'dimension', then I would define 'dimension' something like; a measurable extent of a particular kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height.

Also, do you still have absolutely no idea of what my definition of 'time' is yet? If you already knew some of my views, then I have explicitly explained that a 3 dimensional object ONLY needs 'space' to move/change.

And, I do not agree with your view (as illustrated above) for the very reasons that I have already given. If I was to agree with your view that "dimension" as a 'spatial direction', then 'spatial' refers to 'space' and not 'time', so a "dimension" as a 'spatial direction' would, to me, just be a direction, spatially.
So then your answer appears to be "NO", ...correct?

And if so, then we are talking about 'different' things. Hence the root of our misunderstanding. -- If we cannot agree that "Time is a dimension", then no need for us to further discuss anything based on this fact/non-fact.

Terrapin Station wrote:Dimension is a(n abstract) concept we invented that has a lot of utility when approaching physics mathematically--it enables dimensional analysis. It seems like you're maybe looking at "dimension" as having some sort of platonic form reality instead. That's not the case.
If dimensions are just figments of our imagination (i.e. "concepts we invented"), then those stationary and moving objects that we observe out in the world, are also just figments of our imagination. For only imaginary (non-real) objects can be constructed from 'imagination'. If dimensions are not real, then neither are its constructions.

If dimensions are not real, and Time is a dimension, then Time is not real.
Extramentally, objects, extensions, motions, etc. are not dimensions.

You'd my claim that dimensions are particulars, would you?

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 12:46 pm

Oops--typo. That should have read "You'd not claim that dimensions are particulars, would you?"

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 12:57 pm

creation wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 8:26 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
January 16th, 2020, 3:54 pm


What would you say is the thing that remains the same in the case I described?
The Universe, Itself.
I was positing an example where the universe consists solely of the two different objects in question.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 12:58 pm

RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 8:18 am
RJG wrote:Is Time a dimension? [YES/NO]
Terrapin Station wrote:Dimension is a(n abstract) concept we invented that has a lot of utility when approaching physics mathematically--it enables dimensional analysis. It seems like you're maybe looking at "dimension" as having some sort of platonic form reality instead. That's not the case.
Is this a YES or NO? ...is Time a dimension?
Extramentally, nothing is a dimension. So no.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3350
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Is Time Just an Idea?

Post by Terrapin Station » January 17th, 2020, 1:39 pm

RJG wrote:
January 17th, 2020, 1:18 pm

Okay, but from the "extramental" view point, not only do dimensions not exist, but nothing really exists! ...right? ...including 'objects' and the 'motion' of objects? ...true?
No, that's not right at all. What you're suggesting is (ontological) idealism. I'm not an idealist. I rather hate idealism, I think idealism is stupid, and I think it's annoying that philosophy message boards, etc. are littered with so many idealists.

Post Reply