This is Your Mind
Independence Day Special
Copyright Issues Statement
Day Special 2011:
Don't Blame Wall Street
and Individual Rights
Freedom VS On-line Piracy
Must be Specific to Preserve Freedom
To Students of
Kant as Founder
of Modern Art
Terms of Principles
The Purpose of Art
On Objectivity -- The Method
a Proper Standard
Morality and War
and Applied Egoism
Losing the Battle
On Civil Society
Batman and Justice
Paul Ryan and
in the Workplace
The Argument for
Black Friday Special,
The Morality of Profit
How The Internet
Carnegie Museum of
Art and Natural History
Morality of Copyrights and Patents
Freedom of Speech -- a
Ayn Rand as a Moral
Protest NSA Spying
The DIM Hypothesis
Tolerance and DIM
How We Know
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998
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)
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
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)
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.