18 Pages

Relations between Musical and Scientific Properties of Time

Although some philosophers, including such luminaries as Sir Isaac Newton, have argued against it (d. Sorabji 1983), I take as a starting point that the very notion of time comes about from the experience of change, sensory or otherwise . Time is not a stimulus but a construction, an inference. In particular, our sensory experience allows us to infer the existence of such things as events (experiences with a start and finish) , material objects (sensations with physical extension and some permanence), and qualities (aspects of events or objects). When events, objects, or qualities change or are transformed, and when this process shows repeatable properties, we infer that the nature of change has underlying commonalities, many of these subsumed under the idea of time. Phenomenologically, there are certain definite elementary temporal experiences, including simultaneity, non-simultaneity, succession, the subjective present, and duration (Poppel 1989), upon which many of the subjective and objective properties of time are based . Scientific method and scientific instruments allow these properties to be generalized and systematized in certain ways .