Monday, May 4, 2009

Doing away with Time?

Time is the root. Time is the riddle. Time is what keeps slipping through our embodied and conceptual fingers no matter how hard we try to grab hold of it.

No problem has perplexed philosophers, scientists and theologian more completely than the nature of time. Is it real? Does its reality extend all the way down to the very essence of existence? Is it emergent? Does it come into being only as a result of some meta-principle that is, itself, timeless. Is it an illusion created by a consciousness that evolved to parse the world in way that were advantageous to move one generation into the other. Even the words we use get us into trouble.

Many physicists believe that a deeper and perhaps more radical understanding of time will be the solution to no decades old problem of quantum gravity. A non-trivial subset of the great revolutions in physics were based in re-imagining time and its place in physical reality. To that end I provide a link to a new bloggingheads debate between the independent physicist Julian Barbour (author of the End of Time) and the philosopher Craig Callender. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Blogging Heads Time Debate