What is time? (Again)

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Maybe the most interesting thread of this Forum so far. It looks like the philosophy section is the most civil of all. Here we can disagree & continue the discussion, very nice.

4 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Fair enough, but I'd put it the other way around - 'to vary' inevitably implies a process (and thus time) to me, whereas 'change' does not. But that's just convention

But you were using the concept of "variable" (was that you or Studiot?).

Sure the  concept of fractal is an interesting way to overcome the question of the original dimensioning in a universe where everything is relative.  The trouble with fractals is that AFAIK from the extremely small till the extremely big there is no repetition. But that is very far out of topic.

17 hours ago, MigL said:

He certainly can't place the mirror...
But if he were to look at a pre-existing mirror 20 light years away, he could ( with suitable technology ), see himself graduating 40 years ago.

Imagine this mirror being installed 30 years ago (as observed by us) 20 LY away. When graduating, the mirror wasn't installed yet. So Joigus 40 years ago couldn't observe the mirror. The rays of lights expelled by graduating Joigus's happy face (his image) are travelling through space towards the mirror & reach it after 20 years of travel.  They are eventually reflected to us & reach him today so that he can see his own image as he was in the past. In the same time interval, Joigus has traveled in time: he has aged.

Now: where is Joigus? Is he today with us? Or is he 40 years ago? (sorry) Or was he 40 years ago? Or both? Are there 2 Joigusses one today & one 40 years ago?

The conventional answer is that Joigus exists today & Joigus existed 40 years ago: it means that Joigus is a 4D object that extends in spacetime from his birth, his graduation until today.

My (unconventional) answer is that there exist only one 3D Joigus that have changed location (he has moved) in time (he has aged) and the image in the mirror is, well, an image.

It is a completely different concept but AFAIK it is compatible with the existing physics.

Edited by michel123456

Share on other sites
1 hour ago, michel123456 said:

Here we can disagree & continue the discussion, very nice.

Indeed

1 hour ago, michel123456 said:

But you were using the concept of "variable" (was that you or Studiot?).

I think we all were, simply because that is what they are conventionally/historically called. Nonetheless, the formal definition of a function is a relationship between sets, so ‘argument of a function’ would probably be a better term.

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 8/1/2020 at 12:48 PM, Markus Hanke said:

Interesting...this isn’t really true in German though, at least not directly. There are, in fact, two nouns for ‘change’ - Änderung, which is the concept of non-homogeneity, of something having different attributes as a comparative relationship; and then there is Veränderung or Abänderung, which is the process of making something different. Only the latter has a connotation of implying time, at least in my opinion.

Thats interesting, Swedish has Ändring and Förändring. They seems closely related to your german examples but in Swedish both AFAIK contains the meaning "a change over time". The difference between  Ändring and Förändring is that Ändring describes and active process with a subject. Example: "The scientist did a modification; the sample was changed before the test. Th scientist did grind the sample to powder." "Förändring" is passive: "The sample changed during the test. It decayed and became powder."

The difference seems to be that in Swedish something having different attributes as a comparative relationship implies "before" and "after" and German does not.

(I also note some interesting things regarding the DVD example you posted, I'll try to post something on that.)

Edited by Ghideon
better example.

Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Ghideon said:

Thats interesting, Swedish has Ändring and Förändring

Yes it is interesting observing several foreigners (no offence at all meant) discssing a finer point of my native language.

They have useful material to add.

But here is my take on vary v change.

Let us use the example "What is considered the ideal female form ?"

This varies from location to location and ethnic group to ethnic group.

It has also changed at one location / ethnic group over time. The models of Rubens were plumper than the models of today.

Another example

John travels frequently from London to Amsterdam.

He varies his route, sometimes going by ferry to France and sometimes flying direct.

Yesterday he intended to fly, but changed his route to the ferry at the last moment.

Share on other sites

A further example,

The measurement of goods for sale varies, apples by weight, milk by volume but now the the measurement of apples has changed to number (a pack of six).

