Posts tagged ‘spacetime’

January 5th, 2015

Ten Books for the Cultured Intellectual

by Max Andrews

I recently saw Neil deGrasse-Tyson’s list of eight books for intelligent people to read and, though they aren’t all bad, there are much more profound books. So, naturally, there will be some overlap, though probably for different reasons, as well as a variety of topics as my focus also includes being cultured.

Being a member of academia or modern intelligentsia is great but if you don’t get out of your ivory tower and aren’t knowledgable in culture, pop-culture, history, the arts, music, etc. then you’re taking up a small niche of intelligentsia.

Aside from the diversity I just alluded to, my criteria will also include the impact the works have had on society[ies] and may include overlapping books for a single author–particularly if the books are integral to the ideology or thesis being presented.

Without further ado, let the countdown begin:

Fyodor Dostoevsky The Brothers Karamazov10. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Part philosopher, part theologian, and part literary genius, Dostoevsky depicts the problem of evil and a world without God in a magnificent way. The book is about two brothers in Russia during the Russian depression and war and one brother is an atheist and one is a Christian. The atheist plots to kill their father while the Christian struggles to convince him that there is objective morality. This is where we get Karamazov’s theorem: ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ)

January 8th, 2013

Time Travel and Bilking Arguments

by Max Andrews

In this chapter (Paul Horwich, “Time Travel” in Asymmetries in Time: Problems in the Philosophy of Science (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1987), 111-128.) Horwich discusses Gödelian time travel. He defends Gödel’s claim against the objection that time travel, as he envisions it, cannot occur since it would engender anomalous consequences. He then briefly deals with arguments for a Gödelian spacetime, which entails a closed universe and closed timelines. He then defends issues about anomalous changes and bilking arguments dealing with backwards causation. He concludes his arguments with a defense of Gödel’s thesis that there is a real possibility of trips to the spatially distant past (128).

As appears in Alasdair Richmond, ‘Gödelian Time-Travel and Anthropic Cosmology’, Ratio (New Series), XVII, 2004, 176-190

As appears in Alasdair Richmond, ‘Gödelian Time-Travel and Anthropic Cosmology’, Ratio (New Series), XVII, 2004, 176-190

May 15th, 2012

Creatio Originans and Time

by Max Andrews

The doctrine of creatio originans refers to God’s original conservation of creation–a sustaining causal relationship.  This doctrine typically entails an A theory of time.

A theory of time (dynamic):  The ultimate reality of time is tensed (God is in time)

B theory of time (static):  The ultimate reality of time is atemporal (God is outside of time)

The doctrine of creation implies an A theory of time (dynamic, tensed). If one adopts B theory of time, then things do not literally come into existence.  The whole four-dimensional  spacetime manifold exists coeternally with God.

Creatio continuans entails a B theory (a continual creation). According to B theory, all events are equally real. Yesterday is just as real as tomorrow and exist in the same moment. If creatio orignans fails, can B theory make more sense of conservation?

Can God act tenselessly on e to sustain it from t1 to t2 [a time interval]

May 11th, 2012

The Big Crunch and the Bible

by Max Andrews

The universe was created 13.73 billion years ago.  At about 10-44 seconds after the big bang inflation kicked in and underwent a period of rapid inflation (expansion, this inflation force is thought to be dark energy depicted in Einstein’s lambda term (the cosmological constant) in the right hand side of his field equation describing the energy momentum of the universe.) The cosmological constant is a characteristic of the spacetime fabric of the universe related to its stretching energy (space energy density—commonly referred to as dark energy).  The more the universe expends, the greater this stretching energy becomes.[1]  When the spacetime fabric stretches, the bodies of masses, such as galaxies, move farther apart by the stretching of space.  The cosmological constant is in effect a pulling property that works against gravity.  Since creation, the cosmological constant’s effect has been increasing.  Initial expectations were for the expansion to slow down and for the universe to collapse back in on itself.  For instance, when a ball is tossed in the air its speed slows down and the ball falls to the ground. 

October 23rd, 2011

J.M.E McTaggart’s Argument That Nothing is in Time

by Max Andrews

J.M.E. McTaggart provides an objection to the A series of time but suggesting that it may be true that past, present, and future are mere illusions of the mind.[1]  McTaggart dismisses the argument’s subjectivity of time by simply defining it out of existence.

