Eternalism

Edited by Sam Baron (University of Melbourne)
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  1. Time Remains.Sean Gryb & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):663-705.
    On one popular view, the general covariance of gravity implies that change is relational in a strong sense, such that all it is for a physical degree of freedom to change is for it to vary with regard to a second physical degree of freedom. At a quantum level, this view of change as relative variation leads to a fundamentally timeless formalism for quantum gravity. Here, we will show how one may avoid this acute ‘problem of time’. Under our view, (...)
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  2. Presentism and the Experience of Time.Mauro Dorato - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):265-275.
    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, (...)
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  3. No longer true.Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete - manuscript
    There are sentences that express the same temporally fully specified proposition at all contexts--call them 'context-insensitive, temporally specific sentences.' Sentence (1) 'Obama was born in 1961' is a case in point: at all contexts, it expresses the proposition ascribing to the year 1961 the property of being a time in which Obama was born. Suppose that someone uttered (1) in a context located on Christmas 2000 in our world. In this context, (1) is a true sentence about the past. Moreover, (...)
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  4. Temporal Scattering.William Bynoe - manuscript
    I show that the Eternalist faces a trilemma. Given their theory of time, three claims are each very plausible, yet together form an inconsistent triad. Denying any one of these claims will have significant consequences for how they can conceive of the material realm. I urge that the best strategy is to deny the first claim, and show that this would have a significant consequence: Perdurantism is false.
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  5. Momentum and Context.Hans Halvorson - manuscript
    A sentence's meaning may depend on the state of motion of the speaker. I argue that this context-sensitivity blocks the inference from special relativity to four-dimensionalism.
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  6. The Time Flow Manifesto Chapter 4 Metaphysical Time Flow.Andrew Holster - manuscript
    In the philosophy of time, the neo-positivist is focussed above all else on sustaining the view called the static theory of time, as the very foundation of their scientific metaphysics. This is the deeply held metaphysical conviction of almost all ‘modern philosophical-scientific’ writers on time. In fact it is hardly too much to say that the entire official modern 20th Century philosophy of physics rests on the assumption that the static theory of space-time is the only concept of time we (...)
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  7. A Believable A-Theory.Alexander Jackson - manuscript
    The A-theory of time is plagued by certain standard armchair problems: the presentism–eternalism dilemma, the problem of truth-makers, the alleged impossibility of cross-temporal relations, and the problem of temporary intrinsics. These challenges supposedly force A-theories to make incredible claims. I argue that these challenges are not deep antinomies in common sense, but rest on avoidable mistakes. Then I present a new A-theory that shows what’s possible once we move past the old problems. On this proposal, time’s passing is a metaphysically (...)
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  8. Time as Narrative: an Ontological Daydream.Marcos Wagner Da Cunha - manuscript
    A thought experiment on the ultimate non-essence of Time.
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  9. On Explaining Temporally Asymmetric Experiences.David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    Ismael aims for an understanding of the nature of an embedded perspective of agents in a world. If successful, this would explain a cluster of ways in which from an embedded perspective, we experience the world in an array of temporally asymmetric ways. Moreover, these are ways that have led many philosophers to rather metaphysically inflationary views about the nature of time, according to which time itself really is dynamical, and is characterized by the movement of an objectively (i.e., non-perspectival) (...)
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  10. Pantheism, Omnisubjectivity, and the Feeling of Temporal Passage.Andrei A. Buckareff - forthcoming - Religions.
    By “pantheism” I mean to pick out a model of God on which God is identical with the totality of existents constitutive of the universe. I assume that, on pantheism, God is an omnispatiotemporal mind who is identical with the universe. I assume that, given divine omnispatiotemporality, God knows everything that can be known in the universe. This includes having knowledge de se of the minds of every conscious creature. Hence, if God has knowledge de se of the minds of (...)
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  11. Center Indifference and Skepticism.David Builes - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Many philosophers have been attracted to a restricted version of the principle of indifference in the case of self-locating belief. Roughly speaking, this principle states that, within any given possible world, one should be indifferent between different hypotheses concerning who one is within that possible world, so long as those hypotheses are compatible with one’s evidence. My first goal is to defend a more precise version of this principle. After responding to several existing criticisms of such a principle, I argue (...)
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  12. An Empirical Argument for Presentism.David Builes & Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    According to orthodoxy, our best physical theories strongly support Eternalism over Presentism. Our goal is to argue against this consensus, by arguing that a certain overlooked aspect of our best physical theories strongly supports Presentism over Eternalism.
