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Conjugating Motion

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Our conception of time changed from the lofty absolute coordinate of the classical paradigm to merely a connection between local reference frames, thanks to the Special Theory of Relativity, a connection that depends on knowing the relative velocity between frames, and that entails knowing local velocities. We measure local velocities using a clock that cannot give us precise time because knowing time depends solely on knowing the process that we use to generate time. In the case of both macroscopic and microscopic clocks, an intrinsic uncertainty blocks us from knowing both the dynamic and static states of the variables involved. By focusing on the conceptual process that we use to describe physical systems, we can approach a common epistemology of both microscopic and macroscopic dynamical systems. We find that both systems of description require that we inser t time implicitly into the formalism to account for the conservation of identity through our own psychological experience of time. Although we cannot define exactly the nature of the conserved identity, we can describe its evolution with pairs of conjugate variables, one tracking the static state and one the dynamic state. Uncertainty extends from our conceiving system into our descriptive theories. An epistemology that emphasizes the balance between the conjugate variables as they serve to describe the evolution of the identity provides a common ground on which to discuss both the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics and the bounded randomness of a deterministic macroscopic system. We have seen time go from a global to a local phenomenon, and perhaps now we must allow time to become an epiphenomenon even at the local level, one that we ourselves insert to account for the continuity of our own conscious experience.


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