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A New Refutation of Time (1947) [pdf] (gwern.net)
22 points by gwern 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments



There is no refutation in this piece. Borges stated that he would use Leibniz's Theory of Indiscernibles, which holds that objects cannot differ in name alone, but then never mentions Leibniz again. I feel this piece is often given to philosophy students to find out who is really BSing in class or who has really understood the essay form where you state your thesis and then defend it. Thank you OP for reminding me of the days of my youth.


Philosophy of time is interesting but hard to follow subject.

My current interest was ignited by quantum cosmology that leads to the decoherent histories approach to quantum mechanics where history of a system can be described as additive sum of all possible histories.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-consistent-histories/


There was a vogue in the first half of the last century for writing speculative things involving time, generally with little physical basis. I think it was a new idea in those years to theorize and think formally about time. It's less compelling to us now. We think we understand it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unreality_of_Time https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Experiment_with_Time


> "... this approach resolves all the well-known quantum paradoxes of quantum foundations. In particular, quantum mechanics is local and consistent with special relativity."

This is a very strange thing to say if you are familiar with the Dirac equation, or quantum field theories. The unification of those laws gives us all the beauty and extreme-predictability of modern particle physics. I'd say they are pretty consistent already.


Time seems to me beyond our comprehension beyond the most trivial intuitive level; defined as numbers, a fourth dimension or recursively by some itself timy concept will not do. But claiming that does not exist has to employ some paradigm outside our normal concept of it, perhaps something purely literary?

Anyhow, bookmarked and saved for a rainy day, thanks!


What a load of nonsense. If time did not exist, then change would be impossible. If you remove time, you would have to claim things like "I am standing and I am not standing" which is a contradiction.


You did not read the whole text. The author affirms that time is a river, and that he is this river. Moreover, the text is written poorly on purpose to mask people like you. He mentions that his argument is based on Berkeley and Leibniz, and mentions Leibniz only once. I laughed at this genius joke of his affirming Leibniz's indiscernibles. There should be a hacker news where people who do not read what is linked are banned permanently.




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