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Time and Change

Edited by Stephan Torre (University of Aberdeen, Northern Institute of Philosophy)
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Summary What is the relation between time and change? Can time pass without change? Or, as Hume thought, does the passage of time require change? How do we make sense of change in objects? Consider the fire poker: it is hot and glowing red now but it was cold and black an hour ago. How can it have incompatible properties of being black and not black? Hot and not hot? The natural answer is that it has these incompatible properties at different times. But what is the correct metaphysical account of how this happens? Does the poker stand in different relations to different times? Does it have temporal parts some of which are hot and others which are cold? Maybe it's enough to say that it was cold but is no longer cold. Another question concerning time and change is: can we change the future? In what sense is the future alterable? Does time travel involve the ability to change the past? This category covers all issues concerning the relation between time and change.
Key works David Hume's influential discussion of the relation between time and change can be found in Book I, Part 2 of Hume et al 2007. Sydney Shoemaker provides arguments against the view that time requires change in his Shoemaker 1969, David Lewis discusses the problem of temporary intrinsics in Section 4.2 of Lewis 1986.
Introductions Good introductions to issues concerning change and time can be found in Wasserman 2006 and Markosian 2010.
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  1. Aziz Ahmad (1974). Change, Time, and Causality: With Special Reference to Muslim Thought. Pakistan Philosophical Congress.
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  2. Gordon Belot (2007). The Representation of Time and Change in Mechanics. In John Earman & Jeremy Butterfield (eds.), Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier. 133--227.
    This chapter is concerned with the representation of time and change in classical (i.e., non-quantum) physical theories. One of the main goals of the chapter is to attempt to clarify the nature and scope of the so-called problem of time: a knot of technical and interpretative problems that appear to stand in the way of attempts to quantize general relativity, and which have their roots in the general covariance of that theory. The most natural approach to these questions is via (...)
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  3. Jiri Benovsky (2012). The Causal Efficiency of the Passage of Time. Philosophia 40 (4):763-769.
    Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of time does (...)
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  4. Jiri Benovsky (2011). The Relationist and Substantivalist Theories of Time: Foes or Friends? European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):491-506.
    Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’. As (...)
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  5. David Bostock (1980). Aristotle's Account of Time. Phronesis 25 (2):148 - 169.
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  6. David Bostock (1978). Plato on Change and Time in the "Parmenides". Phronesis 23 (3):229 - 242.
  7. David Bostock (1978). Plato on Change and Time in the Parmenides. Phronesis 23 (3):229-242.
  8. John Bowin (2009). Aristotle on the Order and Direction of Time. Apeiron 42 (1):49-78.
    This paper defends Aristotle’s project of deriving the order of time from the order of change in Physics 4.11, against the objection that it contains a vicious circularity arising from the assumption that we cannot specify the direction of a change without invoking the temporal relations of its stages. It considers and rejects a solution to this objection proposed by Ursula Coope, and proposes an alternative solution. It also considers the related problem of how the temporal orders and directions derived (...)
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  9. Jeffrey E. Brower (2010). Aristotelian Endurantism: A New Solution to the Problem of Temporary Intrinsics. Mind 119 (476):883 - 905.
    It is standardly assumed that there are three — and only three — ways to solve problem of temporary intrinsics: (a) embrace presentism, (b) relativize property possession to times, or (c) accept the doctrine of temporal parts. The first two solutions are favoured by endurantists, whereas the third is the perdurantist solution of choice. In this paper, I argue that there is a further type of solution available to endurantists, one that not only avoids the usual costs, but is structurally (...)
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  10. Thomas J. Bruneau (2007). Time, Change, and Sociocultural Communication. Sign Systems Studies 35 (1-2):89-116.
    The temporal orientations of any sociocultural grouping are major factors comprising its central identity. The manner in which the past (memories), the present (perception), and the future (anticipation/expectation) are commonly articulated also concern cultural identity. The identity of a cultural group is altered by developmental changes in time keeping and related objective, scientific temporalities.Three modes of temporality, objective, narrative, and transcendental, congruent with different kinds of brain processes, are common throughout our planet. Objective temporality tends to alter and replace traditional (...)
