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The unreality of time

Mind 17 (68):457-474 (1908)

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  1. The Time of Our Lives.David Hugh Mellor - 2001 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 48:45-59.
    The article shows how McTaggart’s distinction between A- and B-series ways of locating events in time prompted and enabled the twentieth century’s most important advances in the philosophy of time. It argues that, even if the B-series represents time as it really is, because having A-series beliefs when they are true is indispensable to the causation of timely action, the A-series represents ‘the time of our lives ’.
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  • The phenomenology and metaphysics of the open future.Derek Lam - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3895-3921.
    Intuitively, the future is open and the past fixed: there is something we can do about the future but not the past. Some metaphysicians believe that a proper metaphysics of time must vindicate this intuition. Whereas philosophers have focused on the future and the past, the status of the present remains relatively unexplored. Drawing on resources from action theory, I argue that there is something we can do about the present just like there is something we can do about the (...)
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  • The Mind-Dependence of the Relational Structure of Time (Or: What Henri Bergson Would Say to B-Theorists).Sonja Deppe - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):107-124.
    Tenseless theorists assert that the relational structure of earlier/later is the essential structure of time. Using B-notions, so they think, we speak about time ‘as it is’ in a metaphysical sense and hence from the outside of our subjective perspective on it. I suggest on the contrary that the relational structure of earlier/later is part of our own intellectual structuring within the access to temporal phenomena. Furthermore it is essentially characterized by the structure of juxtaposition which originates in spatial experience (...)
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  • Against Non‐Ludovician Time.Robert E. Pezet - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (4):330-359.
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  • Against Narrative: A Preface to Lyrical Sociology.Andrew Abbott - 2007 - Sociological Theory 25 (1):67-99.
    This article develops a concept of lyrical sociology, a sociology I oppose to narrative sociology, by which I mean standard quantitative inquiry with its "narratives" of variables as well as those parts of qualitative sociology that take a narrative and explanatory approach to social life. Lyrical sociology is characterized by an engaged, nonironic stance toward its object of analysis, by specific location of both its subject and its object in social space, and by a momentaneous conception of social time. Lyrical (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Standing of the Human: A Future for the History of the Human Sciences.Steve Fuller - 2019 - History of the Human Sciences 32 (1):23-40.
    I reconstruct my own journey into the history of the human sciences, which I show to have been a process of discovering the metaphysical standing of the human. I begin with Alexandre Koyré’s encounter with Edmund Husserl in the 1930s, which I use to throw light on the legacy of Kant’s ‘anthropological’ understanding of the human, which dominated and limited 19th-century science. As I show, those who broke from Kant’s strictures and set the stage for the 20th-century revolutions in science (...)
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  • Temporal Synechism: A Peircean Philosophy of Time.Jon Alan Schmidt - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-37.
    Charles Sanders Peirce is best known as the founder of pragmatism, but the name that he preferred for his overall system of thought was ‘‘synechism’’ because the principle of continuity was its central thesis. He considered time to be the paradigmatic example and often wrote about its various aspects while discussing other topics. This essay draws from many of those widely scattered texts to formulate a distinctively Peircean philosophy of time, incorporating extensive quotations into a comprehensive and coherent synthesis. Time (...)
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  • Sideways Music.Ned Markosian - 2019 - Analysis (1):anz039.
    There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within the (...)
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  • Human Imprints of Real Time: from Semantics to Metaphysics.K. M. Jaszczolt - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (5):1855-1879.
    Investigation into the reality of time can be pursued within the ontological domain or it can also span human thought and natural language. I propose to approach time by correlating three domains of inquiry: metaphysical time, the human concept of time, and temporal reference in natural language, entertaining the possibility of what I call a ‘horizontal reduction’ and ‘vertical reduction’. I present a view of temporalityL/E as epistemic modality, drawing on evidence from the L domain and its correlates in the (...)
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  • Duration Enough for Presentism.Robert E. Pezet - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (4):391-421.