Share on other sites
2 hours ago, studiot said:

Yes it is interesting observing several foreigners (no offence at all meant) discssing a finer point of my native language.

They have useful material to add.

But here is my take on vary v change.

Let us use the example "What is considered the ideal female form ?"

This varies from location to location and ethnic group to ethnic group.

It has also changed at one location / ethnic group over time. The models of Rubens were plumper than the models of today.

Another example

John travels frequently from London to Amsterdam.

He varies his route, sometimes going by ferry to France and sometimes flying direct.

Yesterday he intended to fly, but changed his route to the ferry at the last moment.

Nicely done.

1 hour ago, studiot said:

A further example,

The measurement of goods for sale varies, apples by weight, milk by volume but now the the measurement of apples has changed to number (a pack of six).

Nice. Again.

Share on other sites
2 hours ago, studiot said:

Let us use the example "What is considered the ideal female form ?"

This varies from location to location and ethnic group to ethnic group.

It has also changed at one location / ethnic group over time. The models of Rubens were plumper than the models of today.

Now I think I can safely tell you that you're on a very slippery slope.

Interesting linguistic discussion. Here's a clumsy (and totally unreliable, mind you) attempt on my part at finding cognates for the concepts we're talking about.

change          difference (English)

changement différence (French)

cambio           differenza (Italian)

änderung       vëränderung (German)

cambio           diferencia (Spanish)

ändring           förändring (Swedish)

------------------------------------------

In Spanish there is "andar", which means "to walk". The green ones are probably just wrong. The red and blue ones I'm more confident that may betray semantic connections.

Not at all sure that this attempt at finding cognates means anything at all. I'm just pointing out that they all sound similar to a layman in linguistics like myself. I've been trying to find reliable cognates for "to change" and "to differ" in proto-indoeuropean, but haven't been successful so far. I'm totally out of my depth.

Puzzingly enough, in Latin there is a very clear word for change in time, which is mutatio, and has no lexeme in common with any of the above. I'd be very interested in the Greek version from @michel123456. Although this is spilling over into other fields very quickly.

I'm still suffering a bit of jet lag from the time travel you got me into. I'll try to react to that later.

------------------------------------------

7 hours ago, michel123456 said:

Maybe the most interesting thread of this Forum so far. It looks like the philosophy section is the most civil of all. Here we can disagree & continue the discussion, very nice.

+1. You just got one thing wrong: This is a physics forum. Although eventually it may be subject to change.

Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, joigus said:

change          difference (English)

On my way from Bristol to Nottingham I had to change buses in Birmingham.
Both buses were red routemasters, the only difference being the first was the no. 7 service, the second a no. 12.

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The linguistic discussion is interesting since I believe it is tightly connected to the opening question. It could be interesting to know when and how these linguistic differences occurred and compare the changes to any cultural or scientific changes at that time.
-Were there changes in how people looked at the concept of "time", driving changes in the language? For instance discovery of better time keeping or better understanding how some things are time dependant.
-Is it hard to answer "what is time" because of the linguistic issues that arise? That seems to be a separate issue from what time "really is".
-Or more the other way around; are there inherent properties in "time itself" that makes it hard to describe, resulting in the various temporal aspects of the words and sentence examples above?

Edited by Ghideon

Share on other sites

So, we're all in agreement then ?
The problem is with our common definition of 'change' ?

I was right all along, again.
( I don't know, is that the right emoticon for a 'smug, smart-ass' ? )

Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, MigL said:

So, we're all in agreement then ?
The problem is with our common definition of 'change' ?

I was right all along, again.
( I don't know, is that the right emoticon for a 'smug, smart-ass' ? )

So don't you owe it to us to share the details of your insight ?

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I was being facetious, Studiot.

I do admit that when I first brought up the subject ( Jul 28 ), I was possibly over emphasizing the 'observer', while I should have placed more emphasis on the fact that the ( spatial-temporal ) observer is the source of the word, and definition, of 'change'.
The fact that time has such a large and profound effect on our consciousness, and very existence, is the reason the concept of time is ingrained in our language.
It makes discussing the absence of time a little difficult.

