In the time of about 5 minutes you are going to read, if you are not bored before you reach the end, some of the questions and less answers that over time humanity has raised in the various epochs of history, from the Greek philosophers To our days, and from philosophy, but also from physics, psychology and social sciences.


The ancient Greeks had three words (three gods) to represent time: Chronos, Aion and Kairos.

  • Cronus is the god, represented as a mature man, who devours everything and everyone, including his children, to maintain his power. It is the god of sequential, chronological time that inevitably happens. It is the god we turn to when we set goals, make action plans, and implement them. Cronos measures how mortals approach death, struggling to succeed and to control events, our lives and those of others.
  • Aion is god of eternity. He is both child and elder. He is the generous and satisfied God who makes sense in himself. It is the god who does not contemplate the goals or plans but invites us to action that has meaning in itself. When we act under the auspices of Aion, we are satisfied with the way we travel because the goal is to travel through it and each step makes sense.
  • Kairos is the whimsical god of opportunity that passes quickly, which can only be caught as it comes, at the right time that can change our destiny. It is the unforeseen moment, the occasion, the “here and now” in which the right action will take us in a jiffy to that future that we desire. Kairós does not demand anything or expects anything from us.

Aristotle raised the question of the dependence of the mind of time when he said: “If the soul (mind) did not exist, whether time existed or not, it is a question that can be asked: Because if there can not be someone to tell There can be nothing that can be counted … “. Finally, Aristotle does not answer his own question because he says that it depends on whether time is the conscious numbering of the movement or, instead, it is only the capacity of the movements to be numbered, if consciousness existed.

Descartes argued that a material body has the property of spatial extension but not an inherent capacity for temporal resistance, and that God by his continuous action sustains (or recreates) the body at every succeeding instant. Time is a kind of sustenance or recreation (“Third Meditation” in Meditations on First Philosophy).

Parmenides, Zeno, Plato, Spinoza, Hegel and McTaggart thought that time is not real.

According to St. Augustine, time was created by God. However it emphatically affirms that this does not mean that time was created at any given time. It says that it would be a contradiction to assume that time was created at a certain moment, since this would imply that time already existed before being created, which would be absurd. However, he maintains that eternity or lack

Of existence of time, is logically, if not temporally, prior to the existence of time. From the point of view of St. Augustine time can not exist without change or movement and it concludes that neither the past nor the future exist, since neither exists now.



According to Kant, both space and time are pure forms of the sensible intuition or pure intuition, which allow the perceptual knowledge of the spatio-temporal objects, that is, of the phenomena.

In this definition, the following concepts are used:

  1. Phenomenon: it is the indeterminate object of an empirical intuition, in other words, a phenomenon is that which is manifested before the mind and which is constituted by it through representations, specifically, from the sensibility, the Which is nothing other than the capacity to receive representations.
  2. Representations: information obtained by our sensory awareness, generated in the mind as it relates to phenomena.
  3. Intuition: it is the way in which knowledge refers immediately to objects, that is, the way our thinking relates to the objects that appear before our mind.

Time is a pure form of sensible intuition or pure intuition, and as such:

  1. is an independent and a priori intuition of external experiences
  2. is the independent medium by means of which we order the representations (originated by the sensibility in perceiving the phenomena)
  3. in turn is a condition of possibility of all phenomena (that which is manifested before the mind constituted by it through representations), both internal and external
  4. any representation, whether or not object has external things, corresponds to the internal state and is under the pure intuition of time.


Time in Physics

Time is a physical quantity with which we measure the duration or separation of events subject to change from systems subject to observation; That is, the period between the state of the system when it has a state X and the time at which X registers a perceptible variation for an observer (or measuring apparatus).

Time allows the ordering of events in sequences, establishing a past, a future and a third set of events neither past nor future with respect to another. In classical mechanics this third class is called “present” and is formed by events simultaneous to a given one.

In relativistic mechanics the concept of time is more complex: simultaneous facts (“present”) are relative to the observer, unless they occur in the same place of space; For example, a collision between two particles.


For Newton, space and time are magnitudes external to the individual, which are not related to it, that is, they are independent of the thinking subject.

The parts of time and absolute space remain immutable; In turn, are the quasi-places of themselves and of all things. Absolute space and time are not perceptible by the senses, so we use sensible measures within their relative parts to be able to determine the magnitudes of objects.

Newton distinguishes then between relative time (apparent and vulgar) as a sensible and external measure obtained by movement, and absolute time, unidimensional and flowing uniformly, and by another name is called duration, and is not related to anything external.

The Planck time (also called “chrono”)

Physics tells us that the least possible physically representative temporal interval is the so-called Planck time, which is equivalent to 10-43 seconds, that is, at ten septillionths of a second. This, then, is the shortest time interval in which the laws of physics can continue to be used to study the Nature of the Universe. The limit implies that any two events can not be separated by a time interval inferior to this one.

This is what was thought until now. But Mir Faizal, Mohammed M. Khali and Saurya Das, propose that the shortest possible time interval could exceed, even in several orders of magnitude, the time of Planck. The mere existence of this new “minimum time” can alter the basic equations of Quantum Mechanics, and therefore the result would be a profound change in the description of reality as we know it.

Quantum foam

The British physicist John Archivald Wheeler proposed in 1955 the theory of quantum foam to describe, in a way, what happens at 10-35 meters, where spacetime becomes frothy, like a scrambled sea full of particle-generated turbulence Virtual ones that are born and disappear in the nothingness at dizzying speeds.

What if the passage of time were nothing more than an illusion?

Faizal, Khali and Das explain that the temporal structure could be considered similar to a crystalline structure, that consists of discrete segments that are repeated of regular form. In philosophical terms, the argument that the temporal structure is “discrete” suggests that our perception of time as something that flows constantly would be nothing more than an illusion. “The physical Universe,” Faizal explains, “is really like a movie of moving images, in which a series of fixed frames projected successively on a screen create the illusion of being before moving images. Of view is taken seriously, then our conscious perception of physical reality based on continuous motion becomes an illusion produced by an underlying discrete mathematical structure. ”

“The proposal,” continues the researcher, “makes Plato’s physics in nature a reality,” referring to Plato’s argument that there is a true reality that is independent of our senses. “However, unlike the theories of Platonic idealism, our proposal can be tested experimentally, and not only philosophically argued.”


If you want to know a little bit more…


Suter, R. (1962) Augustine on Time, with Some Criticisms from Wittgenstein. Revue internationale de philosophie 16 (1962), no. 61-62, fasc. 3-4: 378-94.

Suter, R. (1965) El Concepto del Tiempo Según San Agustín, con algunos Comentarios Críticos de Wittgenstein. (traducción de Suter, C.M.) en Convivium, no. 19-20, Dec. 1965. Universidad de Barcelona.


González, A. (1996) Los tres espacios (tiempos) de Kant. Thémata. Revista de Filosofía. Núm. 16, 1996.


Altamirano, A. (2015) Tiempo-espacio: Kant y Newton sobre la naturaleza de los fenómenos. Centro Universitario México. 19-02-2015.


Marramao, G. (2008) Kairós: Apología del tiempo oportuno. Gedisa editorial. Barcelona. Abril del 2008. (Original en Italiano de 1992).

Faizal, M. et al. (2016) Time crystals from minimum time uncertainty. Eur. Phys. J. C (2016) 76:30



Other web pages of interest on the subject: