Temporal experience and the present in George P. Adams’ eternalism

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (2):355-376 (2023)
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In the early twentieth century, many philosophers in America thought that time should be taken seriously in one way or another. George P. Adams (1882-1961) argued that the past, present and future are all real but only the present is actual. I call this theory ‘actualist eternalism’. In this paper, I articulate his novel brand of eternalism as one piece of his metaphysical system and I explain how he argued for the view in light of the best explanations of temporal experience and the present. I argue that his exploitation of analogies between time and modality offer some lessons for current debates about time such as the importance of providing a temporal epistemology. I also extract what I call the temporal boundary problem and argue that it gives rise to an unaddressed challenge for presentists and growing block theorists.

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A. R. J. Fisher
Gonzaga University


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