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# Aristotle view of infinite time

Wed 12 Nov, 2014 11:37 am
Aristo proved that there cannot be an infinitely large piece of matter. He did that by saying that if you cut an infinitely large matter you get two distinct parts.

At least one of the parts is infinite (or else the whole thing is finite). Take the infinite part. It has at least one edge (where the cut was). Cut a small part of it near the edge. What you have now is surely finite. What's left is surely infinite. So what's left is missing a piece and yet it is the same size of the whole thing because both are infinite. And that cannot be.

So there isn't an infinitely large matter. And that's true for anything that can be cut in a way that can create an edge.

Then Aristo said that the same thing cannot be done with time because a moment cannot be seperated from the previous one nor the next one. So time cannot be cut in a way that creates an edge (he actually gave a more formal proof). And from that concluded that time can be infinite.

He also showed some other evidence that time not only could be but actually is infinite.

My question is:

If time is infinite then infinite number of seconds had to pass before the present time could arrive. But even after a lot of seconds still infinite number of seconds would be left.

So the present would have never come. Yet it did. So time is not infinite. It can only go to infinity forward, but it has a beginning.

I have a good reason to think I'm wrong yet i can't find the mistake.

Any help?
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fresco

1
Wed 12 Nov, 2014 12:47 pm
There's more than one concept (and size) of "infinity", and "time" is acknowledged as a psychological construction which may not yield to images of "cutting"....but then Aristotle had never read Cantor or Einstein !
Frank Apisa

1
Wed 12 Nov, 2014 01:44 pm
Check out Zeno's paradox of the arrow...and extrapolate from that.

You want to be thinking of the whole...rather than that this is some sort of mid-point. Because IF
time is infinite...there is no mid-point.

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Wed 12 Nov, 2014 09:32 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Thanks Frank for the response.

Yet, after reading the arrow paradox and Aristo's response to it in wikipedia i think there is a difference just like Aristo said. The arrow paradox talks about infinitesimal instances which is something that only exists mentaly, like Aristo said and is different than saying that time has no beginning. If instances were real then the length of a second would be equal to the length of an hour, both infinity. Instances are just a limit that something can 'go towards' but never reach it. A second on the other hand is a real size.

I can imagine space having infinite number of meters, but if someone had to pass an infinite number of meters he had to walk at a speed of infinity at least some time or else he would never reach his destination (and in any given speed he walks at a rate of infinite number of infinitesimal points per second by the way, but that won't help him pass infinite number of meters).

The difference between a meter and a point is the same as the difference between a second and an instant. So if for present to arrive the past must pass then shouldn't the past have only a finite number of seconds?

Another difference is that unlike the arrow which obviously moves, time doesn't have to be infinite so nothing forces us to believe it is and just look for a justification.

And looking at it as a whole, it might be infinate like the space example, but 'now' depends on the past, so 'now' had to 'walk' through time, second after second, which is like the guy walking through space which will never walk infinitae number of meters. And because 'now' did arrive here then 'now' did not 'walk' infinate number of seconds.
PhilipOSopher

1
Thu 13 Nov, 2014 06:27 am
This is why people sometimes say that this is why the cosmological argument works, because if we didn't have God as the first cause, then we would have an infinite regression of causes with no start point. But I think that Aristotle, supporters of this objection, make the assumption that things cannot exist without a first cause which caused itself - but is there any reason to believe that this is the case? I'm not sure, maybe humans can't logically understand cause and effect - when we stick our hand out to signal a bus at a bus stop, we could think that us putting our hand out was the actual cause of the bus stopping, when actually it was the driver applying the brakes. This fallacy of composition committed by first cause advocates, I reckon, doesn't account for the fact that we can't disprove that we aren't mistaken when talking about how causes work. An infinite regress of causes could be the case, but we'd just never know because we couldn't understand it.

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Thu 13 Nov, 2014 08:32 am
@PhilipOSopher,
Aristo did not believe in creation. He believed time was eternal and earth was rotating eternally. For him god is what makes everything exists, not what created it, and believed that the first shapeleaa material is also eternal. Proving that there cannot be an endless cause-effect relations is easy and Aristo proved it. It still does not mean creation. Even if time was finite it wouldn't prove creation, it was just another strong evidence of it. And Aristo proved there aren't infinite cause and effect yet he believed that time was infinite because of the rotation movement, which can persist forever without a new cause, and repeats it self over and over again.

Anyway, that's besides the point and the queation still remains. Could there have been infinite number of seconds in the past? Aristo was sure of it and no one proved otherwise, yet it seems impossible for the present to arrive if that was the case.

