But, if this is true, why does physics treat space and time as a dimension?
There is a great deal of confusion as to what time is among philosophers, with almost none of them having a rational or sensible view of it. They treat time as something built into the universe, in much the way space and or the three dimensions of space are.
They treat time not as a measurement of change, but as the measurement of some actual thing out there in the universe. A thing that is neither an abstraction nor a physical, concrete thing (matter).
This is how physics treats all of the usual four dimensions it talks about. As though they are part of the universe itself. But, not a physical aspect of the universe.
They are not treated as some kind of physical object you can find or which you can infer physically exists. They are treated as a backdrop upon which matter exists.
Imagine you have a rubber sheet upon which you plan to overlay all of the matter in the universe. This is like how physics envisions the dimensions of space-time to be.
They treat it as some kind of non-matter cosmic backdrop upon which all matter is imposed.
But, this makes no sense and can have no justification.
It reifies abstractions. Why?
Because many people today have a great deal of trouble understanding the process of abstraction, the nature of concepts and their proper place. They view abstractions as some mysterious, often arbitrary creation of the human mind. Or as weird reflections of real things out there (ala Plato).
Modern physics treats the three spatial dimensions as part of the universe and then throws in time because it is unable to grasp that these are abstractions.
They assume that because these things are measurable that they must be somehow non-abstract. But not physical in the same sense as matter. What then?
They are treated as something else entirely, a Platonic backdrop for physical reality. As a mathematical underpinning for reality.
Is there any scientific justification for this? What of the fact that space bends and time dilates?
Well, no, space does not bend. However gravity works, it does not operate in this way and no evidence has ever established this.
What about time dilation? Atomic clocks run slower at high speeds, don’t they?
Yes, they do. But all such experiments show is that instruments which measure time operate differently at different speeds.
What does it mean for concepts like space and time to dilate or contract? Nothing. Relationships do not dilate or contract. Saying that they do is like saying that your marriage dilates or contracts. Abstract concepts are not subject to dilation or contraction.
The problem is that since physicists think that time is a part of the universe, they think that clocks (and the like) by themselves are actually measuring time. But, clocks do not measure time by themselves, people measure time by using things like clocks to perform the measurement.
People measure time by keeping track of motion or changes, using clocks and calendars based on units of seconds, hours, days, years; which are all divisions of the change that is one revolution of the Sun around the Earth.
Clocks are not some special devices which are affected by some Platonic dimension in a magical way that nothing else is. Time is a relationship measured using things such as clocks.
Time is not something which affects how clocks and the like works. It is a concept used to measure motion and change.
There is no such thing as time in the sense that physicists mean it. There is no Platonic backdrop of space-time to be affected by speed and which can alter how clocks and other time measurement devices work. Such devices simply operate differently at different speeds.
This is what it means for time to be relative. That if you measure the same relationships between motions or changes in different contexts, you might get different numerical results.
Not because time is some kind of non-abstract, non-matter thing that can dilate, but because the process of measuring time is subject to differences in context.
Imagine that clocks on Earth, for some reason gave different results than clocks on Mars. Earth clocks tick faster than on Mars.
Now, suppose we observe a solar flare on the Sun and we use our clocks to measure the duration of that solar flare. The Earth clocks say that it takes ten seconds but the Mars clocks say it takes five seconds.
Would we say that this proves that time is a dimension and that it dilates or contracts? No, we would say that clocks work differently on these two planets.
It is a similar thing for clocks working at far below light speed and much closer to light speed. For some reason clocks and other devices that we use to measure time work differently in these two contexts.
The relationships being measured remain the same. But, when we measure these relationships in different contexts, we get different values that describe the same facts.
Does this mean that time is subjective and that the relationships differ for different observers? No.
The relationships in question remain the same. But, the measurements will have different values even though they describe the same relationships. The values resulting from the measurement process are contextual, even when measuring the same relationships.
So, in summary, space is a relational concept upon which the concept of dimension is based. Time is a measurement of motion and change. Not a physical thing or the kind of cosmic background which physics alleges.
This has many further implications. Such as the impossibility of time travel. But that sounds like the topic of another article and we will come back to it in a future article.