Philosophy of time: A slightly opinionated introduction

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There are several intertwined debates in the area of contemporary philos- ophy of time. One field of inquiry is the nature of time itself. Presentists think that only the present moment exists whereas eternalists believe that all of (space-)time exists on a par. The second main field of inquiry is the question of how objects persist through time. The endurantist claims that objects are three-dimensional wholes, which persist by being wholly1 present, whereas the perdurantist thinks that objects are four- dimensional and that their temporal parts are the bearers of properties. The third debate in the field of contemporary philosophy of time is about tense- versus tenseless theory. Tensers are at odds with detensers about the status of the linguistic reference to the present moment. These are only very crude characterizations and it is even disputed by some ad- vocates of the corresponding positions that they are accurate. However this very sketchy picture already reveals a fundamental difference: The eternalism/presentism and endurance/perdurance discussions belong to the field of metaphysics, whereas tense is in the first instance a linguistic phenomenon.
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Archival date: 2018-03-13
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