P.s. I know for sure that this world was created 5774 ago, but i don't think anyone proved it and I can't prove it. The fact that there is one god is proveable and even without a proof has much more evidence than any other physical theory. But that's not this thread's topic

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carloslebaron

0
Thu 13 Nov, 2014 08:53 pm
The best way to check time as finite or infinite is to define it first.

Without going beyond the factual world, and without letting imaginations rule our thoughts, time is just a concept.

The concept of time is a measure invented by us.

Even the bible narrates the same principle of what is time. The bible tells us to use the regular motion of the celestial bodies (including earth) to settled the times for festivals, agricultural seasons, etc.

Then, this principle rules as well in every application of what is time. You just need a regular motion to be compared with the other motion or decay of objects and bodies.

So, how finite or infinite a concept or a measure can be?

Lets say longitude. We also invented the measure longitude How finite can be longitude itself in the universe? How can you find an end or a border in the universe? When you draw a circle and you try to find the "beginning and the end" of it, how to set the starting point and say that such is the beginning, or the end?

We invented time, so the "passing of seconds is just an expression", otherwise, if you think that time is something else, then show me a device with a sensor detecting the passing of seconds.

A clock is a device calibrated to a fixed functional work which is to do Tic tic tic.. The clock can't measure any passage of seconds, the clock just makes a calibrated tic tic tic.

It is on you to decide if a concept is finite or infinite.

If time is comparing the motion of bodies in the universe, what about if bodies stop moving one day?

Surely that event would be the end of the measure time, because there won't be a regular motion to use as the basic measurement of other motions.

Use your heart beat instead of a clock, and compare it with the walking of a person. Such is time, you are using the regular motion of your heart and compare it withy the person walking in front of you. You die, your clock has expired.

The end of the concept of time will be when we exist no more, because without us, the universe continues but there is no one using regular motions to be used as clocks.

Next question should be, are we (humans) finite or infinite?

1
Fri 14 Nov, 2014 03:15 am
@carloslebaron,
Thanks for the comment. But time is more than something we invent. The only thing about time we invented is the measurable units of seconds minutes hours etc (actually, for religios people it is clear that not humans invented days). But even without measuring time, time is still passing.

Take any coordinate system you want. Each event in the universe has an x,y,z,t coordinates. The manyfold of space time is not flat according to GR, so the notion of a second is not the same everywhere in the universe and even different between Thailand and Alaska.

Yet, time is a real thing.

And the question remains. Might it have no beginnig?
PhilipOSopher

1
Fri 14 Nov, 2014 04:24 am
The issue here is almost an idealist/realist one - does time exist only in our minds/for the individual/when perceived by the individual? Or is it some objective thing, applicable to all existing things which can thus be infinite? In the former case, time cannot be infinite as it will only exist when the individual does or percieves it. It would be better to look at the way in which time is a real thing before discussing whether it can be infinite or have a beginning or not.
0 Replies

Olivier5

1
Fri 14 Nov, 2014 06:50 am
Quote:
The difference between a meter and a point is the same as the difference between a second and an instant. So if for present to arrive the past must pass then shouldn't the past have only a finite number of seconds?

Not necessarily. Just because our logic cannot aprehend it, doesn't mean it cannot be... Our logic could be limitted.
Frank Apisa

1
Fri 14 Nov, 2014 06:58 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

Quote:
The difference between a meter and a point is the same as the difference between a second and an instant. So if for present to arrive the past must pass then shouldn't the past have only a finite number of seconds?

Not necessarily. Just because our logic cannot aprehend it, doesn't mean it cannot be... Our logic could be limitted.

Hope this doesn't make you reconsider what you just wrote, Olivier, but I could not agree more.

Fact is, it is probably safe to assume our logic (and the knowledge upon which our logic is based) IS limited.
0 Replies

carloslebaron

0
Fri 14 Nov, 2014 07:01 am
Quote:
Thanks for the comment. But time is more than something we invent....The manyfold of space time is not flat according to GR, so the notion of a second is not the same everywhere in the universe and even different between Thailand and Alaska.

I would like to read from you the definition of time according to GR.

According to you, time is something more than an invented concept by us, so GR must have defined time as something else.

And, of course, this definition according to GR must guide us to detect time. In case you never find a definition of time according to GR, then take for granted that everything according to GR is pure crap.
AugustineBrother

1
Tue 5 Jul, 2016 01:50 pm
Any finite part of the number line is INfinitely divisible so this seems a false problem. Do you start with the overview that is finite (if there is one) or do start with infinite divisibility.
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mark noble

1
Fri 8 Jul, 2016 08:32 am
@carloslebaron,
I agree - GR is pure crap - Just like SR.
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mark noble

1
Fri 8 Jul, 2016 08:34 am
@fresco,
Lucky for him - Reading Einstein is the easiest way of deducing bugger-all.
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