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  13. The Moving Spotlight.Ross Cameron & Daniel Deasy - forthcoming - In Nina Emery (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Time. Routledge.
    We examine moving spotlight theories of time: theories according to which there are past and future events and an objective present moment. In Section 1, we briefly discuss the origins of the view. In Section 2, we describe the traditional moving spotlight view, which we understand as an ‘enriched’ B-theory of time, and raise some problems for that view. In the next two sections, we describe versions of the moving spotlight view that we think are better and which solve those (...)
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  14. Advice for Eleatics.Sam Cowling - forthcoming - In Chris Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods.
    Eleaticism ties ontology to causality by denying the impossibility of causally inert entities. This paper examines some challenges regarding the proper formulation and general plausibility of Eleaticism. After suggesting how Eleatics ought to respond to these challenges, I consider the prospects for extending Eleaticism from ontology to ideology by requiring all primitive ideology to be causal in nature. Surprisingly enough, the resulting view delivers an eternalist and possibilist metaphysical picture in the neighborhood of Lewisian modal realism.
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  15. What Quine (and Carnap) might say about contemporary metaphysics of time.Natalja Deng - forthcoming - In Frederique Janssen-Lauret (ed.), Quine, Structure, and Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter explores some of the relations between Quine’s and Carnap’s metaontological stances on the one hand, and contemporary work in the metaphysics of time, on the other. Contemporary metaphysics of time, like analytic metaphysics in general, grew out of the revival of the discipline that Quine’s critique of the logical empiricists (such as Carnap) made possible. At the same time, the metaphysics of time has, in some respects, strayed far from its Quinean roots. This chapter examines some likely Quinean (...)
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  16. Time, Metaphysics of.Natalja Deng - forthcoming - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Metaphysics is the part of philosophy that asks questions about the nature of reality – about what there is, and what it is like. The metaphysics of time is the part of the philosophy of time that asks questions about the nature of temporal reality. One central such question is that of whether time passes or flows, or whether it has a dynamic aspect.
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  17. The Affective and Practical Consequences of Presentism and Eternalism.Mauro Dorato - forthcoming - Argumenta.
    In the dispute between presentism and eternalism, the affective dimensions of the debate have been somewhat neglected. Contemporary philosophers of time have not tried to relate these ontological positions with two of the most discussed maxims in the history of ethics – “live in the present” vs. “look at your life under the aspect of the eternity” (sub specie aeternitatis)– that since the Hellenistic times have been regarded as strictly connected with them. Consequently, I raise the question of whether the (...)
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  18. Productive Laws in Relativistic Spacetimes.Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    One of the most intuitive views about the metaphysics of laws of nature is Tim Maudlin's idea of a Fundamental Law of Temporal Evolution. So-called FLOTEs are primitive elements of the universe that produce later states from earlier states. While FLOTEs are at home in traditional Newtonian and non-relativistic quantum mechanical theories (not to mention our pre-theoretic conception of the world), I consider here whether they can be made to work with relativity. In particular, shifting to relativistic spacetimes poses two (...)
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  19. Review of Patrick Todd, The Open Future. Why Future Contingents are All False. [REVIEW]David P. Hunt - forthcoming - Zeitschrift Für Theologie Und Philosophie.
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  20. Time and Modality.Samuele Iaquinto - forthcoming - In Nina Emery (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Time. Routledge.
    Time and modality show remarkable similarities. Each of the most discussed theories in philosophy of time finds an analogous counterpart in modal metaphysics, suggesting that the parallel between the two notions is metaphysically deep. This chapter offers a brief overview of their analogies. Section 1 addresses the analogy between presentism and actualism. Section 2 explores the analogy between non-presentist theories and possibilism. Section 3 discusses the analogy between temporal and modal persistence.
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  21. Presentism and Eternalism.David Ingram - forthcoming - In Nina Emery (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Time. Routledge.
    Presentism and Eternalism are competing views about the ontological and temporal structure of the world, introduced and demarcated by their answers to questions about what exists and whether what exists changes. The goal of this chapter is to give the reader a clear understanding of Presentism and Eternalism, and a sense of some considerations used to critically assess the views by briefly rehearsing some of the main philosophical problems facing them.
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  22. Meaning in Life and the Nature of Time.Ned Markosian - forthcoming - In The Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Many of the leading accounts of what makes a life meaningful are goal-based theories, according to which it is the pursuit of some specific goal (such as love for things that are worthy of love) that gives meaning to our lives. In this chapter I consider how these goal-based theories of meaning in life interact with the two main theories of the nature of time that have been defended in the recent metaphysics literature, namely, The Dynamic Theory of Time and (...)
