Is the Present an Illusion? (01:23)
Alok Jha asks physicist Julian Barbour, philosophy lecturer Joseph Diekemper, and novelist Joanna Kavenna what time is, how is it defined, and is the present special? The three panelists will have four minutes for presentation before debating three topics.
Julian Barbour: The Pitch (04:07)
Barbour asserts every person feels real but there are infinitely possible nows according to physics, and every now exists as reality but they are all different and special. He uses two triangles to explain time's relation to quantum gravity. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz says time is the succession of coexisting instances as one moment follows another.
Joseph Diekemper: The Pitch (03:09)
Diekemper's view of the dynamic world shapes his experience of time passage; it is evasive and fundamental to human experience. There are two ways the see time—it all exists in the present or that the past exists but the future does not.
Joanna Kavenna: The Pitch (03:31)
Kavenna disagrees with Diekemper's assertion that time is illusory; time, has no fixed value but has been broken down through industrialization and mechanization. Citing Henri Bergson, Paul Valery, and Charles Dickens, Kavenna concludes time is an empirical reality.
Is the Present Special? (10:52)
Diekemper and Kavenna grapple over whether thoughts bring about the future reality for an individual. Kavenna discusses how she must create a chronological example of time when writing a novel.
Why do we Experience the Present as Special? (13:27)
Kavenna and Barbour argue over the Nietzschean idea of the “eternal return” to past moments which somewhat opposes the multi-nows. Diekemper argues that if every now is special, then no present is special.
Will Science of Philosophy Help us Understand Time? (09:35)
Time lies in the space between philosophy and science; scientific and philosophical research should work together to resolve an understanding of the nature of time. Barbour discusses the Second Law of Thermodynamics but says his life motto is Carpe Diem.
Credits: The Dance of Time (00:22)
Credits: The Dance of Time
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