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Are space and time things?

  1. Feb 3, 2012 #1
    Are space and time things to themselves? Or are they just what things occur in? For example, fish occur in water, but water is a thing to itself and things occur in it (e.g. "fish"). Are space and time the same way?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2012 #2
    Your question seems too vague to answer. Define exactly what "things to themselves" means. Spacetime is not a thing according to the dictionary since it doesn't fit the definition of what a thing is. Things do occur within spacetime.

    Since you could call the entire universe a thing and if spacetime only resides within all the remnants of big bang explosion, then I guess you could call spacetime a thing as well. But what purpose does it serve to put things/ideas/phenomenons into categories?
  4. Feb 3, 2012 #3


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    This has been discussed numerous times on this forum, in various ways, and the consensus, to the extent that there IS any consensus, is that they are not things, they are properties of spacetime, the way spin is not a thing but rather is a property of subatomic particles.

    There have been several discussions about whether or not space is created as part of the accelerated expansion of the universe caused by "dark energy" (whatever that is) and here too the consensus, to the extent that there is one, is that new space is not created, things just get farther apart (and how weird is that?).

    There is a LONG thread on time here:

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