McTaggart’s Argument:

  1. Anything existent can either possess the characteristic of being in time or the characteristic of not being in time.
  2. Anything existent does not possess the characteristic of being in time [due to subjective references, a lack of indexing events from moment to moment or changing, etc.]
  3. Therefore, anything existent does not possess the characteristic of being in time (time is illusory).

The objection to the A series by the subjectivity of the individual mind is not so easy to dismiss as McTaggart seems to do.  With advances in relativity theory this objection may have phenomenological credibility.  Though McTaggart’s rejection of the argument is correct, there are better reasons for opposing the argument of the mind’s subjective relationship to time.[2]

The special theory of relativity (STR) states that clocks in motion slow down.  This time dilation occurs with respects to the observer.  In the early 1900’s, Albert Einstein’s STR changed how physicists and philosophers viewed the previous Newtonian paradigm of absolute simultaneity.  If STR is correct, then an observer in motion will experience time at a slower rate than an observer at rest.  Perhaps, given STR, the A series of time is really illusory since the experience of time is relative to the subject (the object being the spacetime fabric).

STR may still permit an A series of time where the subject’s experience of objective becoming is supported by the object’s relation to the subject.  There are two concurrent ways this may be done:  Lorentzian simultaneity (from the physical approach) and God as the prime reality (from the metaphysical approach).  Hendrick Lorentz proposed the idea that time and length are absolute but there are no way these measurements could be made since the measuring devices are in motion.

Lorentz’s equations for local time and transformation may aid the A theorist in the subject to object relationship with the observer being the subject and spacetime being the object; however, if the object is changed to God then perhaps the observers experience of becoming is objective [or perhaps a metaphysical time].  Propositions that appear in the past tense are true if and only if that proposition was true and that moment it describes.  The proposition, “It rained yesterday on March 12” is true if and only if today is March 13 [or any later day] and it rained the day before March 13.  If the observer experienced an earlier-than, later-than sense of becoming respective to March 12 and March 13 what criteria would warrant a rejection of that sense of becoming?  If on March 12 the observer objectively experiences rain and then affirms the truth of the proposition “It rained yesterday on March 12” the next day it seems that the proposition is objectively true as it stands in relation to the event and the observer.  If the event experienced (absolute becoming) is objective and the proposition “It rained yesterday on March 12” is true on March 13 then perhaps the referent for temporal becoming is not mere spacetime but rather God.

Admittedly this makes pantheism and panentheism to be sufficient explanatory hypotheses but these are not the only hypotheses that may work.  If all reality is found in God, according to an Anselmian God, then conceivably the phenomenological experience of the observer objectively experiencing a temporal becoming is due to a noumenal projection or referent providing that objectivity.  This would be analogous to Kant’s phenomenal-noumenal split with regards to the categorical imperative.  Just as Kant antecedently accepts the categorical imperative as objective he consequently postulates God as the objective source.  The analogy fits in the same phenomenological/experiential sense as well as the antecedent-consequent relationship and postulation (as well as implying the reality of events and experiences having temporal characteristics).

The question of how God relates to the world will inevitably be raised in light of this hypothesis.  Explaining how God relates to the world, whether it is pantheistic, panentheistic, or God’s temporal relationship is a Lorentzian time, is not necessary to make the postulation as long as God is the Anselmian understanding of God (that God is the prime reality).  This explanation comes to the same conclusion that McTaggart came to except more credence is given to the subject’s relationship to the object (whatever the object may be).  If the object is spacetime then it certainly may be the case that temporal becoming is an illusion given STR.

            [1] J.M.E. McTaggart, “Time:  An Excerpt From The Nature of Existence” in Metaphysics eds. Peter van Inwagen, Dean W. Zimmerman (Oxford:  Blackwell, 2008), 118.

            [2] When is use past tensed verbs such as “experienced” or “rained” I am using them in a series-independent sense.  The English tenses may assume an objective difference in time but I am not giving credence to my argument by appealing or assuming verb tenses as being true merely because of linguistic limitation.