Eternalism and the Passage of Time

Abstract

This thesis considers the relationship between the ontology of time and the passage of time, and concludes that the best way to understand this relationship is found in the combination of eternalism with the view that the passage of time is an objective, irreducible fact about the spatio-temporal world. The steps I take to reach this conclusion are as follows: first, I propose that eternalism is the best ontological basis from which to consider temporal passage; second, I argue that the moving spotlight theory, which attempts to reconcile eternalism with temporal passage, is an inadequate representation of the relationship between eternalism and temporal passage; third, I suggest that temporal passage is best understood as a mind-independent phenomenon. I argue that eternalism is preferable to presentism insofar as presentism suffers from inconsistencies that eternalism both avoids and easily solves. I then defend the rejection of the moving spotlight theory by an appeal to the incoherency of the moving now. Finally, I dismiss mind-dependent temporal passage in favour of mind-independent temporal passage based on the irreducibility of temporal passage in and of itself

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Kyley Ewing
University of Maryland, College Park

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