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What's The Time?: Newton and Leibniz

  1. Aug 16, 2004 #1
    Can anyone here describe the difference between Newton's and Leibniz's definition of classic time? I have a very brief explanation, but I'd like some input to improve my clarity of their definitions. Here are two passages that inspired me to learn more:

    Newton referred both to the successive order of events in time and to the rate at which they succeed each other. In his view, these are quite distinct: the temporal order, or before -and-after sequence of events, does not determine the duration of time that elapses between one event and another. Instead, he believed that the rate at which events succeed each other is determined by the respective moments of absolute time with which they are correlated and what he called the rate of 'flow' of this time.

    Leibniz's theory that events are more fundamental than moments is known as the relational theory of time. It is based on the idea that we derive time from events and not the other way round. This means, for example, that we should regard two events as simultaneous not because they occupy the same moment of absolute time but because each occurs when the other does.

    Both passages are from:

    What is Time? The classic account of the nature of time -G.J. Whitrow (pg. 87-88 and pg. 79)

    Could you keep the language simple, I'm still a newcommer.
  2. jcsd
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