Exactly What Is Time?

Exactly what is time?
We can measure time extremely accurately, but it is very difficult to define and explain exactly what time actually is

Most websites and books on the subject begin with a candid admission that time is a curious and slippery concept which continues to defy definitive explanation despite hundreds, even thousands, of years of trying. We are told that time is “enigmatic” and “ineffable”, but that does not help us much in our search for the true nature of time. Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle contended that, “time is the most unknown of all unknown things”, and arguably not much has changed since then.

At first glance, it seems obvious, what time is: it is the ticking of the clock, the turning of the pages of a calendar. But really these are just incidental physical manifestations of the underlying concept. Time is a ubiquitous and essential ingredient of both everyday life and all manner of academic thought, but its fundamental nature remains tantalizingly difficult to encapsulate.

This website looks at many different aspects of time, and, although it too may ultimately fail to “tame the beast”, it aims to give at least a reasonably comprehensive review of the many different facets that comprise this most enigmatic of subjects.

It investigates various attempts at a definition of time; it looks at the history and methods of time measurement; it summarises the different views of time in philosophy and religion over the centuries; it considers the scientific basis of time, particularly as regards physics and psychology (both our perception of time and the neurology involved); and it throws in a variety of other aspects of time and our uses of it.

In general, the website tries to avoid excessive technical jargon, but a handy glossary is provided with quick definitions of many of the terms used. This website It should not be considered a scholarly work, and it does not provide specific references to primary sources, but a list of general sources and references is included for further investigation. Your comments and criticisms are welcome: please feel free to contact the author.