Tense, Passage, and Change--Sans Rate

16 pages
139 views

Please download to get full document.

View again

of 16
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Share
Description
Tense, Passage and Change, Sans Rate Raleigh Miller I. Introduction In this paper I will be discussing the dynamic view of time. According to the dynamic view of time, time flows, or passes. This thesis has been taken to imply that temporal passage is, in important ways, analogous to passage through space. There is a present moment, a now moment, but the now index is not invariant in its temporal location. The now moves from moment to moment, from earlier moments to later moments. Moments that
Tags
Transcript
  Tense, Passage and Change, Sans Rate Raleigh Miller I.   Introduction In this paper I will be discussi n g the dy n amic view of time. Accordi n g to the dy n amic view of time,time flows, or passes. This thesis has bee n take n to imply that temporal passage is, i n importa n t ways,a n alogous to passage through space. There is a prese n t mome n t, a now  mome n t, but the now  i n dex is n ot i n varia n t i n its temporal locatio n . The now  moves from mome n t to mome n t, from earlier mome n tsto later mome n ts. Mome n ts that are n t now  are n ot statically past (earlier tha n the n ow) or future(later tha n the n ow) but are cha n gi n g i n their past n ess or futurity. Prese n tly future mome n ts arebecomi n g less a n d less future as the now  moves alo n g, while prese n tly past mome n ts are becomi n gmore a n d more past.The dy n amic view of time is of co n siderable disrepute. A n umber of co n ceptual difficulties seemto advise agai n st taki n g the imagery of temporal passage literally. No n etheless, we n eed n t take a n  image literally i n order to take it seriously. In this paper, I will be argui n g for a n u n dersta n di n g of temporal passage that is immu n e to several ca n o n ical refutatio n s of the dy n amic view of time. Thepaper will be structured as a respo n se to Eric Olso n s brief a n d i n cisive (2009) article. Olso n s argume n tis perfectly simple.1.   Talk of rate of time  s passage is co n ceptually co n fused.2.   The dy n amic view requires a rate of time  s passage.3.   A n y te n sed theory of time requires the dy n amic view.4.   Therefore, all te n sed theories of time are false.The te n sed theory of time is the claim that te n se is real. Some temporal properties are te n seless. T 1  is te n selessly earlier tha n T 2 , te n selessly later tha n T 3 , a n d te n selessly simulta n eous with T 4 . I f theserelatio n s amo n g times obtai n , they obtai n eter n ally. Other temporal properties are te n sed. T 1 isprese n t. I t was n t always, a n d wo n t always be. T 1 was future, but it is n o lo n ger. T 1 is n ot yet past, butit will be. Bei n g prese n t  , bei n g past  a n d bei n g future  are properties that i n here i n T 1 tra n sie n tly.  Accordi n g to te n sed theories of time, our te n de n cy to say thi n gs like T 1 is past  is not  just a n li n guisticartifact of some uttera n ce  s bei n g located at a time T 2 (somethi n g that is eter n ally true) combi n ed withT 2  s bei n g later tha n T 1 (somethi n g that is eter n ally true). Rather, times have te n sed properties i n virtueof reality  s bei n g ge n ui n ely te n sed. T 2 is past iff T 2 is ( simpliciter  ) either n o n existe n t or o n tologicallydeficie n t, but T 2   once had  the sort of o n tologically robust status gra n ted to the prese n t mome n t. Olso n  argues that co n ceivi n g of reality as ge n ui n ely te n sed requires the dy n amic view of time. This is a veryplausible claim. The imagery of a series of mome n ts that cha n ge i n their te n sed properties suggests a n  i n dex (with refere n ce to which such properties are determi n ed) that moves alo n g the series. I thi n k that Olso n s argume n t is a n extremely suggestive a n d valuable starti n g poi n t for a discussio n  of the relatio n ship betwee n te n se, passage, tra n sie n ce, a n d cha n ge. There is a n eleme n t of truth i n allthree premises, but a short exploratio n will make it clear that they are n ot all true i n a way that makestheir co n  ju n ctio n e n tail Olso n s sweepi n g rejectio n of te n sed theories. Seei n g how this is the case willtake us a co n siderable dista n ce towards clarifyi n g some co n cepts that are ce n tral to a cohere n t o n tologyof time, so refuti n g of Olso n s argume n t should accomplish a great deal more tha n merely defe n di n gte n sed theories of time agai n st o n e amo n g ma n y argume n ts for their falsity. The paper will take up allthree premises i n their tur n , a n d i n order. I will co n clude that premise two depe n ds upo n a particular u n dersta n di n g of temporal passage. I f o n e u n dersta n ds temporal passage i n o n e way (the correct way, I thi n k) the n premise two is false. But if Olso n wa n ts to i n sist o n a n u n dersta n di n g of passage that re n ders premise two true, the n he forgoes hisright to premise three. Thus we are left with n o compelli n g reaso n to reject dy n amism, a n d n o reaso n  at all to reject te n sed theories of time. II.   