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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 ...
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43 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 ...
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  • 531
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 ...
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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, ...
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13 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, ...
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  • 3,759
12 votes
Accepted

What is the Anti-Realist and Constructionist interpretation of empirical dating methods and existence of the past?

Dummett, the founder of modern analytic anti-realism, emphasizes that unlike realism, anti-realism is not a unified doctrine, one can be an anti-realist about some specific domain (mathematics, ...
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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) ...
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  • 1,107
11 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 4,824
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 ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Is the B-theory of time compatible with libertarian free will?

First, B theory is a semantic theory about the proper way to refer to events in time, not a metaphysical theory about past and future events. The view that past and future events are real is called ...
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8 votes
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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 ...
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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" (...
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  • 41k
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 ...
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  • 259
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 ...
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  • 34.7k
8 votes
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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 ...
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  • 196
7 votes

Time and space – a subject of metaphysics?

Space and time are distinct concepts. The fact that relativity makes of time the fourth dimension doesn't mean that space and time are not treated distinctly, as you observe yourself. The metric of ...
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7 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 "...
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  • 7,201
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 ...
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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-...
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  • 7,025
6 votes
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What ethical problems might be involved in time travel?

Time travel and moral dilemmas are a common pairing in science fiction because they can take things so seriously. One of the difficulties with exploring implications of moral codes is that they ...
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  • 17.3k
6 votes

Is the B-theory of time compatible with libertarian free will?

I think you're conflating a few things that are often conflated to reach your conclusion. I'll do my best to sort out what I think needs to happen: B-theory = past, present, future are identically ...
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  • 24.3k
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 ...
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  • 7,201
6 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 ...
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  • 821
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 ...
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  • 2,607
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 ...
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  • 2,669
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.
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  • 1,081
6 votes
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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 ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How should we understand the oracle's dilemma in making a prediction?

In the example, the oracle is part of the universe, that is, she plays your role (1). There are then two options: She is governed by the same deterministic laws as the rest of the universe. She is ...
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