Thursday, July 01, 2010
Dutch documentary (in English) on Julian Barbour and his ideas on time.

I liked the point that, between Special Relativity and the quantum mechanical model of time, Special Relativity's is probably right (quantum mechanics adopts the classical, or Newtonian, assumption of universal time), which means time is one's ownmost. The space-times of our bodies (our locations) are unique for each of us.
I've become the past years, more convinced that SR doesn't really offer enough in this regard. (See some of the debates over Presentism and Four Dimensionalism relative to SR) GR offers much more although as Einstein himself noted didn't go quite far enough to achieve what Leibniz was after.

I should add that I really think QM's tendency to adopt an absolute time is likely wrong, even though that's the popular position to adopt at the moment. (Due to the typical formulation in string theory I suspect - although of course Smolin is trying to go the other direction and has a justly well regarding paper about background independence up at arXiv. It's very philosophical and does a pretty great job on the history too.
SR (Special Relativity, not Speculative Realism; you Kantians in the back, calm down now) is special historically, because it took into account and explained the, at the time, mind boggling consequences of the Michelson-Morley experiments - the speed of light is constant to the observer.

GR is a bigger deal, but its importance appears to have eluded Heidegger. I think that in every case where he refers to "Einstein's theory of relativity", his remarks only pertain to SR. Like I said elsewhere, Heidegger didn't question spatiality radically enough.
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