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  23. On the Moral Problems Raised by the Existence of Personites.Andrew Russo & Martin Montminy - forthcoming - Mind.
    According to the worm theory, persons are (maximal) aggregates of person-stages existing at different times. Personites, on the other hand, are non-maximal aggregates of stages that are very much like persons. Their existence appears to make instances of prudential self-sacrifice morally problematic: the personites that exist at the time of the sacrifice but not at the time of the reward seem not to receive future compensation for their sacrifice. Instances of punishment appear to give rise to a similar problem. We (...)
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  24. The Great Loop: From Conformal Cyclic Cosmology to Aeon Monism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2024 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie.
    Penrose's conformal cyclic cosmology describes the cosmos as a collection of successive universes, the so-called aeons. The beginning and ending of our universe are directly connected to two other, anterior and posterior, universes. Penrose considers but rules out a different interpretation of conformal cyclic cosmology: that the beginning of our universe is connected to its own end in a cosmic loop. The paper argues that the view, aeon monism, should be regarded as a natural interpretation of conformal cyclic cosmology and (...)
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  25. Heraclitean Flux Metaphysics.Andrew Dennis Bassford - 2023 - Metaphysica: International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 24 (2):299-322.
    This essay offers an original interpretation and defense of the doctrine of flux, as it is presented in Plato’s Theaetetus. The methodology of the paper’s analysis is in the style of rational reconstruction, and it is highly analytic in scope, in the sense that I will focus on the text itself, and only on certain parts of it too, while ignoring the rest of Plato’s extensive corpus, and without worrying about whether, how, and to what extent the interpretation of the (...)
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  26. A Humean Non-Humeanism.David Builes - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (3):1031-1048.
    How should we account for the extraordinary regularity in the world? Humeans and Non-Humeans sharply disagree. According to Non-Humeans, the world behaves in an extraordinarily regular way because of certain necessary connections in nature. However, Humeans have thought that Non-Humean views are metaphysically objectionable. In particular, there are two general metaphysical principles that Humeans have found attractive that are incompatible with all existing versions of Non-Humeanism. My goal in this paper is to develop a novel version of Non-Humeanism that is (...)
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  27. Existence is No Thing: Existents, Transience and Fixity.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2023 - Eternity and Contradiction. Journal of Fundamental Ontology 5 (8):43-68.
    Considering whether existence, i.e., being, is a thing might seem like the height of aimless metaphysical chin stroking. However, the issue—specifically, whether existence is a quality—is significant, bearing on how reality, this all-encompassing totality, is. On one view, reality at large is ontologically fixed, the sum total of things does not (and cannot) vary; on another view, reality is ontologically transient, the sum total of things varies. I first show that if existence is a thing, that reality is ontologically fixed (...)
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  28. Temporal experience and the present in George P. Adams’ eternalism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2023 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (2):355-376.
    In the early twentieth century, many philosophers in America thought that time should be taken seriously in one way or another. George P. Adams (1882-1961) argued that the past, present and future are all real but only the present is actual. I call this theory ‘actualist eternalism’. In this paper, I articulate his novel brand of eternalism as one piece of his metaphysical system and I explain how he argued for the view in light of the best explanations of temporal (...)
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  29. Common-sense temporal ontology: an experimental study.Ernesto Graziani, Francesco Orilia, Elena Capitani & Roberto Burro - 2023 - Synthese 202 (6):1-39.
    Temporal ontology is the philosophical debate on the existence of the past and the future. It features a three-way confrontation between supporters of presentism (the present exists, the past and the future do not), pastism (the past and the present exist, the future does not), and eternalism (the past, the present, and the future all exist). Most philosophers engaged in this debate believe that presentism is much more in agreement with common sense than the rival views; moreover, most of them (...)
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  30. What do VR experiments teach us about time?Andrew J. Latham & Alex Holcombe - 2023 - Frontiers in Psychology 13:1082844.
    Gruber and Smith (2019) have conducted some interesting virtual reality (VR) experiments, but we think that these experiments fail to illuminate why people think that the present is special. Their experiments attempted to test a suggestion by Hartle (2005) that with VR one might construct scenarios in which people experience the same present twice. If that’s possible, then it could give us a reason to think that when we experience the present as being special, that’s not because it’s objectively so. (...)
