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Why are there sixty seconds in one minute and sixty minutes in one hour, but sixty hours do not equal one day?

closed as off-topic by Mauro ALLEGRANZA, Eliran, Not_Here, christo183, Swami Vishwananda Nov 11 '18 at 4:32

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  • "While this question may be related to philosophy or occur in a philosophical context, the question itself doesn't seem to be about philosophy, and is therefore not a good fit for our site." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA, Eliran, Not_Here, christo183, Swami Vishwananda
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  • See Scientific American. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Nov 10 '18 at 19:23
  • There may be an historical explanation for this that might have philosophic interest. Welcome to this SE! – Frank Hubeny Nov 10 '18 at 19:47
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    12 is strictly related to 60. See A Brief History of Time Measurement : "There are various theories about how the 24 hour day developed. The fact that the day was divided into 12 hours might be because 12 is a factor of 60, and both the Babylonian and Egyptian civilisations recognised a zodiac cycle of 12 constellations. On the other hand, finger-counting with base 12 was a possibility. The fingers each have 3 joints, and so counting on the joints gives one 'full hand' of 12." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Nov 10 '18 at 20:25
  • I made an edit to hopefully clarify the question. You may roll this back or continue editing. Again, welcome! – Frank Hubeny Nov 10 '18 at 22:03
  • This question has absolutely nothing to do with philosophy. It is an interesting question but it does not belong on this specific SE site. – Not_Here Nov 10 '18 at 22:21
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Alan Longstaff provides an explanation for why minutes and hours are divided into sixty parts:

When the hour was divided into 60 minutes, consisting of 60 seconds, the number 60 was probably chosen for its mathematical convenience. It is divisible by a large number of smaller numbers without a remainder: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30.

He offers this explanation for why there are twenty-four parts in a day:

The Ancient Egyptians were the first to use 24 hours to divide the day. They divided the day into 12 hours from sunrise to sunset, and the night into a further 12 hours from sunset to sunrise.

The question, however, asks why are there not sixty hours in a day. Based on the Longstaff's information former astronomers made choices. Their successors followed those choices teaching them to the next generator. We are most recent in that tradition.


Longstaff A, "Why 12 months in a year, seven days in a week or 60 minutes in an hour?", Royal Museums Greenwich https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/why-12-months-year-seven-days-week-or-60-minutes-hour

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