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Emergent time - emergent space?

  1. Jan 10, 2015 #1
    Hello all,

    In 2009, I had clumsily posed a question to these forums, regarding the objectivity of time.
    In 2012, I had posted a short piece of writing, clumsily suggesting that three dimensional space is an emergent property of interactions between virtual point-particles.
    Last year, my attention was drawn to this article, suggesting that time is an emergent property.

    I now return to these forums, in order to ask you, the physics community, whether you assume the Moreva et al article (posted above) to be of relevant value to physics?

    If you accept time as an emergent phenomenon of particle interactions (correlations), then should space not also be accepted as an emergent phenomenon of particle interactions?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2015 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Lee Smolin is advancing your suggestion in his later writings and he regularly cites Charles Sanders Peirce. If I understand aright, space is emergent, defined by the relations among the present particles, while time is fundamental. I believe that the topic sails under the flag of background-independent physics. Do an author search for Smolin at arXiv and read through his and his major co-authors' papers. His Temporal Naturalism is good.

    Beware, though, attacking conventional wisdom is not always well received. That extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence is tough to satisfy in a field sparse of Popperian falsifiability.

    Somewhere there is an argument for the speed of light in a vacuum being due to the low particle density minimizing the relations effecting the space but affecting and extending the time required to that needed for establishing the relations among those few particles.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  4. Jan 10, 2015 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Sure time may be an emergent property - or not, space may be an emergent property - or not.

    Science is all about putting forth conjectures and seeing where they lead.

    The thing though is in science the conjectures must be TESTABLE.

    If not you end up with philosophy which is notorious for never reaching any actual conclusions.

  5. Jan 10, 2015 #4

    Doug Huffman

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    That is precisely the issue with the Standard Models. They are well and truly verified while sparsely falsifiable.
  6. Jan 10, 2015 #5


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    A specific conjecture for a quantum theory with emergent space is Maldacena's gauge/gravity duality or AdS/CFT. This conjecture probably does not describe our universe, but it is potentially a non-perturbative definition of a quantum gravity theory, and it is hoped that understanding it will help us make progress. However, time (so far) seems not emergent in that conjecture.

    http://www.pma.caltech.edu/~physlab/ph10_references/scientificamerican1105-56.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
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