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Monday, January 27, 2020

McTaggart Dynamic A and Static B Times

The Scottish philosopher John McTaggart described two different theories for time. His A time was a dynamic time that flowed from past to a knife edge present into an indeterminate future. McTaggart argued that this A time could not be real since the infinity of present moments was inconsistent with any past or future moments.

McTaggart then supposed a B time that was a static instead of flowing time with a series of determinate future moments that already exist like a videotape waiting to be played. Ironically, McTaggart concluded that neither theory of time was valid and so that time was therefore not actually a part of reality. Reality was, rather, timeless and changeless despite our experience and memory of change.

Emily Thomas has recent essay in Aeon discusses McTaggart theories, but she does not really say if she agreed with McTaggart. Rather, she is more interested in McTaggart’s motivation in describing time in the ways that he did.

Of course, time has many very different definitions and many different people have struggled for a long time to define time. One of the difficulties of defining time is that a definition of time necessarily occurs in the same time that the definition tries to define. However, instead of first defining time as an independent dimension, it is important to first define the nature of physical reality. Since we do experience changes in a seemingly static world of matter, it is clear that time somehow must emerge from matter changes in physical reality. Furthermore, those matter changes are causally related to each other as precursors and outcomes and changes therefore have relationships to one another from which time then emerges.

Change seems to occur as a dynamic reality not unlike A time and this dynamic change seems to likewise occur in a backdrop of a seemingly static reality of matter, much like B time. These two realities indeed seem reminiscent of McTaggart’s time definitions and so there are actually two dimensions for matter-action time. The static reality really just represents very slow changes since the universe changes only very slowly. This very slow time is then universe time and differs from the dynamic or very fast atomic time, which changes on the order of the speed of light.

This two dimensional matter-action time means that there are two kinds of changes in physical reality and the two time dimensions emerge that are not the same. Our feeling of time then emerges from changes that we remember and so those changes do not occur in time. There are very slow changes along with very fast changes and so there are two different time dimensions that emerge from the nature of physical reality.

Light exchange is the glue that holds matter together and both space and time then emerge from that light exchange. While the speed of light does not depend on the velocity of its source, light does accelerate very slowly over the very slow universe time. Quantum gravity relativity emerges from the very slow acceleration of light, which makes gravity relativity seem determinate, while quantum charge emerges from the very fast speed of light. While the very slow acceleration of light binds neutral matter with light exchange, the very fast speed of light binds charge with light exchange.

The Scottish philosopher John McTaggart described two different theories for time. His A time was a dynamic time that flowed from past to a knife edge present into an indeterminate future. McTaggart argued that this A time could not be real since the infinity of present moments was inconsistent with the past and future moments.

Mind-Body as Idealism versus Materialism

The mind-body problem is about the limits of what we can ever subjectively know with our mind about the objective nature of our body, which includes all physical reality outside of our mind's free choice. Sometimes people use the words idealism-materialism instead of mind-body and sometimes mysticism and the soul creeps into idealism as well. The mind-body question is among the many questions that people often ask that really have no unique answers and the mind-body problem is just such a question about idealism-materialism without a single unique answer, except of course free choice.

Typically, there are two kinds of answers;  a subjective idealism and an objective materialism, and idealism can include not only mind, but mysticism and soul as well outside of the physical world. However, the same subjective mind limits both idealism and materialism since what we freely choose about any objective materials outside of our mind is necessarily limited by our subjective minds. The figure below shows the mind's retina subjectively seeing a mirror reflection of that same retina that is doing the seeing. At the same moment that we see our retina, our subjective mind sees an objective retina of the body that others can see as well. However, no one will ever see exactly the same retina since their eyes and minds all see differently.

Note that people do not seem to associate morality with either the mind or the body even though there are both objective as well as subjective moralities. Thus, the world necessarily starts off for each of us with our subjective mind and it is only the narratives and images like retinas that we share with others along with the free choices that we make that show an objective reality outside of our minds.

While materialism supposes that there is an objective world of matter, like retinas, outside of the mind, idealism supposes that there are only neural matter actions in each mind's retina seeing itself despite the fact that the mind makes free choices. Furthermore, there are other minds that share narratives about the nature of reality that include retinas and free choices. Materialism further supposes that the mind’s mental states and free choice are results of material interactions of the body and so the mind is then just a product of that objective physical reality. The definition of materialism also includes the changes due to material interaction. It is after all only with the duality of both matter and action that the universe exists and so it is important to also consider action or change as a part of any physical reality.

In contrast to objective materialism, subjective idealism is the simple assumption that the mind and free choice are actually what determines the illusion of objective materialism. Idealism supposes that the subjective free choice of the mind that sees its own retina and that free choice determines the illusion of objective matter changes as a retina. Subjective idealism further argues that objective materialism is an illusion of the mind and that the subjective actions of the mind determine the only true reality. Even though the mind and free choice are made up of the action potentials of neural matter, idealism somehow still assumes that there is no objective materialism outside of the subjective mind.

Free choice is a mystery of the mind and is how minds affect matter action and while there are many different definitions of consciousness, in contrast, free choice has a simple definition. Free choice is how we make the world more desirable given a feeling that we have about a choice. Since we only perceive the objective world of retinas with the subjective mind's retina, the mystery is whether objective materialism of retinas exists outside of subjective free choice of the mind's retina or whether subjective free choice of the mind's retina is how objective materialism of retinas seems to exist.

We use knowledge of the world of objective materialism of retinas to predict likely outcomes from precursors, like seeing a retina with a retina, but knowledge has no meaning without free choice. There is a free choice of the mind's retina to see an objective retina, but without knowledge of retinas and mirrors, the image would have no meaning. The very meaning of free choice is tied to a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

Very simple organisms have likewise very simple neural networks that nevertheless also provide free choice to those organisms. The neural networks of the hydra or nematode both freely choose outcomes that depend on precursors, but those free choice outcomes are never completely predictable or determinate from those precursors. Classically, it is the chaos of random noise that limits the precision of predictions and there is no limit to the possible precision of a prediction. However, there are quantum limits to the precise prediction of all action in the universe is subject to a well-defined and discrete quantum limit.

Objective materialism predicts most likely outcomes from matter, action, and quantum phase given a set of precursors along with some random chaos. Since we can share those predictions with others, these predictions are the objective reality of materialism despite the random chaos. However, materialism still means free choice based on a set of precursors that determine feeling and so those objective materialist choices are still part of the same subjective reality of idealism.

Subjective idealism also chooses an outcome based on a set of precursors that determine feeling and that feeling is not possible to completely know. Since we choose based on feelings and feelings are unique for each person, free choice forms a subjective reality that is unique for each person. Feeling is a neural action that derives from the action of a moment of thought, a lifetime of precursor memories, and sensations of the moment. Even though we can share measurements of matter action with others, idealism still supposes that objective reality is just an illusion of our subjective reality.