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Writings based on Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand's most popular novels are Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, which present her philosophy, Objectivism, in vivid characterizations.

  Metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, esthetics, and  politics are the five main branches of philosophy that she identifies. Utilizing her methodology, one can be rational about all aspects of life. These essays present my understanding of Objectivism.

Older Essays

This is Your Mind

Independence Day Special 2005

Copyright Issues Statement

Independence Day Special 2011:

 Jesus or Ayn Rand?

Don't Blame Wall Street

Governments and Individual Rights

Anarcho-Capitalism rebuttal

Doctors and Individual Rights

Internet Freedom VS On-line Piracy

Laws Must be Specific to Preserve Freedom

To Students of Objectivism

Kant as Founder of Modern Art

Thinking in Terms of Principles

The Purpose of Art

On Objectivity -- The Method of Thought

Applications of Philosophy

Happiness by a Proper Standard

Morality and War

Induction and Anarchism

Immigration and Applied Egoism

Independence Day 2012:

  Losing the Battle

On Civil Society

Batman and Justice

Paul Ryan and Objectivism

Philosophy in the Workplace

Articulating Freedom

The Argument for Freedom

Psycho-epistemology

Black Friday Special, The Morality of Profit

Intellectual Property Rights

How The Internet Works

Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History

The Morality of Copyrights and Patents

Justice

Freedom of Speech -- a Sacred Right

Objective Value

Teleological Measurements

Induction

Causality

Cognition

Ayn Rand as a Moral Hero

Moral Integrity

On Dualism

Protest NSA Spying

The Objectivist Trilogy

The DIM Hypothesis

Tolerance and DIM

Individual Rights

How We Know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998
Time
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

>I believe that, metaphysically, time is an absolute quantity, but 
>it can not always be directly perceived as such.

I think there is an implicit mistake in the quote above. Perhaps
the following will help to clarify the nature of time.

Time does not exist in the universe as a type of entity,
physical existent, stuff, substance, physical phenomena, field,
quantum state, or any other material or physical thing. In
short, time does not exist out there. Time is a concept, and
like all concepts it exists as a particular way of *considering*
aspects of existence by referencing these to a standard.


Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 06:09:05 -0500 (EST)
Time
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

Some replies to comments on the nature of time:

Duration of change and quantity of change refer to the same
change, but from different perspectives using standard changes
in different ways.

Duration of change is measured with a clock, and requires a
periodic change as the standard. A certain number of repeats of
the standard change occur as the change being measured occurs.

Quantity of change is measured with a standard change that
doesn't repeat.

Quantity of change is a difficult concept to convey, especially
to those who have not studied physics, and the concept  of energy
wasn't even needed until the Industrial Revolution. When man began to
make steam engines, it was necessary to come up with a concept
that related water becoming steam to other changes the machinery
was going to perform. For a steam locomotive, engineers needed a
way to mathematically convert a given amount of water becoming
steam (a change of state from liquid to gas) to velocity and
acceleration (changes of position). The water becomes steam,
greatly expands, acts on a piston, which drives wheels, which
moves the train. At the time, it was not known that steam is
simply water molecules acting more vigorously, so they needed a
concept of change that was wider than "motion."

The concept turned out to be very useful in applications other
than steam engines, however, as it can be used to mathematically
convert any type of physical change to any other type of
physical change. The official definition of energy is "the
ability to do work," meaning the change of one thing is used to
create a change in something else. It is the change of something
that is really "in things" rather than time.

The difference between duration and quantity of change might
become more clear in the following example:

When a firecracker explodes, the duration of the change is a
split second, but the overall amount of change is, let's say,
equal to a candle burning. That is, the firecracker exploding or
the candle burning can create the same change in a given amount
of water becoming steam. By contrast, the duration of a nuclear
explosion is also a split second, but it will boil a lot more
water than either the firecracker or the candle, so the nuclear
explosion has a greater quantity of change.

Quantity of change is more fitting to the concept of "energy,"
rather than the concept of "time."

Any periodic change can be used as the standard for time, though I
don't think all physical changes can be reduced to the change of
position of something (as was suggested in another post).

Provided the standard change is consistent and periodic, the
specific type of changes between repeats is irrelevant. What
counts is the total number of repeats of the standard. I'm not
sure that is the issue being raised, however. It almost sounds
as if you are trying to say an erratic change uses up more time
than a consistent change. A specific change does not need time
to occur, whether it is consistent or erratic. Time is not a
physical quantity being used up as the change occurs.

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 06:09:48 -0500 (EST)
Time
Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.

I think there is an important point to make regarding
measuring the amount of time something has existed. The pyramids
have changed, even though they haven't moved. The facing has
crumbled, sand storms have worn them down, the cyclic heating
and cooling of the structure (due to night and day) has weakened
them, certain chemical and nuclear reactions have occurred, etc.
By knowing the nature of the materials comprising the pyramids,
and how they change (by reference to standard changes), it is
possible to related these changes to the standard periodic
change, thus coming up with the age of the pyramids.


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