What is temporal ontology?

Philosophical Studies 175 (3):793-807 (2018)
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Abstract

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 metaphysicians, nor by philosophers of physics. This paper revisits the question in the light of prominent elucidation attempts from both camps. The upshot is that skeptics were right to be puzzled. The paper then explores a possible re-interpretation of positions in temporal ontology that links it to normative views about how we should live as temporal beings.

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Natalja Deng
Yonsei University

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