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Is time a necessary property of physics?

  1. Apr 8, 2004 #1
    I ask this becuase I see time as the free flow of cause and effect within our own consciouness. And a descriptor for the process of change in the world around us.

    What if all events suddenly ceased to happen - the universe completely static. Does time still flow for the physicist?

    Suspending cause and effect is impossible i think (unless you reach zero energy levels which I think are impossible anyway) so this thought experiment may have zero validity.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2004 #2


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    Scientific investigation, in the end, is based on human experience, and trying to explain it in a consistent and useful way. Time is part of that, so time, or at least the illusion of time, should be part of physics.

    Even if nothing changed, I think time would still exist. The analogy is that of the third dimension. If everything existed on a flat plane, would there still be such a thing as depth? Yes, but that depth would be superfluous.
  4. Apr 8, 2004 #3

    Time might be a history of spatial movements of our consciousness in our material dimensional world.

    If you smash your alarm clock hard enough, it will not flow.
  5. Apr 9, 2004 #4
    Yes but the difference is I can percieve the third dimension. I can't percieve time. All I see is a linking of causal events.

    The alarm clock is actually a good example of the illusion of a measurement of time. The causal events occuring in the alarm clock are very consistent,(the vibrations of quartz or whatever) but that is all they are, consistent.

    What I really want to know is does relativity depend on time being another dimension of physics?
  6. Apr 9, 2004 #5
    perception of time

    Time is perceived by our memory the same as all the other three dimensions. It could be measured in three ways chronological, cosmological, physiological.
    The causual events can be linked by observation.

    Old Newtonian classical physcis relates time to an absolute and homogenous time.

    Relativity relates it to not being absolute and homogenous and the necessity of clocks and measuring sticks at each point of observation.

    While these two deal with the macros and time is measured in two different ways, quantum mechanics deals with the micro, in quite a different way, in which there is no time.

    I think something is missing, a conceptual framework, to unify the mental, physical, classical and quantal aspects of nature.

    In answer to your question, does relativity depend on time being another dimension of physics? Yes i believe it is a intregal part of it. But is it accurate description of what time and reality is? I think it can be shown that velocities slower than the speed of light, time appears as a natural unfolding of nature.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2004
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