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Thread: B Theory Of Time...

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    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    Not easily, no. Unfortunately, whether one is an A-Theorist or a B-Theorist it is notoriously difficult to come up with a clear and cogent definition for Time. Classically, especially in the Aristotelian line, people have tried to define time as a relational measure of change; unfortunately, that then requires defining "change," which usually leads to circularity since it is rather difficult to define change without appealing to Time or notions of temporality.

    More modern understandings of Time become a bit more difficult to lay out, as at the very least they have to account for Relativity. Even that, however, is known to be lacking since Relativity is known to be incompatible with quantum mechanics. So far, the best ideas for defining space-time seem to be related to quantum mechanics, particularly as regards entanglement and decoherence.

    TL;DR-- Clearly and unambiguously? No, I don't think I can.
    I think "Time" might be one of those things that cannot be defined in terms of something else, but must be defined "by pointing to it", or by giving examples of it. Just like it doesn't seem to be possible to define mind/consciousness in terms of something else, but is defined simply by pointing to examples of consciousness (in most cases the listeners own consciousness), in the same way "Time" isn't necessarily something that you can define other than by pointing to examples of "Time".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    Well, obviously "time" will be defined differently depending on whether you believe the A or B series properly represents reality, so I'm not sure if "time" can be "clearly and unambiguously defined in such a way that people on both sides agree.

    I for example, tend to view "time" as the totality of change across all existence, so for me, "time" is not a real thing in and of itself, but simply change, and time going slower or faster would simply be the processes of change slowing down or speeding up. So for me, time is not a dimension in which change is made possible, but is that very change itself.
    That would leave the B Theory out - correct?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    Not easily, no. Unfortunately, whether one is an A-Theorist or a B-Theorist it is notoriously difficult to come up with a clear and cogent definition for Time. Classically, especially in the Aristotelian line, people have tried to define time as a relational measure of change; unfortunately, that then requires defining "change," which usually leads to circularity since it is rather difficult to define change without appealing to Time or notions of temporality.

    More modern understandings of Time become a bit more difficult to lay out, as at the very least they have to account for Relativity. Even that, however, is known to be lacking since Relativity is known to be incompatible with quantum mechanics. So far, the best ideas for defining space-time seem to be related to quantum mechanics, particularly as regards entanglement and decoherence.

    TL;DR-- Clearly and unambiguously? No, I don't think I can.
    So we are basically arguing about some thing that we really don't understand. If that is the case how do we have any confidence in any theory of time, A or B?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    That would leave the B Theory out - correct?
    It seems that way to me, yes. But a B Theorist would probably disagree with my definition of time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    It seems that way to me, yes. But a B Theorist would probably disagree with my definition of time.
    To me A theory comports to our actual experience where B theory seems more philosophical or based on speculative scientific theories. And since we can not even define time I don't see why the A theory is not privileged. Why speculation overrides experience.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  6. #146
    tWebber Boxing Pythagoras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    To me A theory comports to our actual experience where B theory seems more philosophical or based on speculative scientific theories.
    Only if you consider General Relativity to be a "speculative scientific theory."

    And since we can not even define time I don't see why the A theory is not privileged. Why speculation overrides experience.
    For the same reason we don't prize our experience of living on a relatively flat plane over the "speculative science" which tells us that our planet is round.
    "[Mathematics] is the revealer of every genuine truth, for it knows every hidden secret, and bears the key to every subtlety of letters; whoever, then, has the effrontery to pursue physics while neglecting mathematics should know from the start he will never make his entry through the portals of wisdom."
    --Thomas Bradwardine, De Continuo (c. 1325)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    I've already defined change in a manner in which I thought we agreed-- in fact, I deliberately chose a definition for change which was given by a professed A-Theorist, Ed Feser. I'll offer it again, just to be sure that we are on the same page:

    Change is the gain or loss of a property in a persistent entity.

    Do you agree with that definition? If so, do you agree that on the B-Theory an entity at time t may have different properties than that entity does at time t+1?
    Sure, that sounds logical enough. But my point is that the change is not an active change because time doesn't flow in B-theory, the time dimension in B-theory has always been. When I think about a block universe such as B-theory posits, time doesn't come into being point by point, it doesn't flow point by point into the future, into becoming. So how can you argue that the things in time come into being point by point in time when in B-theory the things in time aren't understood to be any different than time in that respect. Just like time is all there, so too are the things in time all there. If all the things in time are just as real as all of time itself how can you say that actual change takes place from t1 to t2?
    And btw, I'm not arguing for B-theory, I'm just arguing my understanding of it.

    I'm not saying that he never said such a thing. However, I've never actually read that quote in any of his work and a quick Google search didn't turn up anything on it. If you have a reference for it, I'd be much appreciative! I'll always welcome new insights into the man.
    Okay, will do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    Only if you consider General Relativity to be a "speculative scientific theory."
    If we can not even define what time is how can General Relativity speak to it with any real confidence?

    For the same reason we don't prize our experience of living on a relatively flat plane over the "speculative science" which tells us that our planet is round.
    Apples and oranges, the earth is physical and time is what? And we did figure out that the earth wasn't flat by experience.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boxing Pythagoras View Post
    Even if the universe has a finite past, there was never a time in which Time did not exist. That's quite obviously incoherent, whether one is an A-Theorist or a B-Theorist.
    I'm not claiming that there was ever a "time" at which time did not exist. I was responding to your quote:

    (T)he only thing that is changeless on the B-Theory is the Universe as a whole, because that necessarily implies looking at all of Time, as well. Change requires comparing one state of a thing to another state of that thing, but the Universe as a whole doesn't have multiple states on a Block Universe model.
    AFAIK, the general consensus is that the universe as a whole has a history and has gone through multiple states and stages of development.

    So are you saying that God can do evil?
    God "can" do evil in that God does not lack the ability to do evil. God's not doing evil is due to a lack of need and desire to do evil, not a deficiency of power. On compatibilism, an agent cannot do other than she does because that option is simply not open to her. It is a metaphysical deficiency of power. The word "can" has multiple meanings and can be easily equivocated over.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    If we can not even define what time is how can General Relativity speak to it with any real confidence?



    Apples and oranges, the earth is physical and time is what? And we did figure out that the earth wasn't flat by experience.
    Yes, they don't seem analogous at all. Also, it seems to me that if B-Theory is correct, then the conditions for believing anything are seriously undermined.

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