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  11. David J. Buller & Thomas R. Foster (1992). The New Paradox of Temporal Transience. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (168):357-366.
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  12. Ursula Coope (2009). Aristotle : Time and Change. In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
  13. Ursula Coope (2005). Time for Aristotle: Physics Iv.10-14. Oxford University Press.
    What is the relation between time and change? Does time depend on the mind? Is the present always the same or is it always different? Aristotle tackles these questions in the Physics. In the first book in English exclusively devoted to this discussion, Ursula Coope argues that Aristotle sees time as a universal order within which all changes are related to each other. This interpretation enables her to explain two striking Aristotelian claims: that the now is like a moving thing, (...)
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  14. Ursula Coope (2001). Why Does Aristotle Say That There is No Time Without Change? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):359–367.
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  15. Denis Corish (2009). Could Time Be Change? Philosophy 84 (2):219-232.
    Sydney Shoemaker argues that time without change is possible, but begs the question by assuming an, in effect, Newtonian absolute time, that 'flows equably' in a region in which there is no change and in one in which there is. An equally possible, relativist, assumption, consistent, it seems, with relativity theory, is that where nothing changes there is no time flow, though there may be elsewhere, where there is change. Such an assumption would require some revision of uncritical common thought (...)
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  16. William Lane Craig (1999). Oaklander on Mctaggart and Intrinsic Change. Analysis 59 (4):319–320.
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  17. William Lane Craig (1998). Mctaggart's Paradox and the Problem of Temporary Intrinsics. Analysis 58 (2):122–127.
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  18. Phillip D. Cummins (1965). Time for Change. Analysis 26 (2):41 - 43.
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  19. Johannes Czermak & Kordula Świętorzecka (2011). Discreteness of Time and Change. Studia Philosophiae Christianae 4:5-17.
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  20. Barry Dainton (2008). The Experience of Time and Change. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):619-638.
    Can we directly experience change? Although some philosophers have denied it, the phenomenological evidence is unambiguous: we can, and do. But how is this possible? What structures or features of consciousness render such experience possible? A variety of very different answers to this question have been proposed, answers which have very different implications for the nature of consciousness itself. In this brief survey no attempt is made to engage with the often complex (and sometimes obscure) literature on this topic. Instead, (...)
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  21. Michael Dummett (2000). Is Time a Continuum of Instants? Philosophy 75 (4):497-515.
    Our model of time is the classical continuum of real numbers, and our model of other measurable quantities that change over time is that of functions defined on real numbers with real numbers as values. This model is not derived from reality or from our experience of it, but imposed on reality; and the fit is very imperfect. In classical mathematics, the value of a function for any real number as argument is independent of its value for any other argument: (...)
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  22. M. Eddon (2010). Three Arguments From Temporary Intrinsics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):605-619.
    The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics is one of the canonical arguments against endurantism. I show that the two standard ways of presenting the argument have limited force. I then present a new version of the argument, which provides a more promising articulation of the underlying objection to endurantism. However, the premises of this argument conflict with the gauge theories of particle physics, and so this version of the argument is no more successful than its predecessors. I conclude that no version (...)
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  23. Douglas Ehring (1997). Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes. Analysis 57 (4):254–258.
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  24. Jan Faye, Tenses, Changes, and Space-Time.
    Here I develop the idea, which I have presented elsewhere, that time instants are abstract entities existing tenselessly and therefore that events and changes likewise may be said to exist tenselessly in virtue of their place at a certain space-time point.
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  25. M. Oreste Fiocco (forthcoming). Becoming: Temporal, Absolute, and Atemporal. In L. Nathan Oaklander (ed.), Debates in the Metaphysics of Time. Bloomsbury. 87-107.
    There are two conspicuous and inescapable features of this world in which time is real. One experiences a world in flux, a transient world in which things constantly come into existence, change and cease to be. One also experiences a stable world, one in which how things are at any given moment is permanent, unchangeable. Thus, there is transience and permanence. Yet these two features of the world seem incompatible. The primary purpose of this paper is to sketch a metaphysics (...)
