Time, Persistence, and Causality: Towards a Dynamic View of Temporal Reality

Dissertation, Umeå University (2002)
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The thesis revolves around the following questions. What is time? Is time tensed or tenseless? Do things endure or perdure, i.e. do things persist by being wholly present at many times, or do they persist by having temporal parts? Do causes bring their effects into existence, or are they only correlated with each other? Within a realist approach to metaphysics, the author claims that the tensed view of time, the endurance view of persistence, and the production view of causality naturally combine into what is called the dynamic view of temporal reality, and that the tenseless view of time, the perdurance view of persistence, and the correlation view of causality naturally combine into what is called the static view of temporal reality. The author argues in favour of a dynamic view. During the discussion a number of metaphysical problems are addressed. First, it is argued that the charges that the dynamic view is contradictory, made by J.M.E. McTaggart and David Lewis, are viciously circular. Secondly, it is argued that the static view cannot account for change, and deprives metaphysics of essential means to provide natural explanations to empirical phenomena. Thirdly, the author presents a novel account of the nature of necessary causal production. He suggests that the traditional conception of causes as essentially being external to the effects should be abandoned, and that causal production instead should be explicated in terms of reciprocal interactions between coexistent substances.

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Rognvaldur Ingthorsson
University of Helsinki


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