What is time? By Víctor Gómez Pin

This post is also available in: Spanish

What you say about topos can also be said about cronos. You could speak about the great chronological intuitions of Aristotelianism. Aristotle defines time in terms which are almost analogue to the second law of thermodynamics. It is well known that Aristotle said time is the measure of change, but people usually forget he speaks about the destructive change. The measure of the generative change is not time. The process by which the seed becomes plant or the sperm becomes a human being, that process is not a time process. For that process you need the interaction of strange causes. The seed becomes a plant because you water it, amongst other things. For time to act, says Aristotle, the thing in itself is enough. If you leave the thing alone, there are only corruption processes. He doesn’t call the genesis processes temporal. And he points out that, as they say in Greek, one does not become fairer with time. Time is a process of corruption. It is almost the same definition of time that can be derived from the second law of thermodynamics.

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