Can you answer the most fundamental question about time?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Speakpigeon, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    This is the most fundamental question concerning time:

    If time doesn't exist as such, if the only reality of time is to be a mere convention, a convenience to ensure the necessary synchronisation of our activities across society, including the synchronisation of our machines and of our scientific instruments, then how is it at all possible to durably synchronise different clocks, among other things? Assuming a number of clocks are set to read the same as some master clock, and assuming time doesn't exist, why would the clocks stay synchronised at all?
    EB
     
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  3. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    Time is a an expression of material rate of change. Clocks are devices who’s rate of change is considered to be consistent and regular. Since consistency and regularity are desired qualities of manufactured clocks, there would be a concerted effort to design clocks with these qualities in mind, and to keep these clocks networked in order to ensure their synchronization.
     
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  5. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    I thought the most fundamental question about time is: "what is time"?
    Answer that and you may have the answer to this less fundamental (?) question.
     
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  7. Bowser Right Here, Right Now Valued Senior Member

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    Time seems to be mind--either a memory or a projection. If not for that we would forever be in the present.
     
  8. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    OK, so how is it at all possible that different clocks have the same rate of change if time itself doesn't exist?
    EB
     
  9. Capracus Valued Senior Member

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    But time does exist as long as there is material change in reality. No two clocks can have identical behavior in regards to their operation, but if highly accurate clocks, such as atomic clocks that only deviate by a second of over billions of years, are kept synchronized, then they will be fairly reliable references for measuring time.
     
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I doubt that.
    AFAIK, clocks are subject to GR and each clocks functions in relation to its frame of reference.

    Accuracy is a relative measurement. If I take a walk, my internal clocks slows down in relation to stuff that's stationary.
     
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  11. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    "If God is all-powerful can he make a rock so big that not even he can lift it?"
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Can God break his own universal laws and constants? If he made them they are immutable, no?
     
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  13. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    So now you seem to be saying there is both time and change... Why would two different things, time and change, work together?
    EB
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Without change time does not exist. It becomes unmeasurable.
     
  15. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps synchronization doesn't have anything to do with time . . . ?

    Suppose I want to synchronize a pair of pendulums, so I want to release them at . . . the same time . . . so their motion is "synchronous".
    What happens to all of the time that "passes" prior to the event of release? What happens after?

    I don't think anything happens "to" time, unless we try to measure it, and we don't really do that after all. We measure or observe motion.
    Time then seems to be a convenient invention . . .
     
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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. Time (measurable duration) is an arbitrary by-product of GR and QM and may well be common denominator which unifies a relationship between the two.
    https://www.sciencealert.com/a-wild...e-time-is-just-a-product-of-quantum-mechanics
     
  17. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    . . . on the other hand, if we observe motion, then we can't exclude the possibility that our apparent inability to observe time, is because we can't observe motion otherwise.

    But observation has to have a past and memory is required; without time communication doesn't make much sense, although there is still a limited definition of information entropy, it can only be static. We know the universe isn't static, q.e.d.

    But how do we know? Because we evolved that way and it's an inevitable consequence of evolution? Or why do we know (because we really really need to, it's called survival) . . .

    Up against our evolved perceptions, we have the somewhat ridiculous physical theory that everything--you, the world, light, sound, etc--is just particles interacting with particles, or their fields; the boundaries are all imaginary, everything is connected to everything else. It always has been.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  18. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

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    Possibly irrelevant and/or unwanted but...
    Atomic nuclei (even unstable ones) don't seem to experience time. The chances of a nucleus decaying are the same after a million years as after one second Using atomic nuclei we can make a clock out of things that don't experience time - eg carbon dating. For convenience I guess 'decays per second' (or hour or whatever) is used in the dating process but in essence the 'clock' is the ratio of decayed nuclei to undecayed nuclei. I suggest the (unstable) nucleus is doing a 'thing' which should give some insight into the nature of time - but probably won't. We could (every morning) give everyone a small amount of a fast decaying isotope. The train arrives when the ratio of decayed to undecayed nuclei is 0.7899. We do it every morning (0.3389) so what was apparently an irreversible process has become a repeatable process. In the real world, for convenience we choose to measure time another way using much lower energy techniques but the things we are 'measuring' are generally much closer to the decay of the isotope than the swing of a pendulum. The train you catch (or not) goes home at night and is delivered next morning after being cleaned, serviced and fueled. The people catching the train have moved on a day in their personal half life progression. In general the only thing remotely like clocks is other clocks. So why do clocks stay the same as other clocks? Could it be that they are designed to do exactly that? Physicists and engineers have replaced the process of radioactive decay of nuclei with something much more convenient - though in principle nothing has changed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  19. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Because time would exist in a void even if no one noticed it.
     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    No it would not.
    In a void, from what frame of reference would you measure time? If you mean the very existence of a void is measurable with time then you are missing the definition of a void.
     
  21. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    OK, then you might try to answer the question:
    If time doesn't exist as such, if the only reality of time is to be a mere convention, a convenience to ensure the necessary synchronisation of our activities across society, including the synchronisation of our machines and of our scientific instruments, then how is it at all possible to durably synchronise different clocks, among other things? Assuming a number of clocks are set to read the same as some master clock, and assuming time doesn't exist, why would the clocks stay synchronised at all?
    EB
     
  22. Speakpigeon Valued Senior Member

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    1,116
    Designing clocks the proper way is a necessary condition but it's not enough. Two clocks that are exactly the same at t = 0 are still not the same clock and therefore two different clocks. Two identical things are still two different things. If time doesn't exist, why would these two different things stay synchronised at all. Obviously, we expect them to drift appart, say 1 second a day or 1 second in a million years but that doesn't matter. If time doesn't exist, we should observe that clocks immediately tell very different times because there would be no reason that one doesn't go a million times faster that the other, and that even though they have been built the same.
    Unless there's another reason for the clocks to stay synchronised.
    EB
     
  23. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    If God is all powerful can he wish himself out of existence?
     

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