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A Defense of Presentism in a Relativistic Setting

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2022

Mark Hinchliff*
Affiliation:
Reed College
*
Send requests for reprints to the author, Department of Philosophy, Reed College, Portland, OR 97202.

Abstract

Presentism is the view, roughly speaking, that only presently existing things exist. Though presentism offers many attractive solutions to problems in metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind, it faces threats from two main sources: McTaggart and the special theory of relativity. This paper explores the prospects for fitting presentism together with the special theory. Two models are proposed, one which fits presentism into a relativistic setting (the cone model) and one which fits the special theory into a presentistic setting (the surface model). It is concluded that there is no good reason arising from the special theory of relativity for rejecting presentism. Presentism is tenable here and preferable elsewhere.

Type
Philosophy of Physics and Chemistry
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by the Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Physics Department, Reed College. I would like to thank John Bigelow, Craig Callender, Robert Reynolds, Steve Savitt, and Nicholas Wheeler for helpful discussions.

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