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103 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Your reasoning would be sound if you picked any random human who ever lived and checked whether they would be alive today. This chance would indeed be rather low. (Because today's world population is ...
Stephan Kolassa's user avatar
41 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards and look at the arrangement you end up with. Assuming your sorting was completely random the probability of you getting that exact arrangement is about 1 in ...
user33828's user avatar
  • 511
20 votes

Can time exist without change?

You already seem to know the scientific perspective on this, but perhaps it's still worth elaborating a bit on it. You can define a second as the amount of time that passes between two ticks of the ...
Tobias Fritz's user avatar
14 votes

Can time exist without change?

The OP asks the following questions: Does the minimum unit of time coincide with the smallest change? Does time dissolve without differences between things? Bradley Dowden surveys two perspectives, ...
Frank Hubeny's user avatar
  • 19.5k
11 votes

Infinite past with a beginning?

Aristotle said the past is infinite because, for any past time we can imagine an earlier one. Aristotle's arguments aside, this is what people mean when they speak of an infinite past: for any time x, ...
Adam Sharpe's user avatar
  • 3,864
11 votes
Accepted

Is the human mind capable of distinguishing between time running forward and time runing backward?

If time is entirely running backward, no, because our memories would be destroyed rather than created as it ran. As a consequence, in any given moment (which is all that we can actually perceive) ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 1,988
11 votes
Accepted

Can time be understood conceptually without experiencing it?

To get a really good answer you should explain what you mean by "understand", do you mean be able to construct a mathematical model and make predictions? or maybe get such an intuitive feel ...
Fox Mulder's user avatar
11 votes

Can time be understood conceptually without experiencing it?

Ill-formed question: understanding already presupposes the experience of time. Understanding essentially means making inferences with concepts (e.g. understanding how vaccines work means inferring ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
  • 7,680
9 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The first time I recall encountering this argument was in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, where the probability of what you describe is likened to “events with odds so astronomical they’re effectively ...
user137369's user avatar
8 votes

Is there such thing as the present?

I agree with Lio, i.e. you could take your reasoning the other way round: the present is actuality (everything perceivable). memory is an imprint of the past (a sound recording, a video, or an ...
fralau's user avatar
  • 861
8 votes

What is time for Bergson? And how is it different from duration?

Time, for Bergson, is not different from duration. On the contrary, Bergson's view is that time is duration. Explanation: Bergson uses the word "time" like all of us do. That is, he uses the word "...
Ram Tobolski's user avatar
  • 7,421
8 votes

Do naturalists think that only microscopic physical things exist?

The view OP is alluding to is called mereological nihilism (mereology is a branch of metaphysics that studies relations between parts and wholes). It is the view that only "simples" (...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.5k
8 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

The probability of an event X happening, GIVEN THAT IT HAS HAPPENED, is always 100%. I hear thinking like you give used in many flawed arguments. For example, I once got into a conversation with ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 293
8 votes

What is actual is a metaphysical necessity?

I suggest a distinction. If X happened - you poured a glass of water on December 13 2018 at 10.57 hrs - the truth that it happened is a necessary truth in the sense that it is impossible for that ...
Geoffrey Thomas's user avatar
  • 35.8k
8 votes
Accepted

Is reincarnation inevitable?

The scientific perspective I observe from other answers here that arguments invoking current science are acceptable. So from a scientific perspective, here are some questions: In your model, the ...
lineage's user avatar
  • 196
8 votes

Why is time, when viewed objectively, in reverse from when it's viewed subjectively?

One of the key notions of physics is that motion is relative- to say that A is moving towards B is equivalent to saying that B is moving towards A. Had you applied that notion to time, you would not ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 23.7k
7 votes
Accepted

What is the role of the a priori nature of time in intuitionism?

The quote describes what Brouwer calls the first act of intuitionism, the splitting off of discrete from the comprehensive intuition of which discrete and continuous are idealized poles. Here is ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 43.5k
7 votes
Accepted

Can we fit non-euclidean geometry into Kant's theory?

Kant wrote in his first critique: Space is not a discursive, or as one says, general concept of relations of things in general, but a pure intuition. This is simply saying we shouldn't confuse the ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
7 votes

I might have found a fundamental problem with Novikov's Self-Consistency Solution principle?

The Novikov self-consistency principle says that temporal paradoxes just do not actually happen; they have a probability of 0. Your time loop scenario would result in a paradox. So the Novikov self-...
causative's user avatar
  • 14.6k
7 votes

How could we have defined time, had matter in our universe not been atomic?

A few observations... A second is a unit of time, not time, so the definition of a second is not a definition of time any more than a kilogram is a definition of mass. The advantage of using atomic ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 23.7k
7 votes

If the past is infinite, then I couldn't have reached the present, since the countdown to my arrival would never end

"It would take an infinite time to reach this point"...reach it from where? By assuming a countdown you assume a point where the countdown begins, i.e. a beginning of time, and so your ...
Eric Smith's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What does Heidegger mean by saying that Bergson's concept of time is essentially spatial?

Bergson's thesis was not that time is space-like, but that time understood "in the common way" is space-like. Bergson argued that practical reasons cause us to regard time as space, but that strictly ...
Ram Tobolski's user avatar
  • 7,421
6 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

A couple of brief pointers on how to think about this: First, in your question you are assuming that the passage of time is an objective feature of reality. That is, in order to give a full ...
Schiphol's user avatar
  • 2,647
6 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Right now I am looking at a pair of scissors laying on my desk. What are the chances of that?!?? Think about it: that pair of scissors had to be created; the desk had to be created. The house that ...
Bram28's user avatar
  • 2,719
6 votes

Being alive today: the most improbable coincidence?

Dead or unborn people don't ask themselves : "Why am I not alive today?". By contraposition, you've got your answer: You can ask yourself the above question, it means you're alive.
Eric Duminil's user avatar
  • 1,110
6 votes

Could reality be a projection of another reality?

This is indeed a long and well-established topic in metaphysics, going back, in fact, to the dawn of Western philosophy. We typically know it as "Plato's Cave." Arguably, of course, Plato meant it ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 30.4k
6 votes
Accepted

I don't understand Parmenides's argument for why we can't think about what doesn't exist

Parmenides introduces an early version of the problem of negative existentials. In modern times, this has been construed as a problem about the relationship between reference and meaning and the ...
transitionsynthesis's user avatar
6 votes

How many dimensions does time have?

The time variable in spacetime can be rolled into the algebra like a spatial quantity but gets marked with a sign (+/-) opposite that of the spatial variables so the math will work out. This is ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
6 votes

Why is time, when viewed objectively, in reverse from when it's viewed subjectively?

I see a lot of answers with personal conjecture without reference, so I'm going to point you towards one published response to your question, that of the linguist and philosopher George Lakoff. You ...
J D's user avatar
  • 28.6k

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