I don't know much about philosophical terms or movements, so I am curious as to whether there is a movement or term for non-conditional decision making.

That isn't a formal term that I used above and I just made it up because I think it best describes what I'm going to try and describe.

Basically what I'm trying to denote by that term is the thought that time itself (In its traditional sense) doesn't exist and that, really, it is just a timeline to put change against in order to relate events. I would carry that idea on to say that, really, one may as well consider all time to exist and have existed now. The reason that I say this is because I would say that time does exist, however, I'm saying that it just doesn't pass. That is to say that really we live in the same time as people thousands of years ago, but we and our environments have just changed and so that is all that time is contingent upon. By that reasoning, everything in the future may as well happen now so long as its not contingent on change, so for example, I know that I will be using toothpaste the rest of my life to brush my teeth, but I only buy one or a few bottles of toothpaste at a time because there are some changes that will happen in the future which I know will occur. Some of those being that, after 50+ years, I would imagine that the toothpaste wouldn't work as well or will be expired, that it would be hard to lug all of that toothpaste around to wherever I live for the rest of my life, and, maybe after a while I would want a change in toothpaste flavor. For those easily predictable reasons, I don't but copious amounts of toothpaste and instead buy just one or two tubes at a time. On the other hand, many people buy a near complete lifetime supply of stamps because it economically makes sense, forever stamps at least don't expire, and they take up very little space. It is for these reasons that people but so many at once.

What I'm really asking is whether this same principle can be applied to larger or more abstract decisions or things. Also, is there a term for the time concept and the "non-conditional decision making" "term" or anything that at least closely follows it?

  • This question seems like it could use some editing... it's quite hard to read as of now...
    – virmaior
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 15:07
  • one helpful way to edit would be to not have a bunch of text in a scrollable element in the middle.
    – virmaior
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 2:31
  • Yes, sorry. I had edited it and I didn't see that it was formatted like that. It should be fixed now Commented May 16, 2016 at 2:35
  • now that I can read it... it seems to be stream-of-consciousness. Please work on the writing of your question.
    – virmaior
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 2:54

1 Answer 1


As virmaior has commented, this is a difficult question to read and includes many apparently different statements.

With regard to the first part, you ask for a term describing the view "time itself doesn't exist and that, really, is just a timeline to put change against". This is a form of relationism which views time as a measure of change. Relationism incorporates elements of realism and idealism. It is idealist in that it treats time as a merely subjective matter, with nothing in reality corresponding to it. Relationists take the view that time is simply a way we relate events to one another, but the relations are real. The relation being referred to here is the "before-after" relation.

This is the view put forward by Aristotle in response to Plato's view that equates time with change. For Aristotle, the relation between time and change is not one of identity, but rather it is the relation between the thing being measured and the means of measuring it. Here, time is not a process, it is an abstract "number" or unit that can be used to describe processes in nature, analogous to the way numbers can be used to count things. As Aristotle put it : "time is the number of change with respect to before and after". Thus, time is a subjective system which captures something real about nature without being part of nature.

The remainder of the question is difficult to address. It appears to express views contrary to the initial view of time as a measure of change. In addition, it appears to include inconsistencies. You lost me with the toothpaste versus stamp buying comparison.

  • +1 for the Aristotle quote. So time is subjective - with no change there is no time. If nothing changed between toothpaste tube acquisitions it would be as if you bought a lifetime's supply of toothpaste in one instant. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:52
  • @ChrisDegnen Yes, and think of the money you'd save on dental floss.
    – nwr
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 14:13

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