A Brief Study of Time

A Brief Study Of Time Time is concept that has captivated the minds of physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers alike for millennia. In this essay, I will briefly explore and simplify the mind-contorting concept of time while detailing my personal belief in overall subjectivity of time. There are three major theories of time reality that divide philosophers today: Presentist, Growing Past, and Eternalism.

Presentist believe that only the present and things associated with the present are real. For example, only the objects in a room you perceive when you are experiencing a “now” are real. Likewise, they theorize that the chair that existed in the same room 20 years ago, or the new chair that will exist 20 years later, are not real. Presentists offer the unique vividity that we see in the present as proof of concept. The vagueness of past memories and future expectations provides evidence of their look of authentic validity. Growing Past theorists believe that both the past and present are objectively real.

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In other words, the chair that existed in the room 20 years ago is as real as the chair that exists in the room you are experiencing now. Similar to Presentist, Growing Past theorists see the future as unreal because it is merely potential. Stemmed in this shared false future belief found in both the Presentist and Growing Past theories is the trust that the future is ambiguous and can be manipulated by present action, or simply, the presence of free will. Eternalist, however, refute the existence of free will. Eternalist believe there is no objective or ontological differencebetween the past, present, and future. Rather, these differences are merely subjective.

For example, there is no difference between you standing in the room with the chair now and the person standing in the room 20 years ago with the old chair or the person standing in the room 20 years later with the new chair. Each present is no less present than the other, though it may also the the past or future in relation to somebody else’s present. Eternalism bases past, present, and future as descriptors in relation to the viewer, not permit adjectives. It is similar to here and there. Let’s suppose you are standing there, and I am standing here. In my head, you are there and I am here.

While in your head, you are here and I am there. Perspective dictates whether a point is here or there. Viewing said point from different perspectives allows the point to hold true both adjectives here and there. Neither, though is any less or more true than the other. Many describe time as having a “flow”, not much unlike the simple flow of a creek.

We see the event, or water, that is coming toward us, and then it passes and recedes farther in the distance, or past; Time moves through us.However, the static theory of time flow defines time’s flow as an illusion. Things will change, but this is not because time flows, but rather the viewer is moving through fixed frames of time: We move through time. When events are said to change, the change is not found in the distinguishable properties in event itself, but rather in the events relationship to the observer. Most philosophers claim that there are three major types of time: physical, biological, and psychological.

Physical time is best described as public time, or the time clocks track. Biological time is time tracked within an organism by its circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the “body clock” of an organism, dictating when the body becomes sleepy and when it feels awake. Circadian rhythm is heavily influenced by the presence of lack of light. Psychological time is mental time, or “awareness of physical time” (Dowden 3). psychological time is the type of time that is still not quite understood by philosophers, since it is not consistent or predictable.

We have all experienced this inconsistency firsthand; psychological time passes quickly when we are engrossed in an activity we enjoy while psychological time seemingly slows when we are sitting in a boring class. While biological time is widely accepted by a majority of philosophers, some, such as myself, challenge the relevance of physical time, establishing psychological time as the primary truth. Just as eternalism defines time as subjective, there is a subjectivity in daily time, disproving the existence of physical time. In other words, time exclusively exists within the mind. The consistency and predictability of physical time is not a component of reality, but rather a human fabrication constructed for the convenience of organization and common understanding.Aristotle once proposed that if there is somebody to count, then there are things to be counted.

Likewise, if there is nobody to count, then there is nothing to be counted. Thus in correlation with this proposition, if there was nobody to keep time, then time would not exist. Progressing this subjective view of time, St. Augustine said “time is nothing in reality, but exists only in the mind’s apprehension of reality” (Dowden 5). Furthermore, and in accordance with eternalism, the 13th century philosophers Giles of Rome and Henry of Ghent said that time remains a mind independent entity, but distinguishable relationships within time, such as earlier and later, exist only within the mind.

My personal belief: As suggested by Einstein, time is a dimension. Time flow is a subjective entity completely dependent of the mind, or viewer, disproving the relevance of and Physical time system. Time does not flow outside the mind, but rather the viewer flows through time, a fourth dimension in which we do not yet fully understand. The past, present, and future are all equally as real while past, present, and future are used merely as descriptors of relation on this fourth dimension. As philosophers, mathematicians, and physicist continue to unlock secrets of our universe, a greater understanding and possible use of this dimension may be unveiled.