Edited by MigL

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MigL said:

So, we're all in agreement then ?
The problem is with our common definition of 'change' ?

I was right all along, again.
( I don't know, is that the right emoticon for a 'smug, smart-ass' ? )

Either that or we're all equally clueless. So don't be smug just yet.

Don't think for a moment I'll forget you're the one who set me on a time travel.    I think that's because you think I trashed Fermi, which is not true.  Fermi is one of my heroes. Anyway...

Let's picture maths as an old grandma who never makes a processing mistake, but is totally neutral about the input. It just doesn't even cross her mind to doubt your premises. She only gives you information correlated to whatever mistakes are intrinsic to your language. Good input --> good output; bad input --> bad output.

I think we shouldn't hurry to dismiss bad or meaningless (or perhaps, conflicting) output as totally worthless.

IOW, garbage in, garbage out, as they say. I think it was Fermat who said that maths is like a mill that gives you good or bad flour depending on the quality of the grain you put in. My suggestion is: Let's not throw away bad output (or input). Let's analyze it.

We all share the same fundamentally incurable disease: We live within a time. It is just not given to us to think outside of time. We need sequential thinking. We must do A, then B. Or perhaps B, then A. Grandma maths has no problem with that. She can handle A and B at the same time. We visit her and tell her that we've come up with something called "quantum mechanics", and she starts crunching numbers and operators. After a while she comes back with the answer. We take a look at it and it's full with "topological frustrations", and references to them, all of them around the funny "concepts",

$\frac{1}{2}\left(AB-BA\right)$

and,

$\frac{1}{2}\left(AB+BA\right)$

The commutator and the anti-commutator. Something very funny happens around these two concepts. They somehow represent the limits of our language in terms of "first A, then B". Those are the two references in trying to overcome the fundamental limitation that is inherent to our language and gives back singularities, limitations, or topological obstructions if you will, in terms of our alphabet of A and B. It is very telling to me that this fundamental splitting of the world comes in the alphabet of mathematical operations that can be understood as trying to make our operations simultaneous in the representation space of the world.

33 minutes ago, MigL said:

I was being facetious, Studiot.

I do admit that when I first brought up the subject ( Jul 28 ), I was possibly over emphasizing the 'observer', while I should have placed more emphasis on the fact that the ( spatial-temporal ) observer is the source of the word, and definition, of 'change'.
The fact that time has such a large and profound effect on our consciousness, and very existence, is the reason the concept of time is ingrained in our language.
It makes discussing the absence of time a little difficult.

+1. Maybe even impossible.

Edited by joigus

Share on other sites
4 hours ago, joigus said:

Interesting linguistic discussion. Here's a clumsy (and totally unreliable, mind you) attempt on my part at finding cognates for the concepts we're talking about.

change          difference (English)

changement différence (French)

cambio           differenza (Italian)

änderung       vëränderung (German)

cambio           diferencia (Spanish)

ändring           förändring (Swedish)

In Spanish there is "andar", which means "to walk". The green ones are probably just wrong. The red and blue ones I'm more confident that may betray semantic connections.

The green ones are correct(ish) for the German and Swedish (the root is, presumably, something like and[e]r-) but that has no connection to the Romance/English words. There the analysis should be di(s) + ferre (to carry) + an ending that indicates a noun derived from the verb (gerund maybe? my Latin knowledge is approximately zero).

Change and cambio are related and from Latin. But Latin got it from Celtic.

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Strange said:

The green ones are correct(ish) for the German and Swedish (the root is, presumably, something like and[e]r-) but that has no connection to the Romance/English words.

Yeah, you're right. Now that I think of it, not in French/Italian/Spanish. -ence, -enza, -encia are common morpheme endings, and loosely equivalent to "quality of". OTOH, änd sounds more lexical than functional, while -rung/-ring seem to be function marks, or morphemes. It's the sequence fer-enc fer-enz vër-änd för-änd (that sound so similar) that threw me off.

The -fer-/-vër/-ffer- I think you got totally right from Latin fero. As you say, "to carry".