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  31. Paradoxes of Time Travel to the Future.Sara Bernstein - 2022 - In Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This paper brings two fresh perspectives on Lewis’s theory of time travel. First: many key aspects and theoretical desiderata of Lewis’s theory can be captured in a framework that does not commit to eternalism about time. Second: implementing aspects of Lewisian time travel in a non-eternalist framework provides theoretical resources for a better treatment of time travel to the future. While time travel to the past has been extensively analyzed, time travel to the future has been comparatively underexplored. I make (...)
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  32. Look at the time!David Builes - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):15-23.
    I argue that we can get evidence for the temporal ontology of the universe simply by looking at the time. The argument is an extension of the ‘epistemic objection’ towards Growing Block theories.
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  33. The Modal Moving Spotlight Theory.Daniel Deasy - 2022 - Mind 131 (524):1195-1215.
    Say that the Moving Spotlight Theory (MST) combines the following three theses: A-THEORY : There is an absolute distinction between present and non-present time.
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  34. The Metaphysics of Ockhamism.Andrea Iacona - 2022 - In Alessio Santelli (ed.), Ockhamism and Philosophy of Time: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues concerning Future Contingents. Springer.
    This paper investigates Ockhamism from a metaphysical point of view. Its main point is that the claim that future contingents are true or false is less demanding than usually expected, as it does not require particularly contentious assumptions about the future. First it will be argued that Ockhamism is consistent with a wide range of metaphysical views. Then it will be shown that each of these views leaves room for the claim that the future is open, at least on some (...)
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  35. Five New Arguments for The Dynamic Theory of Time.Ned Markosian - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):158-181.
    According to The Static Theory of Time, time is like space in various ways, and there is no such thing as the passage of time. According to The Dynamic Theory of Time, on the other hand, time is very different from space, and the passage of time is an all-too-real phenomenon. This paper first offers some suggestions about how we should understand these two theories, and then introduces five new arguments for The Dynamic Theory of Time.
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  36. Commentary: Physical time within human time.Kristie Miller & Danqi Wang - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    Gruber et al. (2022) and Buonomano and Rovelli (Forthcoming) aim to render Q18 consistent the picture of time delivered to us by physics, with the way time seems to us in experience. Their general approach is similar; they take the picture of our world given to us in physics, a picture on which there is no global “moving” present and hence no robust temporal flow, and attempt to explain why things nevertheless seem to us as they do, given that our (...)
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  37. Eternalism and the problem of hyperplanes.Matias Slavov - 2022 - Ratio 35 (2):91-103.
    Eternalism is the view that the past, the present and the future exist simpliciter. A typical argument in favor of this view leans on the relativity of simultaneity. The ‘equally real with’ relation is assumed to be transitive between spacelike separated events connected by hyperplanes of simultaneity. This reasoning is in tension with the conventionality of simultaneity. Conventionality indicates that, even within a specific frame, simultaneity is based on the choice of the synchronization parameter. Hence the argument for eternalism is (...)
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  38. Four-dimensionalism, eternalism, and deprivationist accounts of the evil of death.Andrew Brenner - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13643-13660.
    Four-dimensionalists think that we persist over time by having different temporal parts at each of the times at which we exist. Eternalists think that all times are equally real. Deprivationists think that death is an evil for the one who dies because it deprives them of something. I argue that four-dimensionalist eternalism, conjoined with a standard deprivationist account of the evil of death, has surprising implications for what we should think about the evil of death. In particular, given these assumptions, (...)
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  39. Powers, Processes, and Time.Giacomo Giannini - 2021 - Erkenntnis (6):1-25.
    In this paper I argue that even the most radical metaphysics of powers (such as that adopted by Mumford & Anjum, Cartwright, or Groff) are compatible with eternalism. I first offer a taxonomy of powers ontologies, and attempt to characterise the difference between moderate and radical powers ontologies – the latter are characterised by an emphasis on production and dynamicity. I consider an argument by C. Friebe to the effect that the productive character of powers is inconsistent with Eternalism and (...)
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  40. An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Direction in our Concept of Time.Andrew J. Latham, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (1):25-47.
    This paper empirically investigates one aspect of the folk concept of time by testing how the presence or absence of directedness impacts judgements about whether there is time in a world. Experiment 1 found that dynamists, showed significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in dynamically directed worlds than in non-dynamical non-directed worlds. Comparing our results to those we describe in Latham et al., we report that while ~ 70% of dynamists say there is time in B-theory worlds, (...)
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  41. Théorie des cordes, gravité quantique à boucles et éternalisme.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - In Alexandre Declos & Claudine Tiercelin (eds.), La Métaphysique du Temps: Perspectives Contemporaines. Collège de France.
