Re: Russell's book

From: Russell Standish <>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:52:54 +1000

On Wed, Sep 13, 2006 at 02:56:30PM -0000, David Nyman wrote:
> Russell Standish wrote:
> > If you can demonstrate this as a theorem, or even as a moderately
> > convincing argument why this should be so, I'd be most grateful for a
> > presentation. I'm all for eliminating unnecessary hypotheses.
> 'Fraid I don't have a theorem! However, as to 'moderately convincing
> arguments', I think the problem with thinking coherently about temporal
> experience seems to be with mentally flip-flopping between structural
> and implicitly dynamic mental models of 'time'. I had an exchange with
> Barbour about this because I was convinced that he just introduced
> 'time' back into his static Platonia by what I called 'sleight of
> intuition' - i.e. the implicit temporality of our language. He didn't
> disagree, but just felt he wanted to de-emphasise this aspect within
> his project of taking the static function maximally seriously.
> However, I'm not so certain about the intuition now. It seems plausible
> that the content of 1st-person experience is represented structurally
> within time capsules - including those aspects that would appear as 'in
> relation to' the content of other capsules. This by itself would yield
> a 'picture' of time from the pov of any capsule (i.e. 'time' as
> information, and particularly as defined by information 'horizons') if
> only we could account for the experience of dynamism. Here I'm much
> less clear, but I have a sort of 'intuition pump'. It seems to me that
> we must consider who or what is the 'experiencer'. For dynamism one
> needs contrast, and such contrast is to be found between the 0-person
> 'pov' of the multiverse and individual 1st-person capsules. So if the
> multiverse is the experiencer, the dynamism of time may emerge simply
> from the global/ local contrast of its 0-person/ 1st-person povs.
> Clear as mud.
> David

If you note in sect. 9.2 of my book, I am quite clear that time must
emerge from a timeless underlying reality somehow - whether by Barbour's
time capsules, or by some completely different mechanism, I don't think
is all that pertinent.

That the experience of time is necessarily experienced by all conscious
points of view is to my knowledge not even addressed by other
philosophers. Even Bruno seems to skirt the issue, although there is
an appearance of temporality with the S4Grz logic.

So I've simply made a conjecture that experience of time is necessary
for consciousness, and tried to dilute the strength of that conjecture
as far as possible.

Hopefully some bright spark will either prove the conjecture (in some
form), or even more interestingly disprove it. But I won't hold my


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A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
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Received on Thu Sep 14 2006 - 04:10:44 PDT

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