Friday, 3 February 2017

Time And Motion

Is time a fourth dimension that might be traversed by immaterial consciousnesses and/or by material "time machines"?

We discussed relevant fiction by Wells, Blish and Anderson under the sub-heading "Means of Time Travel" in "Time Travel and Poul Anderson," here. More recently, we have discussed relevant fiction by Alan Moore in:

Walking Back
The Road Ahead
Conceptual Issues
Two Accounts
Wells, Blish And Moore
Moving Through Time? 

- and in other recent posts.

Certain ways of thinking about time seem to be embedded in consciousness even though they do not stand up to closer analysis. I hope that readers of Poul Anderson Appreciation will also read some of the relevant posts on the Personal and Literary Reflections blog.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I think some consideration should be given as well to the merely practical difficulties of HOW physics, mathematics, and engineering combine to PHYSICALLY make time traveling machines. it's mind boggling to think of how DIFFICULT that must be.

What are some of these ways of thinking about time that you don't think stands up to close analysis?


Paul Shackley said...

People will say that we move through time at 60 seconds per minute but motion needs two sets of units, eg, a 6 foot man does not move up from the ground at 12 inches per foot. JW Dunne, HG Wells, James Blish and Alan Moore all say that our bodies extend along time whereas our minds move along it. This is a questionable mind-body dualism. Wells contradicts this by saying that the Time Traveler and his Machine accelerate along time. If everything moves along the 4th dimension, then there is nothing for it move in relation to and that motion would take time so the 4th dimension would not be time. The Time Machine would leave everything else behind, not find them waiting for it. People think of different times as coexisting places so that a time traveler who spent half an hour in the 19th century would have to return to the 21st century half an hour after his departure. There is more but it is in the linked posts.