    L'éternalisme, la thèse selon laquelle les entités que nous catégorisons comme étant passées, présentes et futures existent tout autant, est la meilleure approche ontologique de l'existence temporelle qui soit en accord avec les théories de la relativité restreinte et de la relativité générale. Cependant, les théories de la relativité restreinte et générale ne sont pas fondamentales si bien que plusieurs programmes de recherche tentent de trouver une théorie plus fondamentale de la gravité quantique rassemblant tous les enseignements de la physique (...)
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  42. Aquinas on the Existence of the Future: A Response to Gili.Damiano Costa - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (3):225-235.
    I defend my paper “Aquinas, Geach, and Existence”[1]against objections from Luca Gili, who argued that, according to Aquinas, future contingents do not enjoy genuine existence but exist in God’s mind only.[1] Damiano Costa, “Aquinas, Geach, and existence”, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11, no. 3.
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  43. From Spacetime to Space and Time: A Reply to Markosian.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):456-462.
    In a recent article, Ned Markosian gives an argument against four-dimensionalism understood as the view that time is one of four identical dimensions that constitute a single four-dimensional manifold. In this paper, I show that Markosian attacks a straw man as his argument targets a theory known to be false on empirical grounds. Four-dimensionalism rightly conceived in no way entails that time is identical to space. I then address two objections raised by Markosian against four-dimensionalism rightly conceived.
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  44. String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity and Eternalism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10:17.
    Eternalism, the view that what we regard locally as being located in the past, the present and the future equally exists, is the best ontological account of temporal existence in line with special and general relativity. However, special and general relativity are not fundamental theories and several research programs aim at finding a more fundamental theory of quantum gravity weaving together all we know from relativistic physics and quantum physics. Interestingly, some of these approaches assert that time is not fundamental. (...)
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  45. A memória episódica, o problema da cotemporalidade, e o senso comum.César Schirmer Dos Santos - 2020 - In Giovanni Rolla & Gerson Albuquerque de Araújo Neto (eds.), Ciência e Conhecimento. Editora da Universidade Federal do Piauí. pp. 151-180.
    Os realistas diretos sobre a memória episódica alegam que um sujeito que lembra está em contato direto com um evento passado. No entanto, como seria possível estar em contato direto com um evento que deixou de existir? Este é o assim-chamado problema da cotemporalidade. A solução padrão para este problema, a qual foi proposta por Sven Bernecker, consiste em distinguir entre, por um lado, a ocorrência de um evento, e, por outro lado, a existência de um evento, de modo que (...)
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  46. Eternalism and Perspectival Realism About the ‘Now’.Matias Slavov - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1398-1410.
    Eternalism is the view that all times are equally real. The relativity of simultaneity in special relativity backs this up. There is no cosmically extended, self-existing ‘now.’ This leads to a tricky problem. What makes statements about the present true? I shall approach the problem along the lines of perspectival realism and argue that the choice of the perspective does. To corroborate this point, the Lorentz transformations of special relativity are compared to the structurally similar equations of the Doppler effect. (...)
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  47. The Block Universe: A Philosophical Investigation in Four Dimensions.Pieter Thyssen - 2020 - Dissertation, Ku Leuven
    The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to closely explore the nature of Einstein’s block universe and to tease out its implications for the nature of time and human freedom. Four questions, in particular, are central to this dissertation, and set out the four dimensions of this philosophical investigation: (1) Does the block universe view of time follow inevitably from the theory of special relativity? (2) Is there room for the passage of time in the block universe? (3) Can we (...)
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  48. Gallifrey Falls No More: Doctor Who’s Ontology of Time.Kevin S. Decker - 2019 - Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 2:1-21.
    Despite being time-travel adventure series, both classic Doctor Who (1963-1989, 1996) and its reboot (2005-present) have not seen the development of a coherent ontology of time for their fictional universe. As such, it is extremely difficult to review established theories of the nature of time in an attempt to shoe-horn Doctor Who into an existing framework. Difficulties include the evolution of the views of the central character, the alien “Doctor,” from a position that insists “time can’t be rewritten” to its (...)
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  49. Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):195-211.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...)
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  50. Naïve Realism, Seeing Stars, and Perceiving the Past.Alex Moran - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1):202-232.
    It seems possible to see a star that no longer exists. Yet it also seems right to say that what no longer exists cannot be seen. We therefore face a puzzle, the traditional answer to which involves abandoning naïve realism in favour of a sense datum view. In this article, however, I offer a novel exploration of the puzzle within a naïve realist framework. As will emerge, the best option for naïve realists is to embrace an eternalist view of time, (...)
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