philip1201 wrote:Is this testable? If yes, can you explain what it means? If no, can you explain why your statement is more valuable than a couple of meta-physics buzzwords strewn together by a herd of manatees?
From what I understand, it's a very vague description of the Feynmann sum over histories (testable, verified) with a lot of wrong (unscientific) terminology, perhaps incorporating the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (untestable as of yet).
I can explain what it means. I'm not certain if it's testable, but it's not aiming to be a scientific theory of time, it's a philosophical concept of time on the same level of abstraction as eternalism or presentism. And it is incorporating not the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics per se, but the more general philosophical analogue of modal realism, although as I am a necessitarian physicalist (i.e. I take physicalism to be necessarily true) I take the only logically possible worlds to be physically possible worlds, and so the many worlds of quantum mechanics should correspond exactly to the many worlds of modal realism.
The thought stemmed from thinking about modal realism, which is the position that every possible world is just as real as the actual world; 'actual' is just indexical, like 'here' or 'now'. That got me to thinking that debates about modal realism are highly analogous to debates about the nature of time, particularly presentism vs eternalism; is only the present "real", or are all times, past and future, equally real, and "present" is just indexical, meaning "this time"? I realized that a much more acceptable way to affirm modal realism would be to say "other possible worlds are exactly as real as other times"; I mean, Julius Caesar doesn't exist, now
, but in another time he did; and the Roman Empire didn't colonize North America, actually
, but in another possible world they did. That got me to thinking, further, what real difference is there between another possible world and another time? Except that modal realism generally defines a world such that it includes all of its space and time, but perhaps a simplifying way to think of it would just be thus: a possible world is just a (instantaneous) possible configuration of the universe, a frozen picture of a way matter and energy could be arranged.
With that concept of a possible world, we can say that other times just are
other possible worlds, which bear a particular relation to this one, namely of being past or present states of it. Which then raises the question of how do we define a past or present state. Entropy provides a nice convenient arrow of time (and I can go into more detail of my thoughts on why we perceive
time with the directionality we do, and thus define the arrow of time that way, but I'm in a hurry now so I won't just yet). So let us call a possible world a future world if it is adjacent to the actual, present world in the phase-space of all possible worlds, i.e. it differs from this one as minimally as possible, and those differences are such that it is more entropic than this one; and likewise, a possible world is a past world if it is adjacent and less entropic; and future-ness and past-ness are transitive, so a future of a future of a future of the present is also a future of the present, and a past of a past of a past of the present is also a past of the present.
Note however the indefinite articles there. "A" future or past, not "the" future or past. There will almost always be multiple possible worlds minimally different from this one which are more entropic, and multiple possible worlds which are less entropic. However, due to the statistical nature of entropy, there will almost always be more more-entropic adjacent worlds than less-entropic ones. As a result, lines of adjacent possible worlds in the direction of more entropy (the future) will diverge, while lines of adjacent possible worlds in a direction of less entropy (the past) will converge; so even if there are multiple immediate pasts, on a long scale there is one definite absolute past for any given possible world (the nearest local entropic minimum) while there are many possible futures (all the many local entropic maxima). Think of it like a hilly countryside: from any given point, there are multiple ways to walk which will lead you uphill or downhill, but if you keep going uphill you will eventually hit a point where there is no more uphill for you to go, and if you go anywhere you're going downhill again, and that point is the definitive top of whatever hill you started on; while if you keep going downhill, you'll end up at any of the many points around the skirt of the hill and then you can wander around there all you want at the bottom without necessarily having to go back up again.