The weblog companion to www.arte-fact.org dedicated to phenomenology
19 March 2014
Elimination of time
It is very consistent on the part of those who believe absolutely in mathematics to eliminate time from the equations of motion to produce a so-called ‘block theory’ of the universe. However, does a mathematical trick to eliminate the variable, t, — as numerous physicists and philosophers of science (such as Julian Barbour, Huw Price et al.) propose — amount to convincingly eliminating the phenomenon of time as an illusion?
Or is it the other way round: Is the mathematical conception of time as real, linear variable a tendentious crudity made for the sake of calculating movement and change of all kinds? If the latter, then it is mathematics that is delusional about the phenomenon of time we all experience with every move we and anything else makes.
In my view, modern science and its appendant analytic philosophy are driven by an absolute will to efficient power over movement and change.
The now long-held absolute belief in mathematics as THE key to the secrets of the universe (cf. e.g. the Big Bang theory and the Large Hadron Collider) makes modern science blind. Against the foil of the recent publication of Heidegger's Black Notebooks and the outpourings of vitriol it has occasioned (see my blog entry: Heidegger Back in Black), I find it ironic that this absolute belief allows a founding forefather of analytic philosophy, Gottlob Frege, to pass as a great and creative thinker in the area of mathematical logic (which he doubtless was) without the least qualms with regard to his reactionary political views and deep anti-Semitism. It was Frege who introduced formalism to the foundations of mathematics, which amounts to asserting that logic and mathematics can be conceived as purely analytic truths, independently of any reference to intuitions of phenomena in the world, in particular, to the phenomenon of TIME.
It seems to me that philosophers of all ilks today are still incapable and unwilling to fathom the momentousness of mathematized linear time, including its elimination as a mere real variable in a set of equations.