“Killing Time”

Here’s a link to a rather compelling documentary(can’t get it to embed properly for some reason) about physicist Julian Barbour, who suggests time doesn’t exist in his book The end of Time.   He’s also rather interested in some of Leibniz’s ideas.  Papers available on his website.  Check it out…

9 thoughts on ““Killing Time”

  1. I was about to post on this guy as well – did you read his interview in Collapse V? I really don’t understand much of what he is talking about, but there’s a cool paper on Leibniz on his website and I think he’s generally talking some cool stuff, although I’m a bit suspicion about the whole “I wanted to stay out of the academy to be able to freely pursue my interests” story, sounds fishy, but he does read Russian, so it’s a huge plus.

    PS. I personally think that the documentary is a bit dull, I think maybe for “common folk” it is a fascinating idea, but as Barbour points out, Huygens and Leibniz were already talking about it, and Kant pretty much said what Barbour is saying only without the certainty of what the world really is like – plus his examples from quantum physics, I mean the only thing that is provocative here and the statement “Time doesn’t exist” which should probably be something like “Time as we generally think of it doesn’t exist”…

  2. No, hadn’t seen Collapse V just yet, I will look for the interview with Barbour when I get around to getting a hold of it.

    And, I’m curious, what’s this new avatar of yours? Self-portrait? It’s very Tom Hanks in that annoying Fed Ex commericial/movie….

  3. Yes, I have decided that I am now famous enough (even if as an obscure blogger) to finally show my bearded face to the general public, it’s kind of gotten out of control lately but hey the people deserve to know what their idols look like, don’t you think?

  4. Well, then I’m common folk, that’s fine with me. Perhaps you are right re: the dullness of the claim “time doesn’t exist,” but I think what’s so compelling is the context of the claim (e.g. couched in the field of physics, discussing broadly the ideas of Leibniz et al, the punctiform nature of “time”–all subsumed under a notion that the quantum universe is static).

    And really, Mikhail, enough already, who gives a fuck about what Kant said or didn’t say? So gauche.


  5. I know, I should really stop with this Kant fellow, he was clearly wrong basically about everything so I think the best thing is just to bypass him altogether and go back to the good old metaphysical times of the past so that we can freely roam in the speculative fields of objects and their relations, making things up as we go along, building entire philosophical systems on the basis of the etymology of the word “object” and maybe even invent new words like – I overheard this one at a coffee shop and I like it – “insinuando” (as in “insinuating innuendo”) or “objectile” (wait, I think this is a real word) – I think we should have a good old fashioned book burning party soon, I’ll bring my Kant, you’ll bring your Levinas and we’ll have some budweisers like in back in the day…

  6. Yay. Book burning party. Can I also bring Husserl? And you know how I love new words. How about “Stuplexity?” As in, complex forms of stupidity, or, stupid forms of complexity…

    By the way, I have to tell you that your new avatar is rather creeping me out…(I’ll get used to it-hopefully).

  7. It kind of sucks that it replaced the old one retrospectively, but now you know what it’s like for me to look in the mirror… I’m afraid people will start recognizing me on the street, you know, due to the enormous popularity of our blog and all, but what are you going to do? it’s the price of being an obscure celebrity – maybe now I can start blogging about my day to day life with all of its unnecessary details and trivia, to keep the public frenzy around my bearded persona and to try to inspire the younger generation?

    What about “stuplicity” as in “complicity of the stupid”?

  8. Pingback: Before “Our” Time « Planomenology

  9. Julian Barbour spent his whole life on thinking that time is nothing then saying that past future all exist. Well that is time I guess in a block universe.
    For me the oppositte is true. Present is real and past is just memory and future does not exist. Time is just motion and forces. For more on this visit timephysics.com.

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