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Thread: Does the present actually exist?

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    Master political analyst Dittohead not!'s Avatar
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    Does the present actually exist?

    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?
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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?
    Actually, the smallest interval of time that holds any physical meaning is the planck time (10^-43 of a second).

    But more to the point -- whether something that is inexpressible in a rational way can be said to exist. This begs the question -- is one's understanding of a thing necessary for its existence?

    I don't think so.

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    Veteran Member DebateDrone's Avatar
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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?
    Yes.

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    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    Figure out this riddle and all the secrets of the universe are yours.

    There is nothing you couldn't do.

    You would basically be a God.

  5. #5
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    It's like an object that is zero millimeters by zero millimeters by zero millimeters. Does that object actually exist?
    A point exists as a conceptual object within Euclidian geometry, in spite of having no physical dimensions.

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightSwimmer View Post
    A point exists as a conceptual object within Euclidian geometry, in spite of having no physical dimensions.
    That does not mean it actually exists as a discrete object. Arguably, an "object" is a concept, but not all concepts are objects. Since time is constantly in motion (conceptually speaking), there is arguably no present ... by the time you say "the present is right ... now," it is already gone. This seems (at first glance, at least) to invoke one of Zeno's Paradoxes, particularly the Arrow Paradox. That is, at least, my first impression.

    I have not really had to time to sit and think about these concepts since I studied the philosophy of space and time (it was a college class) in over 20 years, but they are fun ideas.
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    Established Member NeoVsMatrix's Avatar
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    Live in the moment, they say. And the moment you try to do so, the moment is gone.

    I need a moment to reflect over this.

  8. #8
    Council Member Djinn's Avatar
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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?
    It's like saying that a mathematically-perfect sphere sitting on a mathematically-perfect surface aren't actually touching, because the area of contact is "zero."

    The answer is that you're looking at things in mathematically-perfect terms, while such constructs in the physical universe are subject to physical properties and imperfections.
    Last edited by Djinn; 22nd February 2017 at 11:17 AM.
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    Anarquistador StanStill's Avatar
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    But existence only happens in the present. Does existence exist?
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    Moderator jacobfitcher's Avatar
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    The present is in the past

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