starlady: (moon dream)
I wrote the following for a course in philosophical theology in November 2006. I should mention at the outset that the paper is a fairly direct attempt to explain the actual physics of time as they are currently understood to my professor, who is a wonderful man and a brilliant philosopher but a very poor physicist (not that I can make any claims to being anything more than an educated layperson in that field). Consequently I wound up talking about Harry Potter and the books of Gene Wolfe in an attempt to illustrate my points comprehensibly. I still enjoy this essay, and I hope readers will too--the suspiciously broad generalizations stop right after the cut, I promise.

In Search of Time, Lost and Otherwise

Before the modern era there was no distinction between science and philosophy; someone who might today be labeled a scientist would have called him or herself, at most, a “natural philosopher.” Thinkers such as Aristotle and Hypatia discussed the nature and composition of the cosmos as readily as they did morality, ethics and the good life. It was not until the modern scientific revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that science and philosophy parted ways, but today the disjunction between them is nearly as profound as that between science and religion.

This state of affairs is unfortunate on a number of levels. Both science and philosophy are engaged in explaining the nature of existence, but the insights of each field are lost on the other. Nowhere are the pernicious consequences of this situation more evident than in the study of time.

Time is the one thing you do not have. )

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