In B. Mölder, V. Arstila & P. Øhrstrøm (eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time. Springer. pp. 69-100 (2016)

Sean Enda Power
University of Leeds (PhD)
Different ways of thinking about presence can have significant consequences for one's thinking about temporal experience. Temporal presence can be conceived of as either absolute or relative. Relative presence is analogous to spatial presence, whereas absolute presence is not. For each of these concepts of presence, there is a theory of time which holds that this is how presence really is. For the A-theory, temporal presence is absolute; it is a special moment in time, a time defined by events in what has been called the A-series. For the B-theory, temporal presence is relative ; it is itself defined relative to moments in time, a time defined by events in the B-series. Many A-theorists go further to claim that the present is the only real moment in time; the past and future are unreal. One can have different sets of problems depending on whether one thinks in terms of absolute presence or relative presence. For example, there is the concept of the 'specious' present – a duration many theorists claim that we perceptually experience. It is argued in this paper that the specious present has problems given absolute presence, which it does not have given relative presence. Many of the problems are avoided by having an extended present. However, A-theory, the standard theory of time which advocates absolute presence, cannot have an extended present. Further, the best solution for absolute presence which is extended, durational presentism, involves denying the standard theories in the philosophy of time.
Keywords Presence  Specious present  relativity  A-theory  B-theory  Presentism  Eternalism  Subjective time  Objective time
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