Presentism and eternalism in perspective

In Dennis Dieks (ed.), The Ontology of Spacetime I. Amsterdam: Elsevier (2006)
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The distinction between presentism and eternalism is usually sought in some formula like ‘Only presently existing things exist’ or ‘Past, present, and future events are equally real’. I argue that ambiguities in the copula prevent these slogans from distinguishing significant opposed positions. I suggest in addition that one can find a series of significant distinctions if one takes spacetime structure into account. These presentisms and eternalisms are not contradictory. They are complementary elements of a complete naturalistic philosophy of time.

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Steven Savitt
University of British Columbia


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