By Jimena Canales
In the past due 15th century, clocks got minute palms. A century later, moment palms seemed. however it wasn’t until eventually the 1850s that tools may realize a 10th of a moment, and, after they did, the effect on smooth technological know-how and society used to be profound. Revealing the heritage at the back of this infinitesimal period, A 10th of a Second sheds new mild on modernity and illuminates the paintings of significant thinkers of the final centuries.
Tracing debates in regards to the nature of time, causality, and unfastened will, in addition to the creation of recent technologies—telegraphy, images, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual second” all through tradition. as soon as scientists linked the 10th of a moment with the rate of concept, they constructed response time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, body structure, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to regulate the profound outcomes of effects that have been a 10th of a moment off. And references to the period have been a part of a basic inquiry into time, attention, and sensory adventure that concerned rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant.
Considering its effect on for much longer time sessions and that includes appearances via Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, and Albert Einstein, between others, A 10th of a Second is finally a major contribution to background and a unique point of view on modernity.
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Additional resources for A Tenth of a Second: A History
Some examples are Fraisse, “The Evolution of Experimental Psychology”; G. P. Brooks and R. C. Brooks, “The Improbable Progenitor,” Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 73 (1979). For a critique of the “standard account,” see Christoph Hoffmann, Unter Beobachtung: Naturforschung in der Zeit der Sinnesapparate (Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2006). reaction time and the per sonal equation 23 the terms reaction time and personal equation gained currency, their definitions nonetheless remained in flux well into the twentieth century.
Table comparing the length of different standards of measurement. The middle column shows the observers’ personal equation when measuring different scales of length. From Francis Baily, “Report on the new Standard Scale of this Society. Drawn up at the request of the Council, by F. Baily, Esq. F. R. S. , and one of the Vice-Presidents of the Society. Presented December 11, 1835,” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 9 (1836): 35–184, on p. 110. 57 He contended with fatigue, increased the number of observations, measured the personal equation of different observers, and had them exchange places from one side of the ruler to the other.
We can see how the analysis of this interval was central to the century-long attempt to establish a semiotic theory of meaning. The conclusion branches beyond the history and philosophy of science to further explore the tenth of a second. It asks what it means to write the history of this time period, as opposed to writing about a year, a decade, or a century. It then explores how our understanding of the tenth of a second arose in the context of more general structures of agreement and consensus in modernity.