Has anyone claimed that if time were infinitely divisible then events would not be mind dependent? Obviously, Zeno says something like this, but presumably has been refuted anyway.

Can't find anyone else, nor pin down why I might suspect that in any way at all.

  • 1
    A mathematical argument you may want to include into the body of the question: The probability of a point (i.e. infinitesimally small/short) event in a continuous probability distribution is defined as being zero. This means that given infinite divisibility, one could argue that at each single point in time the probability of anything is zero, i.e. nothing exists. The obvious weakness of this argument is that as soon as the qualifier "only what persists through (several points in) time, exists" is added - and this is very reasonable - existence is very much compatible with it.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:06
  • @PhilipKlöcking thanks for the comment, probably won't edit it in. it reminds me a little of vasabhandu's, buddhist (which i kinda know a lot more about), argument about partless parts etc., for idealism. for now, anyway
    – user25714
    Jul 31, 2017 at 9:10
  • Yes, I use this argument. A true continuum has no parts therefore is not extended. Time would be conceptual and so would be all events. More or less Kant's view with a tweak. For a longer discussion you could try Hermann Weyl's 'The Continuum'. This would be the Buddhist view of time and space. I believe this is what Zeno was trying to show, that our usual idea of time is naive and incoherent. .
    – user20253
    Jul 31, 2017 at 10:45
  • Zeno's paradoxes attempt to illustrate that infinitely divisible time and space lead to movement being impossible, idk if that fits your criteria of "not real". Either way, calculus, specifically the study of infinite series, resolves his paradoxes, e.g. The geometric series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... converges absolutely to 1.
    – Not_Here
    Jul 31, 2017 at 12:07
  • @Not_Here Which has what to do with motion in the physical world? Nothing at all. Do you not understand the distinction between physics and math? In physics, at some point 1/n becomes indistinguishable from 0 by any physical measurement.
    – user4894
    Jul 31, 2017 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


If time as we (or any mechanism we construct) can observe it were infinitely divisible, the uncertainty of the energy of an object would always have to be infinite, because we would be able to observe the particle basically frozen in time.

But we have Heisenberg's inequality. The only way to make delta E times delta t exceed h-bar over 2, if delta t can be arbitrarily small, is for delta E to be arbitrarily large.

I am not sure that makes anything 'mind-dependent', but it does mean that physical reality would not really cohere if we had this power. So if it were really possible, everything we observe would have to be an illusion of some sort.

(But I do think we already had that result from Zeno, and from Kant's Atomicity Antinomy paraphrased by @PhilipKlocking in the first comment. You appear to disagree. So I am not altogether sure I understand the question.)


Phenomonology indicates I only really have access to the Present and it is from within this present that I remember my Past and consider my Future.

I have to adopt the 3rd person, scientific approach to the world to even accept time as divisible into intervals - just as space can be divided.

Returning to the above (first person) I - where my mind occurs: there is no sense in which my Time (= my Present) can be "infinitely divisible" - accepting the unity of ezperience.

Half an answer I suppose.

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