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  26. M. Oreste Fiocco (2010). Temporary Intrinsics and Relativization. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (1):64-77.
    Some have concluded that the only appropriate response to the problem of temporary intrinsics is the view that familiar, concrete objects persist through time by perduring, that is, by having temporal parts. Many, including myself, believe this view of persistence is false, and so reject this conclusion. However, the most common attempts to resolve the problem and yet defend the view that familiar, concrete objects endure are self-defeating. This has heretofore gone unnoticed. I consider the most familiar such attempts, based (...)
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  27. Robert Francescotti (2008). Endurance and Discernibility. Metaphysica 9 (2):193-204.
    How can an object remain the same, numerically identical, while undergoing change? This is a worry for endurantists, who hold that for any stages, x and y, of a persisting object, x is numerically identical with y. Endurantists might try to avoid the problem of change by insisting that all properties are temporally anchored. It is argued here that while this strategy helps in many cases, it does not help in all. A type of case is presented in which a (...)
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  28. Andre Gallois, Identity Over Time. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Traditionally, this puzzle has been solved in various ways. Aristotle, for example, distinguished between “accidental” and “essential” changes. Accidental changes are ones that don't result in a change in an objects' identity after the change, such as when a house is painted, or one's hair turns gray, etc. Aristotle thought of these as changes in the accidental properties of a thing. Essential changes, by contrast, are those which don't preserve the identity of the object when it changes, such as when (...)
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  29. André Gallois (1998). Occasions of Identity: A Study in the Metaphysics of Persistence, Change, and Sameness. Oxford University Press.
    Occasions of Identity is an exploration of timeless philosophical issues about persistence, change, time, and sameness. Andre Gallois offers a critical survey of various rival views about the nature of identity and change, and puts forward his own original theory. He supports the idea of occasional identities, arguing that it is coherent and helpful to suppose that things can be identical at one time but distinct at another. Gallois defends this view, demonstrating how it can solve puzzles about persistence dating (...)
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  30. Ian Gibson, Time, Objects, and Identity.
    This is a copy of my DPhil thesis, the abstract for which is as follows: The first third of this thesis argues for a B-theoretic conception of time according to which all times exist equally and the present is in no way privileged. I distinguish "ontological" A-theories from "non-ontological" ones, arguing that the latter are experientially unmotivated and barely coherent. With regard to the former, I focus mainly on presentism. After some remarks on how to formulate this (and eternalism) non-trivially, (...)
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  31. Steven D. Hales & Timothy A. Johnson (2007). Time for Change. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):497-513.
    Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...)
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  32. Xiaoqiang Han (2009). Speaking of Flux. Acta Analytica 24 (1):33-42.
    The aim of this paper is to explain how the Heraclitean doctrine of universal flux must be rejected, while the notion of flux should and can be preserved. Against the reductionist account of subjectless change, a modern version of the Heraclitean doctrine advocated by revisionist metaphysics, I argue that (1) the idea of subjectless change is one that can and should be formulated in the established conceptual framework, and (2) subjectlessness is a feature that most aptly characterizes material changes. In (...)
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  33. Xiaoqiang Han (2008). Subjetless Change Revisted. E – L O G O S 1211:24.
    This paper seeks to formulate the idea of subjectless change in the established conceptual scheme, which is so often thought to necessarily exclude it. The idea, first espoused by some pre-Socratic thinkers in the form of the universal flux doctrine, was subsequently abandoned due to its alleged logical incoherence. Its reintroduction in contemporary metaphysics is essentially part of a massive revolt against the established conceptual scheme; it serves as a conceptual tool to reinterpret the world and to represent it in (...)
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  34. Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (2009). Objects in Time: Studies of Persistence in B-Time. Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance theory says (...)
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  35. Tobias Hansson (2007). The Problem(s) of Change Revisited. Dialectica 61 (2):265–274.
    Two recurrent arguments levelled against the view that enduring objects survive change are examined within the framework of the B-theory of time: the argument from Leibniz's Law and the argument from Instantiation of Incompatible Properties. Both arguments are shown to be question-begging and hence unsuccessful.
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  36. Errol E. Harris (1957). Time and Change. Mind 66 (262):233-241.
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  37. Katherine Hawley (1998). Why Temporary Properties Are Not Relations Between Physical Objects and Times. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):211–216.
    Take this banana. It is now yellow, and when I bought it yesterday it was green. How can a single object be both green all over and yellow all over without contradiction? It is, of course, the passage of time which dissolves the contradiction, but how is this possible? How can a banana ripen? These questions raise the problem of change. The problem is sometimes called the problem of temporary intrinsics, but, as I shall explain below, this emphasis on intrinsic (...)
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  38. Richard Healey (2004). Change Without Change, and How to Observe It in General Relativity. Synthese 141 (3):381 - 415.
    All change involves temporal variation of properties. There is change in the physical world only if genuine physical magnitudes take on different values at different times. I defend the possibility of change in a general relativistic world against two skeptical arguments recently presented by John Earman. Each argument imposes severe restrictions on what may count as a genuine physical magnitude in general relativity. These restrictions seem justified only as long as one ignores the fact that genuine change in a relativistic (...)
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  39. Richard Healey (2004). Change Without Change, and How to Observe It in General Relativity. Synthese 141 (3):1-35..
    All change involves temporal variation of properties. There is change in the physical world only if genuine physical magnitudes take on different values at different times. We defend the possibility of change in a general relativistic world against two skeptical arguments recently presented by John Earman. Each argument imposes severe restrictions on what may count as a genuine physical magnitude in general relativity. These restrictions seem justified only as long as one ignores the fact that genuine change in a relativistic (...)
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  40. Frank Hofmann (2005). Temporally Localised Facts and the Problem of Intrinsic Change. Ratio 18 (1):39–47.
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  41. Thomas Hofweber (2009). The Meta-Problem of Change. Noûs 43 (2):286 - 314.
    The problem of change plays a central role in the metaphysics of time and material objects, and whoever does best in solving this problem has a leg up when it comes to choosing a metaphysics of time and material objects. But whether this central role of the problem of change in metaphysics is legitimate is not at all clear. This is so in part since it is not clear what the problem of change is, and why it is a problem (...)
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  42. Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (2001). Temporal Parity and the Problem of Change. SATS: Northern European Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):60-79.
    I discuss the general form of arguments that profess to prove that the view that things endure in tensed time through causally produced change (the dynamic view) must be false because it involves contradictions. I argue that these arguments implicitly presuppose what has been called the temporal parity thesis, i.e. that all moments of time are equally existent and real, and that this thesis must be understood as the denial of the dynamic view. When this implicit premise is made explicit, (...)
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  43. Ludger Jansen (2001). Niko Strobach, The Moment of Change. [REVIEW] Philosophiegeschichte Und Logische Analyse 4:205-211.
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  44. Ingvar Johansson (2010). Review: Tobias Hansson Wahlberg, Objects in Time. Studies of Persistence in B-Time (2009). [REVIEW] Metaphysica 11 (1):93-94.
  45. Timothy A. Johnson (2007). Time for Change. Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):497-513.
    Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...)
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  46. R. H. K. (1970). Time, Change and Contradiction. Review of Metaphysics 23 (3):569-569.
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  47. Robert Kilwardby (1987). On Time and Imagination. Published for the British Academy by the Oxford University Press.
    The second volume in this series devoted to the writings of the English Dominican Robert Kilwardby, this work presents the Latin text of two Oxford treatises from the 1250s--one on time, the other on imagination. The treatise on time discusses its reality, connection with change, unity and beginning, the instant and time's relationship to eternity; the one on imagination examines the way imagery is acquired, retained and transmitted, and the relation between heart and head in the workings of common sense.
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  48. Charles J. Klein (1999). Change and Temporal Movement. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (3):225 - 239.
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  49. Robin Le Poidevin (2010). Time Without Change (in Three Steps). American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):171-180.
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  50. Robin Le Poidevin (1991). Change, Cause, and Contradiction: A Defence of the Tenseless Theory of Time. St. Martin's Press.
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