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## Main Question or Discussion Point

Hello all.

I was bored and so did a little browsing on the subject of time in relativity and came across this article entitled “The Problem of Time in Science and Philosophy” by Oliver L. Reiser. Which appeared in The Philosophical Review. Vol 35 issue 3 (May 1926) It comes from the JSTOR archive. The following is an extract from the article. I believe the author has written many “well received” philosophical books.

My question is whether this is an example of a philosopher knowing little physics and mathematics or are there subtleties which I am failing to appreciate.

----In the theory of relativity the ideal simplification of nature is carried to its highest state of perfection. In this physical doctrine space coordinates are tied up with time in one equation. Here any one coordinate could be said to depend on the other three. Analytically, such equations are dealt with in the same way as those of three dimensions. Under such conditions it is hard to state which is the independent variable and which the dependent. Time seems to be turned into space merely by giving it a minus sign. This clearly shows that it is not easy to state just what time really does mean in physics, and hence to say that it must necessarily function as an independent variable is inaccurate. Whether, in the last analysis, the Newtonian concept of an absolute and evenly flowing time must be reintroduced into relativity theory, in the form perhaps of the velocity of light, and whether “simultaneity” can be given an absolute meaning, are matters which the physicists have been unable to decide.-----

Matheinste.

I was bored and so did a little browsing on the subject of time in relativity and came across this article entitled “The Problem of Time in Science and Philosophy” by Oliver L. Reiser. Which appeared in The Philosophical Review. Vol 35 issue 3 (May 1926) It comes from the JSTOR archive. The following is an extract from the article. I believe the author has written many “well received” philosophical books.

My question is whether this is an example of a philosopher knowing little physics and mathematics or are there subtleties which I am failing to appreciate.

----In the theory of relativity the ideal simplification of nature is carried to its highest state of perfection. In this physical doctrine space coordinates are tied up with time in one equation. Here any one coordinate could be said to depend on the other three. Analytically, such equations are dealt with in the same way as those of three dimensions. Under such conditions it is hard to state which is the independent variable and which the dependent. Time seems to be turned into space merely by giving it a minus sign. This clearly shows that it is not easy to state just what time really does mean in physics, and hence to say that it must necessarily function as an independent variable is inaccurate. Whether, in the last analysis, the Newtonian concept of an absolute and evenly flowing time must be reintroduced into relativity theory, in the form perhaps of the velocity of light, and whether “simultaneity” can be given an absolute meaning, are matters which the physicists have been unable to decide.-----

Matheinste.