The moving spotlight(s)

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (7):754-771 (2021)
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The moving spotlight account (MS) is a view that combines an eternalist ontology and an A-theoretic metaphysics. The intuition underlying MS is that the present time is somehow privileged and experientially vivid, as if it were illuminated by a moving spotlight. According to MS-theorists, a key reason to prefer MS to B-theoretic eternalism is that our experience of time supports it. We argue that this is false. To this end, we formulate a new family of positions in the philosophy of time, which differ from MS in that, intuitively, they admit a plurality of moving spotlights. We argue that these ‘deviant’ variants of MS cannot be dismissed as conceptually incoherent, and that they are as well-supported by our experience as is MS. One of these variants, however, is consistent with the B-theory. Thus, if our experience of time supports MS, then it supports the B-theory as well.

Author Profiles

Giuliano Torrengo
Università degli Studi di Milano
Giuseppe Spolaore
University of Padua


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