The phenomenology and metaphysics of the open future

Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3895-3921 (2021)
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Abstract

Intuitively, the future is open and the past fixed: there is something we can do about the future but not the past. Some metaphysicians believe that a proper metaphysics of time must vindicate this intuition. Whereas philosophers have focused on the future and the past, the status of the present remains relatively unexplored. Drawing on resources from action theory, I argue that there is something we can do about the present just like there is something we can do about the future. Hence, a proper metaphysics of the open future should allow for an open present as well. I argue that none of the major metaphysics of the open future currently available can accommodate an open present adequately. Finally, I’ll show that, surprisingly, the shrinking block metaphysics can.

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Derek Lam
California State University, Sacramento

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