Friday, April 13, 2007


There are two distinct views on the meaning of time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence, and time itself is something that can be measured. This is the realist's view, to which Sir Isaac Newton subscribed.

A contrasting view is that time is part of the fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which we sequence events, quantify the duration of events and the intervals between them, and compare the motions of objects. In this view, time does not refer to any kind of entity that "flows", that objects "move through", or that is a "container" for events. This view is in the tradition of Gottfried Leibniz and Immanuel Kant, in which time, rather than being an objective thing to be measured, is part of the mental measuring system.

The question, perhaps overly simplified and allowing for no middle ground, is thus: is time a "real thing" that is "all around us", or is it nothing more than a way of speaking about and measuring events?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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