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On the Physical Nature of Time

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It is argued that certain characteristics of time, normally ascribed to the observer, are actually properties of the natural world, and hence the natural world (physical reality) is more complex than normally supposed.

Everything extends in time. Events stretch away into the recent past as recalled in our memories and recorded in daily newspapers, and into the distant past as recounted by historians, paleontologists, and geologists. Events also stretch away into the near future as anticipated in our plans and foretold by weather forecasters, and into the distant future as predicted by climatologists, geologists, and astronomers. Everything also occurs in time. Events happen either quickly or slowly. The glacier takes centuries to reach the sea and the lightning stroke zig-zags to earth faster than the eye can see. Events occupy time and also occur in time; and their occupation and occurrence in time are not the same thing. The extension of time and the transience of time are different aspects of time that in thought, language, and science remain unreconciled.

Here I discuss how these two fundamental aspects of time can be reconciled and included in the physical world description. I take the view that both are equally important properties of the natural world and speculate on how the physical world picture would change by their joint incorporation. A theory of "conjugate time" is tentatively proposed.


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