    This paper considers a problem for dynamic presentism that has received little attention: its apparent inability to accommodate the duration of events. After outlining the problem, I defend presentism from it. This defence proceeds in two stages. First, I argue the objection rests on a faulty assumption: that duration is temporal extension. The paper challenges that assumption on several different ways of conceiving of temporal extension. This is the negative case and forms the bulk of the paper. Second, after diagnosing (...)
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  • The Triviality Argument Against Presentism.Daniel Deasy - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3369-3388.
    Presentism is typically characterised as the thesis that everything is present, and therefore there are no dinosaurs or Martian presidential inaugurations. Putting aside the vexed question of exactly what it is to be present in this context, this thesis seems quite straightforward. However, a number of authors—such as Merricks, Lombard, Meyer, Tallant and Sakon —have argued that Presentism so characterised is either trivially true or false even by Presentist lights. This is the so-called Triviality Argument against Presentism. In this paper (...)
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  • 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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  • Temporal Ontology and the Metaphysics of Perspectives.Olla Solomyak - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):431-453.
    The question of what exists is often seen as one of the metaphysician’s primary concerns—an ontological stance is a central and basic component of a great many positions in metaphysics. Consider, in particular, the debate surrounding the metaphysics of time: the question of whether non-present entities exist is typically thought of as one of the fundamental issues at stake in the debate, with each position on the nature of time consisting in part of an answer to this question of ontology. (...)
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  • Presentism and the Notion of Existence.Jerzy Gołosz - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (4):395-417.
    The aim of this paper is to make presentism a dynamic view of reality by basing it on a notion of dynamic existence, that is, on a notion of existence which has a dynamic character. The paper shows that both of the notions of existence which are used in metaphysical theories of time have a static character and, while such a notion is useful for eternalists, it is useless for presentists if they want to make their view able to remain (...)
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  • 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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  • A Critical Examination of Abner Shimony’s Transient Now.Brian Hepburn - unknown
    I criticize Shimony's argument from the Transient Now (Shimony 1993) that the B-series view of time is inadequate but offer a reading of that argument that is more charitable than one offered and rejected by Eilstein (1996). Shimony's argument turns on putative phenomenological features of the Now (singularity and numerical identity) but transience only arises as a logical implication of those features. Transience is thus a second order phenomenon. If these two features are accurate then the B-series cannot provide a (...)
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  • Back to Parmenides.Henrique Gomes - unknown
    After a brief introduction to issues that plague the realization of a theory of quantum gravity, I suggest that the main one concerns defining superpositions of causal structures. This leads me to a distinction between time and space, to a further degree than that present in the canonical approach to general relativity. With this distinction, one can make sense of superpositions as interference between alternative paths in the relational configuration space of the entire Universe. But the full use of relationalism (...)
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  • Space and Time in Loop Quantum Gravity.Carlo Rovelli - unknown
    Quantum gravity is expected to require modifications of the notions of space and time. I discuss and clarify how this happens in Loop Quantum Gravity.
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  • On Time Chez Dummett.Jeremy Butterfield - 2012 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 8 (1):77-102.
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  • Tiden Og Døden.Truls Wyller - 2018 - Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 53 (1):06-18.
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  • Two Fundamentally Different Perspectives on Time.Jesse Mulder - 2017 - Axiomathes 27 (3):295-320.
    Frege taught us how to understand one form of predication: an atemporal one. There is also a different, temporal form of predication, which I briefly introduce. Accordingly, there are two fundamentally different approaches to time: a reductive one, aiming to account for time in terms of Frege’s atemporal predication, and a non-reductive one, insisting that the temporal form of predication is sui generis, and that time is to be understood in its terms. I do not directly argue for or against (...)
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  • A Foundation for Presentism.Robert Pezet - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5):1809–1837.
    Presentism states that everything is present. Crucial to our understanding of this thesis is how we interpret the ‘is’. Recently, several philosophers have claimed that on any interpretation presentism comes out as either trivially true or manifestly false. Yet, presentism is meant to be a substantive and interesting thesis. I outline in detail the nature of the problem and the standard interpretative options. After unfavourably assessing several popular responses in the literature, I offer an alternative interpretation that provides the desired (...)
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  • Feel the Flow.Sam Baron - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2):609-630.
    The experience of temporal flow is, for many, the central—if not the only—reason for believing an A-theory of time. Recently, however, B-theorists have argued that experience does not, in fact, favor the A-theory. Call such an argument: a debunking argument. The goal of the present paper is to defend the A-theory against two prominent versions of the debunking argument.
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  • Fearful Asymmetry: Kierkegaard’s Search for the Direction of Time.Patrick Stokes - 2010 - Continental Philosophy Review 43 (4):485-507.
    The ancient problem of whether our asymmetrical attitudes towards time are justified remains a live one in contemporary philosophy. Drawing on themes in the work of McTaggart, Parfit, and Heidegger, I argue that this problem is also a key concern of Kierkegaard’s Either/Or. Part I of Either/Or presents the “aesthete” as living a temporally volatilized form of life, devoid of temporal location, sequence and direction. Like Parfit’s character “Timeless,” these aesthetes are indifferent to the direction of time and seemingly do (...)
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  • Por uma metafísica de tramas: o mundo sem arché.Hilan Bensusan & Tomás Ribeiro Cardoso - 2012 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 53 (125):281-298.
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  • If It Ain’T Moving It Shall Not Be Moved.Emiliano Boccardi - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):171-185.
    There are two no-change objections that can be raised against the B-theory of time. One stems from the observation that in a B-theoretic scenario changes of determinations can only be represented by propositions which have eternal truth values. The other derives from the principle that nothing can vary over a period of time if it doesn’t instantiate a state of change at all the instants of time which compose it. Here I argue that both objections apply to all comparative conceptions (...)
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  • On A- and B-Theoretic Elements of Branching Spacetimes.Matt Farr - 2012 - Synthese 188 (1):85-116.
    This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...)
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  • What Someone’s Behaviour Must Be Like If We Are to Be Aware of Their Emotions in It.Rowland Stout - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):135-148.
    What someone’s behaviour must be like if we are to be aware of their emotions in it Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-14 DOI 10.1007/s11097-011-9224-0 Authors Rowland Stout, School of Philosophy, UCD Dublin, Dublin 4, Republic of Ireland Journal Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences Online ISSN 1572-8676 Print ISSN 1568-7759.
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  • The View From Nowhen: The Mctaggart-Dummett Argument for the Unreality of Time.Kevin Falvey - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (2):297-312.
    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 (...)
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  • Time, Context, and Cross-Temporal Claims.Giuliano Torrengo - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (2):281-296.
    I present a new problem for the tense realist concerning the evaluation of cross-temporal claims, such as ‘John is now taller than Michael was in 1984’. Time can play two different roles in the evaluation of an utterance of a sentence: either as an element that completes the content expressed by the utterance (the completion role), or as part of the circumstances against which the content is evaluated (the evaluation role). It is this latter role that time plays in the (...)
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  • Farewell to McTaggart’s Argument?Michael Tooley - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (2):243-255.
    Philosophers have responded to McTaggart’s famous argument for the unreality of time in a variety of ways. Some of those responses are not easy to evaluate, since they involve, for example, sometimes murky questions concerning whether a certain infinite regress is or is not vicious. In this paper I set out a response that has not, I think, been advanced by any other author, and which, if successful, is absolutely clear-cut. The basic idea is simply that a tensed approach to (...)
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  • Time for Presence?Jonathan Tallant - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (2):271-280.
    It is, I think, possible to generate a variation of McTaggart’s (Mind 17:457–474, 1908 ) paradox that infects all extant versions of presentism. This is not to say that presentism is doomed to failure. There may be ways to modify presentism and I can’t anticipate all such modifications, here. For the purposes of the paper I’ll understand ‘presentism’ to be the view that for all x , x is present (cf. Crisp ( 2004 : 18)). It seems only right that, (...)
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  • Truth Conditions of Tensed Sentence Types.L. Paul - 1997 - Synthese 111 (1):53-72.
