What time is it?

by metacognizant

Recently, I realized that out of all I’ve written on this blog I have not written a single thing on the nature of time itself. Due to my fascination with the subject, I thought I’d post a brief introduction to the philosophy of time and sketch my own view.

The philosopher Dean Zimmerman has written an essay explicating the two philosophical theories of time–A-theory and B-theory–and defending the A-theory. Because I’m an A-theorist, I chose to link to this article in order to indirectly give a brief introduction to my own view. I suggest reading the article in full, but in brief, the A-theory of time views tensed statements (“I am now sitting at my computer”) as reflecting objective reality, as the flow of time is a true event; in contraposition, the B-theory views tensed statements as not reflecting objective reality, as all moments of time timelessly coexist–that is, time does not flow, and time as we know it only arises as a subjective illusion. A B-theory is required for the concept of time travel to work–if moments in time do not coexist, then it would be impossible to travel from one to another. Traditionally, the special theory of relativity is thought to necessitate a B-theory of time. This is not necessarily true–as addressed by William Lane Craig in Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity, and it seems that the A-theory of time has been validated by a recent experiment showing that neutrinos appear to be able to travel faster than light.

There isn’t much of a point to this blog to except to introduce my readers to the concept of time so that I can write more about it later. For those who haven’t thought much about time itself, I encourage you to. It’s fascinating.