I never thought that Romans took loan words from Latin. +1 When you think about it, it's quite natural.

Anyway, from what I gather, old Indoeuropean peoples don't seem to have been overly concerned about the difference between change in time and static differences. Or maybe some root has been lost or not identified as yet.

Edited by joigus

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Did we answer the OP question?

16 hours ago, joigus said:

Puzzingly enough, in Latin there is a very clear word for change in time, which is mutatio, and has no lexeme in common with any of the above. I'd be very interested in the Greek version from @michel123456. Although this is spilling over into other fields very quickly.

I am not a linguist & I have a limited interest in linguistics. A quick search in Greek reveals some complications. The prefix Μετα (after) indicates the notion of time. About the others I have no idea*. The Greek language is abyssal.

*correction: the prefix άλλ probably comes from άλλο (other, something else) or άλλος (the other, someone else).

Edited by michel123456

Share on other sites

As we are in the Physics section, more discussion of linguistics would be off topic. But I will quickly note that Japanese verbs "encode" time in various ways: some describe a state, others a change of state.

Now, let's see some math! 🙂

Share on other sites
18 hours ago, joigus said:

Puzzingly enough, in Latin there is a very clear word for change in time, which is mutatio, and has no lexeme in common with any of the above

To mutate / mutation.

And how about the concept of to morph? Metamorphosis?

Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Markus Hanke said:

To mutate / mutation.

And how about the concept of to morph? Metamorphosis?

Another example of change outside of time.  +1

Quote

mutatis mutandis
/m(j)uːˌtɑːtɪs muːˈtandɪs/

1. (used when comparing two or more cases or situations) making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point at issue.
"what is true of undergraduate teaching in England is equally true, mutatis mutandis, of American graduate schools"

Quote

Mutatis mutandis is a Medieval Latin phrase meaning "with things changed that should be changed" or "having changed what needs to be changed" or "once the necessary changes have been made". It remains unnaturalized in English and is therefore usually italicized in writing.

Edited by studiot

Share on other sites

Am I putting the cat among the pigeons to ask does gravity change time? Does time change with spatial distance?

Is the change related to such a change in time  time-related? (linguistics gives me the shivers)

Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, geordief said:

Am I putting the cat among the pigeons to ask does gravity change time?

Well, there is gravitational time dilation. But it would be more accurate to say that both gravity and the time dilation are the consequences of the presence of mass-energy.

45 minutes ago, geordief said:

Does time change with spatial distance?

In a gravitational field or an expanding universe, yes.

Share on other sites
21 hours ago, geordief said:

Am I putting the cat among the pigeons to ask does gravity change time? Does time change with spatial distance?

Is the change related to such a change in time  time-related? (linguistics gives me the shivers)

Time is a purely local concept; hence, when you place clocks in different spatial locations and then compare them, you will find that in general they record different readings (unless there are suitable symmetries in that region of spacetime). The ratio between their apparent tick rates is just what is known as gravitational time dilation, i.e. it's a relationship between clocks, not some change that happens to them.

Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Markus Hanke said:

Time is a purely local concept; hence, when you place clocks in different spatial locations and then compare them, you will find that in general they record different readings (unless there are suitable symmetries in that region of spacetime). The ratio between their apparent tick rates is just what is known as gravitational time dilation, i.e. it's a relationship between clocks, not some change that happens to them.

I wonder if there have been any computer simulations of how the world would appear to ,say a tennis player if all movements in the game (including perhaps  his or her internal processes) were at a relativistic  speed.

Share on other sites
1 hour ago, geordief said:

I wonder if there have been any computer simulations of how the world would appear to ,say a tennis player if all movements in the game (including perhaps  his or her internal processes) were at a relativistic  speed.

I don't mean in accurate detail. It would be ridiculous to simulate internal processes . I just  mean ,if possible to take that aspect into account

Share on other sites
On 8/6/2020 at 12:59 PM, Strange said:

Now, let's see some math! 🙂

How do you state the chronological order in math?

Create an account

Register a new account