    Quentin Smith has argued that the new tenseless theory of time is faced with insurmountable problems and should be abandoned in favour of the tensed theory of time. Smith;s main argument attacks the fundamental premise of the tenseless theory: that tenseless truth conditions for tokens of tensed sentences adequately capture the meaning of tensed sentences. His position is that tenseless truth conditions cannot explain the logical relations between tensed sentences, thus the tensed theory must be accepted. Against Smith, this paper (...)
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  • Temporal Metaphysics in Z-Land.Simon Prosser - 2006 - Synthese 149 (1):77 - 96.
    John Perry has argued that language, thought and experience often contain unarticulated constituents. I argue that this idea holds the key to explaining away the intuitive appeal of the A-theory of time and the endurance theory of persistence. The A-theory has seemed intuitively appealing because the nature of temporal experience makes it natural for us to use one-place predicates like past to deal with what are really two-place relations, one of whose constituents is unarticulated. The endurance view can be treated (...)
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  • An Error in Temporal Error Theory.Jonathan Tallant - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (1):14-32.
    Within the philosophy of time there has been a growing interest in positions that deny the reality of time. Those positions, whether motivated by arguments from physics or metaphysics, have a shared conclusion: time is not real. What has not been made wholly clear, however, is exactly what it entails to deny the reality of time. Time is unreal, sure. But what does that mean? There has been only one sustained attempt to spell out exactly what it would mean to (...)
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  • Where Times Meet.Theodore R. Schatzki - 2006 - Cosmos and History : The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 1 (2):191-212.
    This essay pursues two goals: to argue that two fundamental types of time—the time of objective reality and “the time of the soul”—meet in human activity and history and to defend the legitimacy of calling a particular version of the second type a kind of time. The essay begins by criticizing Paul Ricoeur’s version of the claim that times of these two sorts meet in history. It then presents an account of human activity based on Heidegger’s Being and Time, according (...)
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  • Structure and Transition: Towards an Accretivist Theory of Time.David Preston Taylor - unknown
    This dissertation is a defense of a particular theory of the metaphysics of time which I call "accretivism", but which is popularly known in a form usually called the "Growing Block Theory". The goal of a metaphysics of time is to incorporate the various aspects of our temporal experience into a single, comprehensive whole. To this end I delineate five aspects of our ordinary experience of time: 1) The Tensed Aspect, in virtue of which objects are presented to us as (...)
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  • A-Theory or B-Theory of Time? An Aristotelian Answer.Banfi Luca - unknown
    A-Theory or B-Theory of Time? An Aristotelian Answer The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of Aristotle’s theory of time, in order to understand if it could introduce a stimulus into the contemporary debate on the nature of time between A-theorists and B-theorists. The first section of the paper is devoted to a conceptual explanation of these two main positions about the nature of time and their intimate link with eternalism and presentism. The second section presents the (...)
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  • The Time of Activity.Theodore R. Schatzki - 2006 - Continental Philosophy Review 39 (2):155-182.
    This essay analyzes the time of human activity. It begins by discussing how most accounts of action treat the time of action as succession, using Donald Davidson's account of action as illustration. It then argues that an adequate account of action and its determinants, one able to elucidate the ``indeterminacy of action,'' requires an alternative conception of action time. The remainder of the essay constructs a propitious account of the time and determination of action. It does so by critically drawing (...)
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  • On the Meaning of the Question “How Fast Does Time Pass?”.Brad Skow - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (3):325-344.
    In this paper I distinguish interpretations of the question ``How fast does time pass?’’ that are important for the debate over the reality of objective becoming from interpretations that are not. Then I discuss how one theory that incorporates objective becoming—the moving spotlight theory of time—answers this question. It turns out that there are several ways to formulate the moving spotlight theory of time. One formulation says that time passes but it makes no sense to ask how fast; another formulation (...)
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  • Inconsistencies in Temporal Metaphors: Is Time a Phenomenon of the Third Kind?Jacek Tadeusz Waliński - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 61 (1):163-181.
    This paper discusses the problem of inconsistencies in the metaphorical conceptualizations of time that involve motion within the framework of conceptual metaphor theory. It demonstrates that the TIME AS A PURSUER metaphor contrasts with the reverse variant TIME AS AN OBJECT OF PURSUIT, just as the MOVING TIME metaphor contrasts with the MOVING OBSERVER variant. Such metaphorical conceptualizations of time functioning as pairs of minimally differing variants based on Figure-Ground reversal are, strictly speaking, inconsistent with one another. Looking at these (...)
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  • A Puzzle Concerning Time Perception.Robin le Poidevin - 2004 - Synthese 142 (1):109-142.
    According to a plausible and influential account of perceptual knowledge, the truth-makers of beliefs that constitute perceptual knowledge must feature in the causal explanation of how we acquire those beliefs. However, this account runs into difficulties when it tries to accommodate time perception -- specifically perception of order and duration -- since the features we are apparently tracking in such perception are not causal. The central aim of the paper is to solve this epistemological puzzle. Two strategies are examined. The (...)
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  • Mctaggart's Paradox and Smith's Tensed Theory of Time.L. Nathan Oaklander - 1996 - Synthese 107 (2):205 - 221.
    Since McTaggart first proposed his paradox asserting the unreality of time, numerous philosophers have attempted to defend the tensed theory of time against it. Certainly, one of the most highly developed and original is that put forth by Quentin Smith. Through discussing McTaggart's positive conception of time as well as his negative attack on its reality, I hope to clarify the dispute between those who believe in the existence of the transitory temporal properties of pastness, presentness and futurity, and those (...)
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  • Two-Dimensional Time.Michael Kowalik - manuscript
    Philosophical views about the logical structure of time are typically divided between proponents of A and B theories, based on McTaggart's A and B series. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur's hermeneutic phenomenology, I develop and defend McTaggart's thesis that the C series and the A series working together give a consistent description of temporal experience, provided that the two series are treated as distinct dimensions internal to time. In the proposed two-dimensional model, the C series expresses a nesting order of the (...)
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  • Reassessing the Prospects for a Growing Block Model of the Universe.John Earman - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):135 – 164.
    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 (...)
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  • Exploring People’s Beliefs About the Experience of Time.Jack Shardlow, Ruth Lee, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, Patrick Burns & Alison S. Fernandes - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10709-10731.
    Philosophical debates about the metaphysics of time typically revolve around two contrasting views of time. On the A-theory, time is something that itself undergoes change, as captured by the idea of the passage of time; on the B-theory, all there is to time is events standing in before/after or simultaneity relations to each other, and these temporal relations are unchanging. Philosophers typically regard the A-theory as being supported by our experience of time, and they take it that the B-theory clashes (...)
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  • A Remarkable Journey: The Story of Evolution. [REVIEW]Eva Boon - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):88-90.
    A book review of R. Paul Thompson's "A Remarkable Journey: The Story of Evolution.
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  • Time: A Philosophical Introduction. [REVIEW]Emily Paul - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):85-88.
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  • On the Co-Nowness of Time and Eternity: A Scotistic Perspective.Liran Shia Gordon - 1926 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 77 (1-2):30-44.
    The paper will explore a key tension between eternity and temporality that comes to the fore in the seeming contradiction between freedom of the human will and divine foreknowledge of future contingents. It will be claimed that Duns Scotus’s adaptation of Thomas Aquinas’s view reduces the tension between a human being’s freedom and divine foreknowledge of future contingents to the question of how to conflate the now of eternity and our experience of the instantaneous now. Scotus’s account of the matter (...)
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  • British Idealist Monadologies and the Reality of Time: Hilda Oakeley Against McTaggart, Leibniz, and Others.Emily Thomas - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (6):1150-1168.
    In the early twentieth century, a rare strain of British idealism emerged which took Leibniz's Monadology as its starting point. This paper discusses a variant of that strain, offered by Hilda Oakeley. I set Oakeley's monadology in its philosophical context and discuss a key point of conflict between Oakeley and her fellow monadologists: the unreality of time. Oakeley argues that time is fundamentally real, a thesis arguably denied by Leibniz and subsequent monadologists, and by all other British idealists. This paper (...)
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