Presentism

Edited by David Ingram (University of York)
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  1. 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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  2. In Defense of Temporal Passage.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In this paper, I endorse and defend the Common Sense View of Time (CSVT), i.e. Presentism plus the A-theory of time, by arguing for the objective reality of temporal passage.
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  3. The Present.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    While the nature of the past and the future have received a lot of attention from recent analytic philosophers, the present has been somewhat neglected. I think the notion of the present is somewhat misunderstood and hope to rectify some of those misunderstandings in this essay. It is high time that this was done. Let's do it now!
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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Purely Theoretical Explanations.Giacomo Andreoletti, Jonathan Tallant & Giuliano Torrengo - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-22.
    This paper introduces a new kind of explanation that we describe as ‘purely theoretical’. We first present an example, E, of what we take to be a case of purely theoretical explanation. We then show that the explanation we have in mind does not fit neatly into any of the existing categories of explanation. We take this to give us prima facie motivation for thinking that purely theoretical explanation is a distinctive kind of explanation. We then argue that it can (...)
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  7. Ontological Pluralism About Non-Being.Sara Bernstein - forthcoming - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence.
    I develop ontological pluralism about non-being, the view that there are multiple ways, kinds, or modes of non-being. I suggest that the view is both more plausible and defensible than it first seems, and that it has many useful applications across a wide variety of metaphysical and explanatory problems. After drawing out the relationship between pluralism about being and pluralism about non-being, I discuss quantificational strategies for the pluralist about non-being. I examine historical precedent for the view. Finally, I suggest (...)
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  8. 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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  9. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False.Patrick Todd - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In The Open Future: Why Future Contingents are all False, Patrick Todd launches a sustained defense of a radical interpretation of the doctrine of the open future, one according to which all claims about undetermined aspects of the future are simply false. Todd argues that this theory is metaphysically more parsimonious than its rivals, and that objections to its logical and practical coherence are much overblown. Todd shows how proponents of this view can maintain classical logic, and argues that the (...)
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  10. Presentism Without Truth-Makers.Barry Ward - forthcoming - Chronos.
    We construct a presentist semantics on which there are no truth-makers for past and future tensed statements. The semantics is not an expressivist or projectivist one, and is not susceptible to the semantical difficulties that confront such theories. We discuss how the approach handles some standard concerns with presentism.
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  11. Can God Promise Us a New Past? A Response to Lebens and Goldschmidt.Bogdan Faul - 2020 - Open Theology 6 (1):167-174.
    Samuel Lebens and Tyron Goldschmidt provided original theodicies, which suggest that at one time God will change the past, either by erasing/substituting the sins of humans or erasing the whole entirety of evils. Both theodicies imply the idea that God can completely change the past without leaving any traces. In this paper, I argue that Lebens’ and Goldschmidt’s preferred model, which they call the scene-changing theory, is problematic. First, its complex metaphysical foundation could be replaced with presentism (roughly, the view (...)
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  12. To Be is to Persist.Dustin Gray - 2020 - Philosophy Now 141 (141):8-11.
    What does it mean for an object to persist through time? Consider the statement, ‘My car is filthy, I need to wash it.’ Consider the response, ‘How did it get that way?’ The answer is that dirt, dust and other particles have collected on the car’s surface thus making it filthy. Its properties have changed. At one point in the car’s career, none of that dirt and grime existed on its surface and the car was said to be clean. The (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Fragmentalist Presentist Perdurantism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (3):693-703.
    Perdurantists think of continuants as mereological sums of stages from different times. This view of persistence would force us to drop the idea that there is genuine change in the world. By exploiting a presentist metaphysics, Brogaard proposed a theory, called presentist four-dimensionalism, that aims to reconcile perdurantism with the idea that things undergo real change. However, her proposal commits us to reject the idea that stages must exist in their entirety. Giving up the tenet that all the stages are (...)
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  15. Presentism and Cross-Time Relations.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2019 - In Patrick Blackburn, Per Hasle & Peter Ohrstrom (eds.), Logic and Philosophy of Time: Further Themes from Prior, Vol. 2. Aalborg, Denmark: pp. 53–72.
    This paper is a partial defence of presentism against the argument from cross-time relations. It is argued, first, that the Aristotelian view of causation and persistence does not really depict these phenomena in terms of relations between entities existing at different times, and indeed excludes the possibility of such cross-time relations obtaining. Second, it is argued that to reject the existence of the past—and thereby be unable to ground the truth of claims about the past—does not lead to any absurd (...)
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  16. O dilema presentista.Matheus Diesel Werberich - 2019 - Em Curso 6 (1):105-114.
    The aim of the present paper is to show that presentism cannot answer the truthmaker objection in a satisfactory manner. For such, two main categories of presentist solutions were studied: the first kind states that truthmakers can’t provide any objection to presentism, while the second type tries to ground past truths by postulating new ontological categories, which were rejected, mainly because of their use of ad hoc ontologies. Also, I showed how the presentist should adopt antirealism about the past in (...)
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  17. What is Temporal Ontology?Natalja Deng - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):793-807.
    Temporal ontology is the part of ontology involving the rival positions of presentism, eternalism, and the growing block theory. While this much is clear, it’s surprisingly difficult to elucidate the substance of the disagreement between presentists and eternalists. Certain events happened that are not happening now; what is it to disagree about whether these events exist? In spite of widespread suspicion concerning the status and methods of analytic metaphysics, skeptics’ doubts about this debate have not generally been heeded, neither by (...)
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  18. Thisnesses, Propositions, and Truth.David Ingram - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (3):442-463.
    Presentists, who believe that only present objects exist, should accept a thisness ontology, since it can do considerable work in defence of presentism. In this paper, I propose a version of presentism that involves thisnesses of past and present entities and I argue this view solves important problems facing standard versions of presentism.
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  19. Contre les défenses du présentisme par le sens commun.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Igitur 9 (1):1-24.
    According to presentism, only the present exists. The view is in a bad dialectical situation since it has to face several objections based on physics and a priori arguments. The view remains nonetheless popular because it is, allegedly, more intuitive than alternative views, namely eternalism (past, present and future entities exist) and no-futurism (only past and present entities exist). In the essay, I shall not discuss whether intuitivity is an accurate criterion for ontological enquiry. I will rather argue that any (...)
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  20. L'éternité sans le temps.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Revue Philosophique De Louvain 116 (3):441-462.
    L'éternalisme implique une forme exotique d'éternité : toute entité, aussi éphémère soit-elle et quelle que soit sa localisation dans le temps, existe relativement à toute autre localisation temporelle. Cet essai vise, premièrement, à défendre l'éternalisme en exhibant les difficultés rédhibitoires du présentisme et du non-futurisme, et deuxièmement à examiner de quelle manière l'éternalisme pourrait être amendé à l'aune d'une affirmation que l'on trouve sous la plume de certains physiciens, à savoir que, fondamentalement, le temps n'existe pas. La disparition du temps (...)
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  21. Imprints in Time: Towards a Moderately Robust Past.Michael Longenecker - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2429-2446.
    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 (...)
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  22. The New Growing Block Theory Vs Presentism.Kristie Miller - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3):223-251.
    It was once held to be a virtue of the growing block theory that it combines temporal dynamism with a straightforward account of in virtue of what past-tensed propositions are true, and an explanation for why some future-tensed propositions are not true (assuming they are not). This put the growing block theory ahead of its principal dynamist rival: presentism. Recently, new growing block theorists have suggested that what makes true, past-tensed propositions, is not the same kind of thing as what (...)
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  23. Time Travel and the Movable Present.Sara Bernstein - 2017 - In John Keller (ed.), Being, Freedom, and Method: Themes from the Philosophy of Peter van Inwagen. pp. 80-94.
    In "Changing the Past" (2010), Peter van Inwagen argues that a time traveler can change the past without paradox in a growing block universe. After erasing the portion of past existence that generates paradox, a new, non-paradox-generating block can be "grown" after the temporal relocation of the time traveler. -/- I articulate and explore the underlying mechanism of Van Inwagen's model: the time traveler's control over the location of the objective present. Van Inwagen's model is aimed at preventing paradox by (...)
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  24. Challenging the Grounding Objection to Presentism.Rognvaldur Ingthorsson - 2017 - Manuscrito 40 (1):87-107.
    The grounding objection to presentism rests on two premises: (i) every true proposition P has a truthmaker T, and (ii) some claims about the future and past are obviously true. However, if the future and past do not exist, there can be no truthmakers for future and past tensed expressions. Presentists tend not to challenge the premises of the objection. Instead they argue that the present contains all the truthmakers we need. Presentists should challenge the premises instead. First, finding truthmakers (...)
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  25. Relativity Theory May Not Have the Last Word on the Nature of Time: Quantum Theory and Probabilism.Nicholas Maxwell - 2017 - In G. Ghirardi & S. Wuppulur (eds.), Space, Time and the Limits of Human Understanding. Springer. pp. 109-124.
    Two radically different views about time are possible. According to the first, the universe is three dimensional. It has a past and a future, but that does not mean it is spread out in time as it is spread out in the three dimensions of space. This view requires that there is an unambiguous, absolute, cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. According to the second view about time, the universe is four dimensional. It is spread out in both space and time (...)
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  26. A Taxonomy of Views About Time in Buddhist and Western Philosophy.Kristie Miller - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 67 (3):763-782.
    We find the claim that time is not real in both western and eastern philosophical traditions. In what follows I will call the view that time does not exist temporal error theory. Temporal error theory was made famous in western analytic philosophy in the early 1900s by John McTaggart (1908) and, in much the same tradition, temporal error theory was subsequently defended by Gödel (1949). The idea that time is not real, however, stretches back much further than that. It is (...)
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  27. Abstract Entities in a Presentist World.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (2):177-193.
    How can a metaphysics of abstract entities be built upon a metaphysics of time? In this paper, I address the question of how to accommodate abstract entities in a presentist world. I consider both the traditional metaontological approach of unrestricted fundamental quantification and then ontological pluralism. I argue that under the former we need to impose two constraints in the characterization of presentism in order to avoid undesired commitments to abstract entities: we have to characterize presentism as a thesis only (...)
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  28. Presentism: Foreigner-Friendly or Xenophobic?Bryan Frances - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):479-488.
    I argue that, for all we know, there are perfectly ordinary actual entities that are temporal in the usual sense and yet never present, past, or future. This epistemic fact requires us to modify the theses of presentism and eternalism. More importantly, it generates three new and quite serious objections to presentism, which I formulate and partially evaluate in this paper.
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  29. Defining Original Presentism.Jesse M. Mulder - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):29-60.
    It is surprisingly hard to define presentism. Traditional definitions of the view, in terms of tensed existence statements, have turned out not to to be capable of convincingly distinguishing presentism from eternalism. Picking up on a recent proposal by Tallant, I suggest that we need to locate the break between eternalism and presentism on a much more fundamental level. The problem is that presentists have tried to express their view within a framework that is inherently eternalist. I call that framework (...)
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  30. The Puzzle of the Changing Past.Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):59-67.
    If you utter sentence ‘Obama was born in 1961’ now, you say something true about the past. Since the past will always be such that the year 1961 has the property of being a time in which Obama was born, it seems impossible that could ever be false in a future context of utterance. We shall consider the case of a sentence about the past exactly like , but which was true when uttered a few years ago and is no (...)
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  31. Tensed Truthmaker Theory.Sam Baron - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):923-944.
    Presentism faces a serious challenge from truthmaker theory. Standard solutions to the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed in one of two ways. Easy road presentists invoke new entities to satisfy the requirements of truthmaker theory. Hard road presentists, by contrast, flatly refuse to give in to truthmaker demands. Recently, a third way has been proposed. This response seeks to address the truthmaking problem by tensing our truthmaker principles. These views, though intuitive, are under-developed. In this paper, I get serious about (...)
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  32. Present Time.Gustavo E. Romero - 2015 - Foundations of Science 20 (2):135-145.
    The idea of a moving present or ‘now’ seems to form part of our most basic beliefs about reality. Such a present, however, is not reflected in any of our theories of the physical world. I show in this article that presentism, the doctrine that only what is present exists, is in conflict with modern relativistic cosmology and recent advances in neurosciences. I argue for a tenseless view of time, where what we call ‘the present’ is just an emergent secondary (...)
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  33. Presentism and Relativity.Steven Umbrello - 2015 - The Oxford Philosopher.
    In this short paper I will be explicating and evaluating the arguments presented by Keller and Nelson in their paper, Presentists Should Believe in Time-Travel. I will show that their presuppositions, which are essential to their arguments, have the potential to devastate their position. We will see that one of these presuppositions comes into conflict with the General Theory of Relativity, and I will demonstrate that this endangers both their own agenda and presentism as a whole.
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  34. The Hard Road to Presentism.Jamin Asay & Sam Baron - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (3):314-335.
    It is a common criticism of presentism – the view according to which only the present exists – that it errs against truthmaker theory. Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed by restricting truthmaker maximalism (the view that all truths have truthmakers), maintaining that propositions concerning the past are not made true by anything, but are true nonetheless. Support for this view is typically garnered from the case for negative existential propositions, which some philosophers contend are exceptions (...)
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  35. Becoming: Temporal, Absolute, and Atemporal.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2014 - In L. Nathan Oaklander (ed.), Debates in the Metaphysics of Time. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 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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  36. In Defense of the Compossibility of Presentism and Time Travel.Thomas Hall - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (2):141-159.
    In this paper I defend the compossibility of presentism and time travel from two objections. One objection is that the presentist’s model of time leaves nowhere to travel to; the second objection attempts to equate presentist time travel with suicide. After targeting some misplaced scrutiny of the first objection, I show that presentists have the resources to account for the facts that make for time travel on the traditional Lewisian view. In light of this ability, I argue that both of (...)
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  37. Four-Dimensionalism, Evil, and Christian Belief.Ryan Mullins - 2014 - Philosophia Christi 16 (1):117-137.
    Four-dimensionalism and eternalism are theories on time, change, and persistence. Christian philosophers and theologians have adopted four-dimensional eternalism for various reasons. In this paper I shall attempt to argue that four-dimensional eternalism conflicts with Christian thought. Section I will lay out two varieties of four-dimensionalism—perdurantism and stage theory—along with the typically associated ontologies of time of eternalism and growing block. I shall contrast this with presentism and endurantism. Section II will look at some of the purported theological benefits of adopting (...)
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  38. Reflection, Conditionalization and Indeterminacy About the Future.Michael J. Shaffer - 2014 - The Reasoner 8:65-66.
    This paper shows that any view of future contingent claims that treats such claims as having indeterminate truth values or as simply being false implies probabilistic irrationality. This is because such views of the future imply violations of reflection, special reflection and conditionalization.
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  39. Ostrich Presentism.Giuliano Torrengo - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):255-276.
    Ostrich presentists maintain that we can use all the expressive resources of the tensed language to provide an explanation of why true claims about the past are true, without thereby paying any price in terms of ontology or basic ideology. I clarify the position by making a distinction between three kinds of explanation, which has general interest and applicability. I then criticize the ostrich position because it requires an unconstrained version of the third form of explanation, which is out of (...)
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  40. Tensed Supervenience: A No‐Go for Presentism.Sam Baron - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3):383-401.
    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 (...)
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  41. The Present Vs. The Specious Present.Jiri Benovsky - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):193-203.
    This article is concerned with the alleged incompatibility between presentism and specious present theories of temporal experience. According to presentism, the present time is instantaneous (or, near-instantaneous), while according to specious present theories, the specious present is temporally extended—therefore, it seems that there is no room in reality for the whole of a specious present, if presentism is true. It seems then that one of the two claims—presentism or the specious present theory—has to go. I shall argue that this kind (...)
