This brief summary draws on sources in humanities, social sciences, and informatics to establish the basic framework for our discussion. The conceptual and representational issues are divided between basic concepts of time and of temporal relations and a brief vocabulary of definitions of time within disciplinary frameworks. Temporal relations are further divided into two approaches, one from formal logic and the second from linguistics (or discourse analysis). Concepts of time, temporal relations, and definitions of time provide three intellectual frameworks we will reference throughout our discussion
Time vs. Temporal Relations: Fundamental to all discussion in this project is a distinction between time and temporal relations. Time appears to be a container, neutral, unbounded, while temporal relations are specific to the relative sequence and duration of elements within a frame of reference.
Two primary conceptions distinguish absolute from relational time:
EXCERPT: Fabio Schreiber, "Is Time a Real Time" is a discussion of temporal considerations in informatics, particularly, issues of sychronization in distributed systems. Schreiber's is the most complete overview of the literature at the intersection of philosophy, history, and informatics, and touches on most major points relevant to the seminar. Schreiber's summaries: Temporal ontologies -- "the major issues in the nature and in the structure of time":
Historically, time has been conceived as cyclic/repetitive, linear/irreversible, and 4-dimensional space-time, with various attributes of ordering, ideas of the present, notions of causality, as implicit features of these concepts. In our commonsense contemporary perception, time appears to be universal, linear, and non-reversible but such a perception is open to challenge from various spiritual and physics-based perspectives.
EXCERPT: Huw Price, "The View from Nowhen" in Time's Arrow, distinguishes two philosophical conceptions of time: one that takes the flow of time as an objective feature of the physical world and the other that conceives of time flow as an artifact of human perception. His discussion focuses on the "Archimedes point" vs. "time's arrow" - an objective relation to time that demonstrates that all "now" references are to time as "here" is to space, mere artifacts of subjectivity that create an illusion of asymmetric relations in the physical world, including laws of thermodynamics, radiation, and cosmology. He asserts there is no objective basis for this concept.
EXCERPT: Mark Steedman, "The Productions of Time," summarizes his own and others' work in the area of tense logic or tense modality in language. He incorporates the classic work of (aptly named) A.Prior in his discussion of speech points, reference points, and event points within linguistic representations, but contributes his own vocabulary of fundamental temporal modalities to describe states of temporality:
Vocabulary of Conceptions of Time: Conceptual frameworks for describing various conceptions of time come froma range of disciplines. This list provides a basic vocabulary from natural sciences, humanities, philosophy, logic, and linguistics.
EXCERPT: J.T. Fraser, a prolific scholar on the topic of time, complied the following list of conceptions of time (see Fraser's short article, "From Chaos to Conflict"):
In addition to Fraser's list: