Philosophic Noodling (was Re: Internet Health)

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Tue Oct 5 23:02:46 MDT 2010


On Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 8:53 PM, Daniel C. <dcrookston at gmail.com> wrote:
> There are several real things (temperature, possibly time) which do
> not "actually exist" but can be measured in aggregate.

If we're going to go off on this tangent...

Although you're correct that temperature is only a meaningful
measurement in aggregate (i.e. a large number of molecules), time is a
fundamentally different thing.  To modern physics, the dimension of
time is just as real and fundamental as the dimensions of space,
though some philosophers have denied all of them "reality".  Although
classical physics considered time to pass at a constant rate, we now
know that, like other physical properties, it is actually relative to
the observer's inertial plane.  The relativity of time doesn't render
it any less objective, though.  One can reliably translate an object's
physical properties between frames of reference if enough information
is known.

In any case, time doesn't become "real" through aggregate measurement
in the same way that temperature does.

        --Levi


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