Making Sense of the Growing Block View

Philosophia 45 (3):1113-1127 (2017)
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In this paper, I try to make sense of the growing block view using Kit Fine’s three-fold classification of A-theoretic views of time. I begin by motivating the endeavor of making sense of the growing block view by examining John Earman’s project in ‘Reassessing the prospects for a growing block model of the universe’. Next, I review Fine’s reconstruction of McTaggart’s argument and its accompanying three-fold classification of A-theoretic views. I then consider three interpretations of Earman’s growing block model: the hybrid growing block, the purely tensed growing block, and Michael Tooley’s growing block. I argue for three claims. First, Finean ‘standard’ versions of these views are less congenial to the growing blocker than ‘non-standard’ ones. Second, the hybrid view is problematic on either version. And third, ‘non-standard’ versions are not fully intelligible. I provide further support for the first and third of these claims and explain why I take them to support a minimal account of passage as succession, which undercuts some of the motivation for Earman’s project. Lastly, I answer three objections.
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