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Time and Music

Seminar ListAbstract • PreparationMain Text


Absolute, true, and mathematical time, of itself, and from its own nature, flows equably without relation to anything external.

Newton, Principia

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 60

What then is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I wish to explain it to one who asks, I know not.

St Augustine, Confessions

To put it bluntly, the reason why the common-sense theory of time is inherently mysterious is that it is inherently nonsensical. It is not just that it is factually inaccurate. We shall see that, even in its own terms, it does not make sense. This is perhaps surprising. We have become used to modifying our common sense to conform to scientific discoveries. Common sense frequently turns out to be false, even badly false. But it is unusual for common sense to be nonsense in a matter of everyday experience.

David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality


Time can be thought of as a line (theoretically of infinite length) on which is located, as a continuously moving point, the present moment. Anything ahead of the present moment is in the future, and anything behind it is in the past.

Quirk, et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, 1989, p175





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