1

Does it make sense to say that change is just what is changing? If so, which philosopher or philosophers have claimed it?

If no-one goes as far as to say so, then what could change be in addition to what is changing, and how could those alternatives be ruled out?

I'm asking because if "now" is a changing indivisible instant then its changes would also be indivisible, which would surely complicate Zeno's paradoxes of movement.

The concept of an indivisible is closely allied to, but to be distinguished from, that of an infinitesimal. An indivisible is, by definition, something that cannot be divided, which is usually understood to mean that it has no proper parts.

  • 1
    can i have some feedback on the downvote. it's an exploratory question, like many others that have been asked by many others. i don't see any mistake, or how i can find the answer with further research, or any lack of clarity – user35983 Dec 26 '18 at 12:09
  • What does it mean "is s changing indivisible instant" ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 26 '18 at 12:12
  • which word don't you understand? do i need to find someone who says that "now" is indivisible :) ? @MauroALLEGRANZA – user35983 Dec 26 '18 at 12:13
  • 1
    See e.g. Change, Cause, Time, Motion : "The thesis that time could pass without change in anything at all has proved controversial, and we have adopted the usage that change in a thing implies the passage of time." Thus, it seems that we "perceive" change comparing the state of something in two different instants of time. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 26 '18 at 12:16
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA are you suggesting that means change is what is changing? if so, i'm a little unsure that you are right! – user35983 Dec 26 '18 at 12:22
2

No, it doesn’t seem to make sense to say that change is just what is changing. One way to see this, is that if change were just what is changing, there could be only one change per thing. Nothing could have changed more than once. Because, suppose a thing Th1 changed twice, the changes being Ch1 and Ch2. But

change is just what is changing, and therefore

Ch1 = Th1

but also: change is just what is changing, and therefore

Ch2 = Th1

and from the transitivity of identity, we get

Ch1 = Ch2

In other words, all changes for a given thing are identical. So, a given thing can have only one change, that is to change only once.

| improve this answer | |
  • is there a word for that -- things only changing once? – user35983 Dec 29 '18 at 12:59
  • 1
    @confused good question – Ram Tobolski Dec 29 '18 at 15:38
  • 1
    @confused Somehow this reminded me Aquinas's God, whose essence is his existence, which is an act of being, and Hegel's Spirit, whose nature is "to be this absolute liveliness, this process... being itself only as it comes to itself as such a product of itself; its actuality being merely that it has made itself into what it is". You can probably even get out of Ram's reductio by denying that a changing thing can be identical to itself, or anything else, as it is everchanging and is the change itself. But many question that Hegel makes sense on this. – Conifold Dec 30 '18 at 10:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy