Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. In this paper, I argue that being an actualist without also being a presentist is not as easy as many philosophers seem to think. A common objection to presentism is that there is an unavoidable conflict between presentism and relativity theory. But actualists who do not wish to be presentists cannot point to this relativity objection alone to support their position. (...) Unless they have some antecedent reason for thinking that actualism is more plausible than presentism, anyone who is moved by the relativity objection to give up presentism should be moved by a related objection to give up actualism as well. If there is a reason to be an actualist without also being a presentist, it must go beyond the relativity objection to presentism. (shrink)
The growing block view of time holds that the past and present are real whilst the future is unreal; as future events become present and real, they are added on to the growing block of reality. Surprisingly, given the recent interest in this view, there is very little literature on its origins. This paper explores those origins, and advances two theses. First, I show that although C. D. Broad’s Scientific Thought provides the first defence of the growing block theory, the (...) theory receives its first articulation in Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time, and Deity. Further, Alexander’s account of deity inclines towards the growing block view. Second, I argue that Broad shifted towards the growing block theory as a result of his newfound conviction that time has a direction. By way of tying these theses together, I argue that Broad’s views on the direction of time – and possibly even his growing block theory – are sourced in Alexander. (shrink)
Those inclined to positions in the philosophy of time that take tense seriously have typically assumed that not all regions of space-time are equal: one special region of space-time corresponds to what is presently happening. When combined with assumptions from modern physics this has the unsettling consequence that the shape of this favored region distinguishes people in certain places or people traveling at certain velocities. In this paper I shall attempt to avoid this result by developing a tensed picture of (...) reality that is nonetheless consistent with ‘hypersurface egalitarianism’—the view that all hypersurfaces are equal. (shrink)
This article provides a non-technical overview of the conflict between the special theory of relativity and the dynamic theories of time. The chief argument against dynamic theories of time from relativistic mechanics is presented. The space of current responses to that argument is subsequently mapped.
The A-theory and the B-theory advance competing claims about how time is grounded. The A-theory says that A-facts are more fundamental in grounding time than are B-facts, and the B-theory says the reverse. We argue that whichever theory is true of the actual world is also true of all possible worlds containing time. We do this by arguing that time is uniquely groundable: however time is actually grounded, it is necessarily grounded in that way. It follows that if either the (...) A-theory or the B-theory is actually false, then it is necessarily false. (shrink)
According to the A-theory of time some instant of time is absolutely present. Many reject the A-theory on the grounds that it is inconsistent with current spacetime physics, which appears to leave no room for absolute presentness. However, some reject the A-theory on purely philosophical grounds. In this article I describe three purely philosophical arguments against the A-theory and show that there are plausible A-theoretic responses to each of them. I conclude that, whatever else is wrong with the A-theory, it (...) is not obviously a philosophically suspect theory. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that physics is, always was, and probably always will be voiceless with respect to tense and passage, and that, therefore, if, as I believe, tense and passage are the essence of time, physics’ contribution to our understanding of time can only be limited. The argument, in a nutshell, is that if "physics has no possibility of expression for the Now", to quote Einstein, then it cannot add anything to the study of tense and passage, and (...) specifically, cannot add anything to the debate between deniers and affirmers of the existence or reality of tense and passage. Since relativity theory did not equip physics with a new language with which to speak of tense and passage, I draw the further conclusion that relativity theory has not generated the revolution to our conception of time that is attributed to it. In the last section I discuss the motivations behind the continued but misguided attempts to integrate tense into a relativistic setting, and assess the manners in which relativity theory has nevertheless enhanced, albeit indirectly, our understanding of tense and passage. (shrink)
Presentism says that only present objects exist. But the view has trouble grounding past-tensed truths like “dinosaurs existed”. Standard Eternalism grounds those truths by positing the existence of past objects—like dinosaurs. But Standard Eternalism conflicts with the intuition that there is genuine change—the intuition that there once were dinosaurs and no longer are any. I offer a novel theory of time—‘The Imprint’—that does a better job preserving both the grounding and genuine change intuitions. The Imprint says that the past and (...) present exist, but where the present exhibits mass-energy, the past only consists of curved empty regions of spacetime. We therefore avoid saying that there are dinosaurs, since there is no mass-energy in the past; but the curvature of the past gives us a way to ground the truth that “dinosaurs existed”. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This essay is a critical introduction to the second part of the special issue Time and Reality. The volume contains responses to papers appeared in the first part, as well as many original articles. The aim of this introduction is to frame these works within the general arena of the philosophy of time, highlighting a number of recurrent themes. A central theme that emerges is a difficulty in pinning down the ontological structure underlying dynamicity and passage without postulating a (...) primitive notion of transiency that is conceptually independent from the instantiation of tense properties. I argue that this has far reaching implications. (shrink)
Metaphysicians frequently appeal to the idea that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, in the sense that, all other things being equal, simpler metaphysical theories are more likely to be true. In this paper I defend the notion that theoretical simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, against several recent objections. I do not give any direct arguments for the thesis that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics, since I am aware of no such arguments. I do argue, however, that (...) there is no special problem with the notion that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics. More specifically, I argue that if you accept the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in science, then it would be objectionably arbitrary to reject the idea that simplicity is truth conducive in metaphysics. (shrink)
Different versions of the A-theory of time are traditionally defined in terms of whether everything is present, or whether there are also past and future things. In this paper I argue that the traditional way of defining A-theories should be abandoned. I focus on the traditional definition of presentism, according to which always, everything is present. First, I argue that there are good reasons to reject all the most plausible interpretations of the predicate ‘is present’ as it appears in the (...) traditional definition of presentism. It follows that there are also good reasons to reject the most plausible interpretations of the traditional definitions of the other A-theories. I then argue that there is a better way of defining the A-theories, in terms of the question of whether existence has a beginning and an end. Finally, I argue that what goes for the traditional definition of presentism goes for the traditional definition of its modal analogue actualism, according to which necessarily, everything is actual : there are good reasons to reject the traditional definition of actualism in favour of a definition in terms of contingent existence. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Closed time is possible in several senses of ‘possible’. One might like to know, therefore, whether closed time is possible in the sense that it is compatible with standard metaphysical theories of time. In this paper I am concerned with whether closed time is compatible with A and/or B theories of time. A common enough view amongst philosophers is that B theories do but A theories do not allow closed time. However, I show that prima-facie neither approach allows closed (...) time, but that with a little work standard versions of both approaches do. This shows that there’s no special problem with the notion of eternal return. (shrink)
Many are committed to the idea that the present generation has obligations to future generations, for example, obligations to preserve the environment and certain natural resources for those generations. However, some philosophers want to explain why we have these obligations in terms of correlative rights that future persons have against persons in the present. Attributing such rights to future persons is controversial, for there seem to be compelling arguments against the position. According to the “nonexistence” argument, future persons cannot have (...) rights (and so should not be attributed rights) because they do not exist. According to the “no-satisfaction” argument, future persons cannot have a right to resources that do not exist at the time of their existence because such a right could not, in principle, be satisfied. In this paper, I will argue that an eternalist ontology of time provides the resources for satisfactorily responding to both the nonexistence and the no-satisfaction arguments. (shrink)
I present a discussion of some issues in the ontology of spacetime. After a characterisation of the controversies among relationists, substantivalists, eternalists, and presentists, I offer a new argument for rejecting presentism, the doctrine that only present objects exist. Then, I outline and defend a form of spacetime realism that I call event substantivalism. I propose an ontological theory for the emergence of spacetime from more basic entities. Finally, I argue that a relational theory of pre-geometric entities can give rise (...) to substantival spacetime in such a way that relationism and substantivalism are not necessarily opposed positions, but rather complementary. In an appendix I give axiomatic formulations of my ontological views. (shrink)
Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...) past, present, and future are all equally real and there is nothing metaphysically special about the present. A third is perdurantism, according to which persisting material objects are made up of different temporal parts located at different times. We sketch routes from relativity to unitism and to the B-theory. We then discuss some routes to perdurantism, via the B-theory and via unitism. (shrink)
Presentists believe that only present things exist. But opponents insist this view has unacceptable implications: if only present things exist, we can’t express singular propositions about the past, since the obvious propositional constituents don’t exist, nor can we account for temporal passage, or the openness of the future. According to such opponents, and in spite of the apparent ‘common sense’ status of the view, presentism should be rejected on the basis of these unacceptable implications. In this paper, I present and (...) defend a version of presentism that avoids the unacceptable implications. The basic strategy I employ is familiar—I postulate presently existing entities to serve as surrogates for non-present entities—but some of the details of my proposal are more novel, and their application to these problems is certainly novel. One overarching thesis of this paper is that Thisness Presentism is preferable to other versions of presentism since it solves important problems facing standard iterations of the view. And I assume that this is a good positive reason in favour of the underlying thisness ontology. (shrink)
Arthur Prior’s argument for the A-theory of time in “Thank Goodness That’s Over” is perhaps his most famous and well-known non-logical work. Still, I think that this paper is one of his most misunderstood works. Because of this, much of its brilliance has yet to be properly appreciated. In this paper, I suggest that the explanation of this is that it has been treated as though it were following the standard model for a piece of Analytic philosophy. That is, it (...) has been assumed that what Prior was doing was deductively demonstrating the truth of a proposition which can be discussed via any sentences with the same semantic content. Here, I argue that this assumption is wrong on two fronts:Most importantly, the strongest reading of the structure of Prior’s argument is as an abduction rather than as a deduction. Many of the most important lessons of the argument are lost by focusing on the bare propositional content of its premise and conclusion statements. In other words, we can learn as much from the manner in which this argument is presented and expressed as we can from that which is expressed. (shrink)
What if gravity satisfied the Klein-Gordon equation? Both particle physics from the 1920s-30s and the 1890s Neumann-Seeliger modification of Newtonian gravity with exponential decay suggest considering a "graviton mass term" for gravity, which is _algebraic_ in the potential. Unlike Nordström's "massless" theory, massive scalar gravity is strictly special relativistic in the sense of being invariant under the Poincaré group but not the 15-parameter Bateman-Cunningham conformal group. It therefore exhibits the whole of Minkowski space-time structure, albeit only indirectly concerning volumes. Massive (...) scalar gravity is plausible in terms of relativistic field theory, while violating most interesting versions of Einstein's principles of general covariance, general relativity, equivalence, and Mach. Geometry is a poor guide to understanding massive scalar gravity: matter sees a conformally flat metric due to universal coupling, but gravity also sees the rest of the flat metric in the mass term. What is the 'true' geometry, one might wonder, in line with Poincaré's modal conventionality argument? Infinitely many theories exhibit this bimetric 'geometry,' all with the total stress-energy's trace as source; thus geometry does not explain the field equations. The irrelevance of the Ehlers-Pirani-Schild construction to a critique of conventionalism becomes evident when multi-geometry theories are contemplated. Much as Seeliger envisaged, the smooth massless limit indicates underdetermination of theories by data between massless and massive scalar gravities---indeed an unconceived alternative. At least one version easily could have been developed before General Relativity; it then would have motivated thinking of Einstein's equations along the lines of Einstein's newly re-appreciated "physical strategy" and particle physics and would have suggested a rivalry from massive spin 2 variants of General Relativity. The Putnam-Grünbaum debate on conventionality is revisited with an emphasis on the broad modal scope of conventionalist views. Massive scalar gravity thus contributes to a historically plausible rational reconstruction of much of 20th-21st century space-time philosophy in the light of particle physics. An appendix reconsiders the Malament-Weatherall-Manchak conformal restriction of conventionality and constructs the 'universal force' influencing the causal structure. Subsequent works will discuss how massive gravity could have provided a template for a more Kant-friendly space-time theory that would have blocked Moritz Schlick's supposed refutation of synthetic _a priori_ knowledge, and how Einstein's false analogy between the Neumann-Seeliger-Einstein modification of Newtonian gravity and the cosmological constant \Lambda generated lasting confusion that obscured massive gravity as a conceptual possibility. (shrink)
I reconstruct from Rietdijk and Putnam’s well-known papers an argument against the applicability of the concept of becoming in Special Relativity, which I think is unaffected by some of the objections found in the literature. I then consider a line of thought found in the discussion of the possible conventionality of simultaneity in Special Relativity, beginning with Reichenbach, and apply it to the debate over becoming. We see that it immediately renders Rietdijk and Putnam’s argument unsound. I end by comparing (...) my approach to others found in the literature, primarily Stein’s. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to describe and defend the moving spotlight theory of time. I characterise the moving spotlight theory as the conjunction of two theses: permanentism, the thesis that everything exists forever, and the A-theory, the thesis that there is an absolute, objective present time. I begin in Sect. 2 by clearing up some common misconceptions about the moving spotlight theory, focusing on the discussion of the theory in Sider. In doing so, I also fill-out the barebones (...) picture of the moving spotlight theory as the conjunction of permanentism and the A-theory. In Sect. 3 I show how moving spotlighters can avoid the two common objections to their view, the McTaggartian argument that the view is contradictory, and the epistemic argument that the view implies that we should believe we are not located at the present moment. I conclude that the moving spotlight theory does not deserve its current relative unpopularity. (shrink)
Presentists have typically argued that the Block View is incapable of explaining our experience of time. In this paper I argue that the phenomenology of our experience of time is, on the contrary, against presentism. My argument is based on a dilemma: presentists must either assume that the metaphysical present has no temporal extension, or that it is temporally extended. The former horn leads to phenomenological problems. The latter renders presentism metaphysically incoherent, unless one posits a discrete present that, however, (...) suffers from the same difficulties that the instantaneous present is prone to. After introducing the main phenomenological models of our experience of time that are discussed in the literature, I show that none of them favors presentism. I conclude by arguing that if even the phenomenology of time sides against presentism, the latter metaphysical theory has no scientific evidence in its favor and ought to be dropped. (shrink)
Presentism is held by most to be the intuitive theory of time, due in large part to the view's supposed preservation of time's passage. In this paper, I strike a blow against presentism's intuitive pull by showing how the presentist, contrary to overwhelming popular belief, is unable to establish temporal change upon which the passage of time is based. I begin by arguing that the presentist's two central ontological commitments, the Present Thesis and the Change Thesis, are incompatible. The main (...) problem is that satisfying the Change Thesis to establish passage requires the existence of more than one moment. This conflicts with the Present Thesis that only the present moment exists. The presentist's response is to appeal to surrogates to stand proxy for the past, so as to account for the difference between what does exist and what did exist. I argue that, for this surrogate strategy to be successful, the proposed surrogates must track what actually happened. I demonstrate that there is no guarantee that t.. (shrink)
I S.Steven F. Savitt - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50:19-24.details
Richard Arthur and I proposed that the present in Minkowski spacetime should be thought of as a small causal diamond. That is, given two timelike separated events p and q, with p earlier than q, they suggested that the present is the set I+ ∩ I-. Mauro Dorato presents three criticisms of this proposal. I rebut all three and then offer two more plausible criticisms of the Arthur/Savitt proposal. I argue that these criticisms also fail.
Temporal aspects dwell both in the world around us and at the core of our experience of it. Reality, thought, and language all seem to be imbibed in temporality at some level or another. It is thus not surprising that philosophers who have to face the problems of understanding time have resorted to tools from different spheres of investigation, and often at the points of overlap of these areas. Metaphysics, philosophy of physics and science in general, philosophy of language, phenomenology, (...) philosophy of mind, the study of perception and cognition, but also anthropology, sociology, and history of culture, art, and ideas all contain theories and reflections that are crucial to our understanding and experience of time. Many recent debates in analytic philosophy have tackled in different ways the question of whether the sensation of the passage of time that seems to characterise our ordinary experience should be understood as reflecting some obje .. (shrink)
This paper argues for a certain kind of anti-metaphysicalism about the temporal ontology debate, i.e., the debate between presentists and eternalists over the existence of past and future objects. Three different kinds of anti-metaphysicalism are defined—namely, non-factualism, physical-empiricism, and trivialism. The paper argues for the disjunction of these three views. It is then argued that trivialism is false, so that either non-factualism or physical-empiricism is true. Finally, the paper ends with a discussion of whether we should endorse non-factualism or physical-empiricism. (...) An initial reason is provided for thinking that non-factualism might be true, but in the end, the paper leaves this question open. The paper also argues against a certain kind of necessitarianism about the temporal ontology debate; but this isn't an extra job—the falsity of this necessitarian view falls out of the other arguments as a sort of corollary. (shrink)
This paper motivates and develops a new theory of time: priority presentism. Priority presentism is the view according to which (i) only present entities exist fundamentally and (ii) past and future entities exist, but they are grounded in the present. The articulation of priority presentism is an exercise in applied grounding: it draws on concepts from the recent literature on ontological dependence and applies those concepts in a new way, to the philosophy of time. The result, as I will argue, (...) is an attractive position that can do much of the same work in satisfying our intuitions about time as presentism, but without the ontological cost. (shrink)
I give a new and more general argument against presentism within relativistic spacetimes. This argument is untouched by different recent proposals designed to save presentism in a relativistic setting.
Presentism is, roughly, the metaphysical doctrine that maintains that whatever exists, exists in the present. The compatibility of presentism with the theories of special and general relativity was much debated in recent years. It has been argued that at least some versions of presentism are consistent with time-orientable models of general relativity. In this paper we confront the thesis of presentism with relativistic physics, in the strong gravitational limit where black holes are formed. We conclude that the presentist position is (...) at odds with the existence of black holes and other compact objects in the universe. A revision of the thesis is necessary, if it is intended to be consistent with the current scientific view of the universe. (shrink)
Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as the supervenience base for (...) the truth of past-directed propositions. In this paper, I argue that a fundamentally tensed approach to truthmaking is implausible because it requires the existence of cross-temporal supervenience relations, which are anathema to presentism. (shrink)
Is the objective passage of time compatible with relativistic physics? There are two easy routes to an affirmative answer: (1) provide a deflationary analysis of passage compatible with the block universe, or (2) argue that a privileged global present is compatible with relativity. (1) does not take passage seriously. (2) does not take relativity seriously. This paper is concerned with the viability of views that seek to take both passage and relativity seriously. The investigation proceeds by considering how traditional A-theoretic (...) conceptions of passage might be generalized to relativistic space-times without incorporating a privileged global present. I argue that the most promising position marries the idea that open possibilities for the future are settled as time passes with a ‘non-standard’ interpretation of the relevant formal models. (shrink)
One of the major difficulties facing presentism is the problem of causation. In this paper, I propose a new solution to that problem, one that is compatible with intrinsic, fundamental causal relations. Accommodating relations of this kind is important because (i) according to David Lewis (2004), such relations are needed to account for causation in our world and worlds relevantly similar to our own, (ii) there is no other strategy currently available that successfully reconciles presentism with relations of this kind (...) and (iii) resolving the problem of causation by accommodating intrinsic, fundamental causal relations provides the presentist with a far more general solution to the problem of causation than those currently on offer. (shrink)
Within philosophy of physics it is broadly accepted that presentism as an empirical hypothesis has been falsified by the development of special relativity. In this paper, I identify and reject an assumption common to both presentists and advocates of the block universe, and then offer an alternative version of presentism that does not begin from spatiotemporal structure, which is an empirical hypothesis, and which has yet to be falsified. I fear that labelling it “presentism” dooms the view, but I don’t (...) know what else to call it. (shrink)
Relativity allegedly contradicts presentism, the dynamic view of time and reality, according to which temporal passage is conceived of as an existentially distinguished ‘moving’ now. Against this common belief, the paper motivates a presentist interpretation of spacetime: It is argued that the fundamental concept of time—proper time—cannot be characterized by the earlier-later relation, i.e., not in the B-theoretical sense. Only the presentist can provide a temporal understanding of the twins’ paradox and of universes with closed timelike curves.
I argue for a four dimensional, non-dynamical view of space-time, where becoming is not an intrinsic property of reality. This view has many features in common with the Parmenidean conception of the universe. I discuss some recent objections to this position and I offer a comparison of the Parmenidean space-time with an interpretation of Heraclitus’ thought that presents no major antagonism.
This paper maintains (following Yougrau 1987; 2000 and Hinchliff 1996) that the dead and other former existents count as examples of non-existent objects. If the dead number among the things there are, a further question arises: what is it to be dead—how should the state of being dead be characterised? It is argued that this state should be characterised negatively: the dead are not persons, philosophers etc. They lack any of the (intrinsic) qualities they had while they lived. The only (...) facts involving the dead are facts about the relations they stand in—including the relations they bear to the qualities they formerly instantiated, and the intentional relations they stand in to us. Given an appropriate conception of qualities the dead can be said to be quality-less objects: bare particulars. The ‘Bare Particular Theory’ of individuals, it is argued, is coherent if and only if it concedes that the bare particulars it allows for don’t exist. The account of the dead and other former existents as bare particulars does justice to the misfortune of death, and points the way to a general theory of nonexistent objects. (shrink)
Years ago, Michael Dummett defended McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, arguing that it cannot be dismissed as guilty of an “indexical fallacy.” Recently, E. J. Lowe has disputed Dummett’s claims for the cogency of the argument. I offer an elaboration and defense of Dummett’s interpretation of the argument (though not of its soundness). I bring to bear some work on tense from the philosophy of language, and some recent work on the concept of the past as it occurs (...) in memory, in an effort to support the claim that McTaggart is not guilty of any simple indexical fallacy. Along the way I criticize an account of what is at stake in disputes about the reality of tense due to A. W. Moore, and I argue for the superiority of the conception of tense-realism that is implicit in McTaggart’s work. The paper is intended to prepare the ground for a substantive defense of the reality of tense. (shrink)
In a lot of domains in metaphysics the tacit assumption has been that whichever metaphysical principles turn out to be true, these will be necessarily true. Let us call necessitarianism about some domain the thesis that the right metaphysics of that domain is necessary. Necessitarianism has flourished. This paper considers why this is so and considers domains in which contingentism has been defended.
