Time, its passing, its measurement and its experience is fundamental to our understanding of existence with regards to both the cosmos and the cognition possessed by our species. Without it, change, order, duration and concepts such as “beginning” and “end” would not be possible to conceive of let alone value. However what is time and how does it exist? Welcome to the bizarre world of time where philosophers and physicists comprehend time in a way that is almost completely divorced from our everyday intuitions of time. According to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity there is no universal simultaneity; all time is relative and thus the past, present and future may all already be existing at once. Others perceive time as an illusion; and when we get down to the quantum level things do not function with any more clarity.
Bradford Skow is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Associate Professor of philosophy at MIT. He specialises is philosophy of science and metaphysics. He is the author of Objective Becoming and Reasons Why, both on Oxford University Press.