New Papers on the Present: Focus on Presentism

Philosophia Verlag (2013)
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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 outlines its defence strategy. Each pair of papers in this section can be read as a discussion between presentists and eternalists, wherein each directly responds to the arguments and objections offered by the other. This is a discussion that is sometimes absent in the literature, or which is at best carried out in a fragmented way. The first two papers of the section deal with the problem of the compatibility of Special Relativity Theory (SRT) and presentism. SRT is often considered to be a theory that contradicts the main tenet of presentism, thereby rendering presentism at odds with one of our most solid scientific theories. Christian Wüthrich’s paper presents arguments for the incompatibility of the two theories (SRT and presentism) within a new framework that includes a discussion of further complications arising from the theory of Qauantum Mechanics. Jonathan Lowe’s paper, by contrast, develops new general arguments against the incompatibility thesis and replies to Wüthrich’s paper. The second pair of papers focuses on the problem that presentists face, in providing grounds for past tensed truths. In the first (by Matthew Davidson), new arguments are provided to defend the idea that the presentist cannot adequately explain how what is now true about the past is grounded, since for the presentist the past is completely devoid of ontological ground. The second paper (by Brian Kierland) takes up the challenge of developing a presentist explanation of past truths, beginning by outlining some existing views in the literature before advancing an original proposal.

Author Profiles

Kristie Miller
University of Sydney
Giuliano Torrengo
Università degli Studi di Milano


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