Olsons Argument Against Passage The dy n amist claims that time passes. The passage of time is ofte n take n to refer to moveme n t of the now  from earlier mome n ts to later mome n ts. Moveme n t happe n s at a rate. Dy n amism seems to  require that the now  moves at some rate. But rate is a temporal measureme n t; how fast a car moves isa fu n ctio n of how much time the car takes to travel a certai n dista n ce. I f the rate of time  s passage is tobe a n alogous to spatial passage, the n we might ask how lo n g it takes the now  to travel a certai n  dista n ce. But the dista n ce i n questio n is temporal dista n ce. Measuri n g the dista n ce betwee n twotemporal poi n ts (say where the now  is prese n tly, at 3:37 p.m. o n Mo n day, a n d 3:37 p.m. o n the comi n gTuesday) yields a temporal dista n ce, a time (roughly twe n ty-four hours). So aski n g after the rate of time  s passage is aski n g what temporal dista n ce is traveled duri n g a give n temporal i n terval. But, of course, the temporal dista n ce just is the temporal i n terval, so these two values will always be equal.That is, time moves at o n e seco n d per seco n d. Or o n e hour per hour. Or o n e year per year. Not a veryi n teresti n g rate. The dy n amist will express puzzleme n t at the appare n t requireme n t that the rate of time  s passage be a n i n teresti n g rate. Why ca n t the claim time passes at o n e seco n d per seco n d  betrue, eve n if u n i n teresti n g? But the problem is deeper tha n that, Olso n i n sists. O n e seco n d per seco n dis n ot just a n u n i n teresti n g rate, but n ot a rate at all. O n e seco n d per seco n d is o n e. O n e is n ot a rate.The argume n t is n ow:1.   Either time does n t pass at a rate, or it passes at a rate of o n e seco n d for seco n d.2.   O n e seco n d per seco n d is equal to o n e.3.   O n e is n ot a rate, a n d passi n g at a rate of o n e  is n o n se n se.4.   Therefore, time does n t pass at a rate of o n e seco n d per o n e seco n d.5.   Therefore time does n t pass at a rate.6.   I f time passes, the n it passes at a rate.7.   Therefore, time does n t pass.This argume n t has prove n surprisi n gly resista n t to a barrage of straightforward respo n ses. Prior, fori n sta n ce, has claimed that acceleratio n provides a model for passage at o n e seco n d per seco n d, si n ceacceleratio n is expressed i n metres per seco n d per seco n d. (1968, 8-9) But this does n ot work. [Metre /seco n d / seco n d] is n ot equal to [metre / (seco n d / seco n d)], but rather [(metre/seco n d)/seco n d], whichco n tai n s n o i n sta n ce of (seco n d/seco n d). So the defe n se that says we have exta n t a n d perfectly  cohere n t examples of rates of seco n d/seco n d i n our physics must be aba n do n ed. We do n t, i n fact, evermeasure a n ythi n g i n seco n ds per seco n d.Perhaps if we ca n cha n ge o n e of the temporal values i n (seco n d/seco n d) i n to a n atemporalvalue, we ca n tra n slate (seco n d/seco n d) i n to a respectable ratio that does n t reduce to o n e. Perhapswe say that time passes at o n e hour per cycle of the mi n ute ha n d. Or perhaps time passes at o n eseco n d per 9 192631 770 periods of the radiatio n correspo n di n g to the tra n sitio n betwee n the twohyperfi n e levels of the grou n d state of the caesium-133 atom. 1 But this is does n ot work. Just as o n ehour passes per o n e cycle of the mi n ute ha n d, so o n e cycle of the mi n ute ha n d passes per hour, allowi n ga tra n slatio n of our n ew rate right back i n to the old o n e:1 hour 1 cycle 1 hour1 cycle x 1 hour = 1 hour = 1A rate that ca n be co n verted i n to 1 was equal to 1 to begi n with. Alo n g the same li n es, Schlesi n ger(1969; 1990, 30-3) suggests that time could pass at a rate i n dexed to a seco n d time dime n sio n . Wecould the n co n vert (1 seco n d / 1 seco n d) i n to a n other value that does n t reduce to 1. But this does n otwork. Olso n s argume n t ca nn ot be diffused by poi n ti n g to tra n slatio n of (1 seco n d) i n to (N seco n d 2 s)a n y more tha n it ca n be diffused by poi n ti n g to a n atemporal co n versio n of (1 seco n d). Whatever elsemight be true of the rate of time  s passage o n these alter n ative measureme n ts, it remai n s also true thattime passes at (1 seco n d / 1 seco n d). The srci n al rate has bee n co n verted, n ot falsified. A n d i n sofar asthe rate of time  s passage is (amo n g other thi n gs) (1 seco n d / 1 seco n d), the rate of time  s passage is 1,a n d that is n o n se n se. I f (1 seco n d/N seco n d 2 s) is the correct co n versio n of seco n ds i n to seco n d 2 s, the n Nseco n d 2 s is equal to 1 seco n d, a n d our n ew appare n tly cohere n t rate is equivale n t to our old i n cohere n trate of 1. 1 Bureau In ter n atio n al des Poids et Mesures. http://www.bipm.org/e n /si/si_brochure/chapter2/2-1/seco n d.html
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks