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Thread: Does the present actually exist?

  1. #61
    Veteran Member cpicturetaker12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splansing View Post
    actually, i'd go one step further with that one. If a tree falls in the forest, but there is no one there to hear it, is there a forest?
    funny!

  2. #62
    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingrat View Post
    I don't think I'd go as far as that.

    The original question was whether one can logically define the present as a discrete instant. If one were to designate a specific time in the past as t0, then the present, tx is defined as that time x seconds away from t0. The significance of the present tx is central to our notion of causation --- that a cause precedes an effect. We therefore think of an instant as a discrete, dimensionless point on a time line (a time interval equal to zero) for this reason.

    It is true, however that a dimensionless point representing time is meaningless (as demonstrated by the thought experiment schrodinger's cat). As I have already stated, the smallest interval of time that has any physical meaning is the planck time, approximately 5.39X10^-44 second.
    and the present moment doesn't even have the dimension of planck time, and therefore is meaningless.

    The past and future are the only time constructs that have dimension, and therefore exist. But do they? The future hasn't happened yet, by definition. There is no guarantee that it will exist, so therefore may not exist either. That leaves the past.

  3. #63
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Does the present actually exist?

    I just saw it! There it is!

    No, wait...

    Never mind.

  4. #64
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    But seriously... Our senses never experience "the present", since there is inherent lag in processing the signals generated by our sensory organs. What we observe is always an image, sound or smell of the very recent past.
    Thanks from Dittohead not!

  5. #65
    Sally Sitter Paris's Avatar
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    Our senses always experience the present. The inherent lag comes from consciousness, or what we imagine the present to be.

  6. #66
    Bizarroland Observer Thx1138's Avatar
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    Thx

  7. #67
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paris View Post
    Our senses always experience the present. The inherent lag comes from consciousness, or what we imagine the present to be.
    So then, in your opinion, the present doesn't exist until after it has been observed?

  8. #68
    Sally Sitter Paris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightSwimmer View Post
    So then, in your opinion, the present doesn't exist until after it has been observed?
    Actually, that seems to be your opinion, not mine.

  9. #69
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paris View Post
    Actually, that seems to be your opinion, not mine.
    Oh. If I've misunderstood your meaning, then feel free to elaborate.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    Anything that happened, even a picosecond or less ago, is in the past. What is a picosecond (or less) from now, is future. The present has no dimension in time. The duration of the present is exactly zero.

    So, if it has no dimension in time, does it actually exist? How can something that has no duration at all be said to be real? It's like an object that is zero millimeters by zero millimeters by zero millimeters. Does that object actually exist?

    You saw Arrival, didn't you?

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