Time flies – but how quick(ly)?

Many have puzzled over the speed at which time passes – and, in search of a concrete definition, some philosophers have come to the conclusion that it flows at a rate of ‘one second per second’.
Not everyone is entirely happy with that seemingly simple explanation however. Take for example Bradford Skow (Associate Professor without tenure at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Professor Skow reminds us of the assertion that “… nothing can happen at a rate of one second per second.“ and explains – “The argument for this conclusion makes no assumptions about what the flow of time consists in. Here is the argument: one second per second is one second divided by one second, and one second divided by one second is the number one. But the number one is not a rate, so is certainly not the rate at which anything (the flow of time included) happens.”

The professor thus examines four basic premises :
(Premise 1) If time passes, it passes at a rate of 1 second per second.
(Premise 2) 1 second per second is 1 second divided by 1 second.
(Premise 3) 1 second divided by 1 second is 1.
(Premise 4) The number 1 is not a rate.

Due to the subject’s inherent complexities, it’s perhaps advisable that those interested in the philosophy time-passage should read the professor’s entire paper on the subject in order to attempt a full grasp of its subtleties – one simple phrase, however, does stand out.

“… one second per second is not one second divided by one second.”

The paper is scheduled for future publication in the journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research






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