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  42. New Papers on the Present: Focus on Presentism.Roberto Ciuni, Giuliano Torrengo & Kristie Miller (eds.) - 2013 - Philosophia Verlag.
    The book is divided into three parts. The first, containing three papers, focuses on the characterization of the central tenets of previii sentism (by Neil McKinnon) and eternalism (by Samuel Baron and Kristie Miller), and on the ‘sceptical stance’ (by Ulrich Meyer), a view to the effect that there is no substantial difference between presentism and eternalism. The second and main section of the book contains three pairs of papers that bring the main problems with presentism to the fore and (...)
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  43. Philoponus's Traversal Argument and the Beginning of Time.Spyridon George Couvalis - 2013 - Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) (Special Issue):68-78.
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  44. Endurantism and Paradox.Paul Richard Daniels - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1173-1179.
    Mereological challenges have recently been raised against the endurantist. For instance, Barker and Dowe (2003) have argued that eternalist endurantism entails (1) persisting objects are both 3D and 4D, and that (2) the lives of persisting objects last longer than they actually do. They also argue that presentist endurantism also entails, albeit in a tensed way, that (3) the lives of persisting objects last longer than they actually do. While they’ve further argued (2005) that the objections raised by McDaniel (2003) (...)
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  45. Presentism and Grounding Past Truths.Matthew Davidson - 2013 - In Roberto Ciuni, Giuliano Torrengo & Kristie Miller (eds.), New Papers on the Present: Focus on Presentism. Verlag. pp. 153-172.
    In this paper I will consider a number of responses to the grounding problem for presentism. I don’t think that the grounding problem is a damning problem for the presentist (it seems to me that presentism has much more serious problems with cross-time relations and relativity). But each of the solutions comes at a cost, and some are much pricier than others. I will set out what I take these costs to be when I examine each response to the grounding (...)
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  46. Time, Modality, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being.Akiko M. Frischhut & Alexander Skiles - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):264-273.
    We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, distinctive, and (...)
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  47. The Truth About the Past and the Future.Ned Markosian - 2013 - In Fabrice Correia & Andrea Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching Time and the Open Future. Springer. pp. 127-141.
    This paper is about The Truthmaker Problem for Presentism. I spell out a solution to the problem that involves appealing to indeterministic laws of nature and branching semantics for past- and future-tensed sentences. Then I discuss a potential glitch for this solution, and propose a way to get around that glitch. Finally, I consider some likely objections to the view offered here, as well as replies to those objections.
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  48. Presentism, Eternalism, and the Growing Block.Kristie Miller - 2013 - In Heather Dyke & Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 345-364.
    This paper has three main sections. The first section provides a general characterisation of presentism, eternalism and growing blockism. It presents a pair of core, defining claims that jointly capture each of these three views. This makes clear the respects in which the different views agree, and the respects in which they disagree, about the nature of time. The second section takes these characterisations and considers whether we really do have three distinct views, or whether defenders of these views are (...)
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  49. Passage and Perception.Simon Prosser - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):69-84.
    The nature of experience has been held to be a major reason for accepting the A-theory of time. I argue, however, that experience does not favour the A-theory over the B-theory; and that even if the A-theory were true it would not be possible to perceive the passage of time. The main argument for this draws on the constraint that a satisfactory theory of perception must explain why phenomenal characters map uniquely onto perceived worldly features. Thus, if passage is perceived, (...)
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  50. The Grounding Problem and Presentist Explanations.Giuliano Torrengo - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2047-2063.
    Opponents of presentism have often argued that the presentist has difficulty in accounting for what makes true past-tensed propositions true in a way that is compatible with her metaphysical view of time and reality. The problem is quite general and concerns not only strong truth-maker principles, but also the requirement that truth be grounded in reality. In order to meet the challenge, presentists have proposed many peculiar present aspects of the world as grounds for truths concerning the past, such as (...)
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