Kurt Gödel made many affirmations of robust realism but also showed serious engagement with the idealist tradition, especially with Leibniz, Kant, and Husserl. The root of this apparently paradoxical attitude is his conviction of the power of reason. The paper explores the question of how Gödel read Kant. His argument that relativity theory supports the idea of the ideality of time is discussed critically, in particular attempting to explain the assertion that science can go beyond the appearances and ‘approach the (...) things’. Leibniz and post-Kantian idealism are discussed more briefly, the latter as documented in the correspondence with Gotthard Günther. (shrink)
Disposition ascription has been discussed a good deal over the last few decades, as has the revisionary metaphysical view of ordinary, persisting objects known as 'fourdimensionalism'. However, philosophers have not merged these topics and asked whether four-dimensional objects can be proper subjects of dispositional predicates. This paper seeks to remedy this oversight. It argues that, by and large, four-dimensional objects are not suited to take dispositional predicates.
Although C. D. Broad's notion of Becoming has received a fair amount of attention in the philosophy-of-time literature, there are no serious attempts to show how to replace the standard 'block' spacetime models by models that are more congenial to Broad's idea that the sum total of existence is continuously increased by Becoming or the coming into existence of events. In the Newtonian setting Broad-type models can be constructed in a cheating fashion by starting with a Newtonian block model, carving (...) chips off the block, and assembling the chips in an appropriately structured way. However, attempts to construct Broad-type models in a non-cheating fashion reveal a number of problematic aspects of Becoming that have not received adequate attention in the literature. The paper then turns to an assessment of the problem and prospects of adapting Becoming models to relativistic spacetimes. The results of the assessment differ in both minor and major ways from the ones in the extant literature. Finally, the paper describes how the causal set approach to quantum gravity promises to provide a mechanism for realizing Becoming, though the form of Becoming that emerges may not conform to any of the versions discussed in the philosophical literature. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a theory of local temporality, sometimes referred to as a point-present theory. This theory has the great advantage that it allows for the possibility of an open future without requiring any alterations to our standard understanding of special relativity. Such theories, however, have regularly been rejected out of hand as metaphysically incoherent. After surveying the debate, I argue that such a transformation of temporal concepts (i) is suggested by the indexical semantics of tense in a (...) relativistic universe, (ii) when properly understood easily withstands the usual accusations of metaphysical incoherence and (iii) leads naturally to a meta-philosophical position from which we can understand and escape the increasing sterility of debates between radical Parmenideans and radical Heracliteans in the philosophy of time. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is two fold: first, I look to show Oaklander’s (The ontology of time. New York: Prometheus Books, 2004) theory of time to be false. Second, I show that the only way to salvage the B-theory is via the adopting of the causal theory of time, and allying this to Oaklander’s claim that tense is to be eliminated. I then raise some concerns with the causal theory of time. My conclusion is that, if one adopts eternalism, (...) the unreality of time looks a better option than the B-theory. (shrink)
Analytic metaphysics is in resurgence; there is renewed and vigorous interest in topics such as time, causation, persistence, parthood and possible worlds. We who share this interest often pay lip-service to the idea that metaphysics should be informed by modern science; some take this duty very seriously.2 But there is also a widespread suspicion that science cannot really contribute to metaphysics, and that scientific findings grossly underdetermine metaphysical claims. For some, this prompts the thought ‘so much the worse for metaphysics’; (...) others mutter ‘so much the worse for science’. (shrink)
Tenseless theories of time entail that the only temporal properties exemplified by events are earlier than, simultaneous with, and later than. Such an account seems to conflict with our common experience of time, which suggests that the present moment is ontologically unique and that time flows. Some have argued that only a tensed account of time, one in which past, present and future are objective properties, can do justice to our experience. Any theory that claims that the world is different (...) from how we experience it must nonetheless be consistent with the having of that experience. Accordingly, in this essay I defend the tenseless theory by arguing that it can indeed account for certain key features of our experience of time without recourse to tensed properties. (shrink)