Past


Past

The past is the portion of time that has already occurred; [Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). [http://books.google.com/books?id=3KoLAAAAIAAJ The Monist] . La Salle, Ill. [etc.] : Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443. ] it is the opposite of the future.

Overview

The past is contrasted with the present. It is also regarded as the conglomerate of events that happened in a "certain point" in time, within the Space-time continuum. The aforementioned conception is closely related to Albert Einstein's relativity theory. The past is the object of such fields as history, archaeology, archaeoastronomy, chronology, geology, (historical geology), historical linguistics, law, paleontology, paleobotany, paleoethnobotany, palaeogeography, paleoclimatology, and cosmology.

Humans have recorded the past since ancient times, and to some extent, one of the defining characteristics of human beings is that they are able to record the past, recall it, remember it and confront it with the current state of affairs, thus enabling them to plan accordingly for the future, and to theorise about it as well.

Philosophy and science

According to presentism, the past does not strictly exist; however, the methods of all sciences study the world's past, through the process of evaluating evidence. Presentism is compatible with Galilean relativity, in which time is independent of space but is probably incompatible with Lorentzian/Einsteinian relativity in conjunction with certain other philosophical theses which many find uncontroversial.

In classical physics the past is just a half of the timeline. In special relativity the past is considered as absolute past or the past cone. In Earth's scale the difference between "classical" and "relativist" past is less than 0.05 s, so it can be neglected in most cases.

In the modern theory of relativity, the conceptual observer is at a geometric point in both space and time at the apex of the 'light cone' which observes events laid out in time as well as space. Different observers can disagree on whether two events at different locations occurred simultaneously depending if the observers are in relative motion (see relativity of simultaneity). This theory depends upon the idea of time as an extended thing and has been confirmed by experiment and has given rise to a philosophical viewpoint known as four dimensionalism. However, although the contents of an observation are time-extended, the conceptual observer, being a geometric point at the origin of the light cone, is not extended in time or space. This analysis contains a paradox in which the conceptual observer contains nothing, even though any real observer would need to be the extended contents of an observation to exist. This paradox is partially resolved in Relativity theory by defining a 'frame of reference' to encompass the measuring instruments used by an observer. This reduces the time separation between instruments to a set of constant intervals. [ [http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00002408/ Petkov 2005] ]

Quote

ee also

*Antiquarian
*Fossil
*Memory
*Past tense
*Retro

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • past — /past, pahst/, adj. 1. gone by or elapsed in time: It was a bad time, but it s all past now. 2. of, having existed in, or having occurred during a time previous to the present; bygone: the past glories of the Incas. 3. gone by just before the… …   Universalium

  • past — /past / (say pahst) verb 1. Rare past participle and occasional past tense of pass. –adjective 2. gone by in time. 3. belonging to, or having existed or occurred in time previous to this. 4. gone by just before the present time; just passed: the… …   Australian English dictionary

  • past — [past, päst] vi., vt. rare pp. of PASS2 adj. 1. gone by; ended; over [our past troubles] 2. of a former time; bygone 3. immediately preceding; just gone by [the past week] 4. having served formerly …   English World dictionary

  • Past — Past, prep. 1. Beyond, in position, or degree; further than; beyond the reach or influence of. Who being past feeling. Eph. iv. 19. Galled past endurance. Macaulay. [1913 Webster] Until we be past thy borders. Num. xxi. 22. [1913 Webster] Love,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • past — ► ADJECTIVE 1) gone by in time and no longer existing. 2) (of time) that has gone by. 3) Grammar (of a tense) expressing a past action or state. ► NOUN 1) a past period or the events in it. 2) a person s or thing s history or earlier life. 3) …   English terms dictionary

  • Past — Past, Present Future Past, Present Future сборник Rob Zombie Дата выпуска …   Википедия

  • past — Ⅰ. past UK US /pɑːst/ US  /pæst/ preposition ► above a particular age or outside a stated limit: »More and more people are working until past retirement age. »We re past the point where losing a couple of employees will save us. Ⅱ. past UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • Past — (‚Vergangenheit‘) steht für: Simple Past, eine Zeitform des Englischen (Past Tense) Past heißen: Ambar Past (* 1949), US amerikanisch mexikanische Poetin und bildende Künstlerin Siehe auch Past Perfect, Past Progressive …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Past — Past, a. [From {Pass}, v.] Of or pertaining to a former time or state; neither present nor future; gone by; elapsed; ended; spent; as, past troubles; past offences. Past ages. Milton. [1913 Webster] {Past master}. See under {Master}. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • past — I adjective ancient, antediluvian, antiquated, archaic, back, defunct, departed, elapsed, expired, forgotten, former, gone, gone by, historical, irrecoverable, lapsed, last, late, lost, no longer functioning, obsolete, old, outdated, outmoded,… …   Law dictionary

  • Past — Past, n. A former time or state; a state of things gone by. The past, at least, is secure. D. Webster. [1913 Webster] The present is only intelligible in the light of the past, often a very remote past indeed. Trench. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.