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Presentism, the view that only the present exists, was a much neglected position in the philosophy of time for a number of years. Recently, however, it has been enjoying a renaissance among philosophers. A Future for Presentism is meant as a timely contribution to this fast growing and exciting debate.After discussing rival positions in the philosophy of time, in Part I Craig Bourne shows how presentism is the only viable alternative to the tenseless theory of time. He then develops a distinctive version of presentism that avoids the mistakes of the past, and which sets up the framework for solving problems traditionally associated with the position, such as what makes past-tensed statements true, how to give the proper semantics for statements about the future, how to deal withtranstemporal relations, how we can meaningfully talk about past individuals, and how causation can be accommodated. Part I concludes with a discussion of the direction of time and causation, the decision-theoretic problem known as 'Newcomb's problem', and the possibility of time travel and causal loops. In PartII Bourne focuses on the problems for presentism raised by relativity theory. He begins with by giving a self-contained exposition of the concepts of special relativity that are important for understanding the later discussion of its philosophical implications. The last two chapters explore the philosophical implications of certain cosmological models that arise from general relativity, namely the expanding models, which seem to represent our universe, and Gödel's infamous model, whichallows us to take a journey into our future and arrive in our past. The necessary physics is explained with the aid of diagrams, throughout.
Presentism: Essential Readings contains writings—classic and contemporary—that acquaint the reader with different versions of presentism, standard philosophical and scientific objections to presentism, and their attempted solutions. Detailed introductions to each part of the book make the discussions accessible to students and those unfamiliar with this fascinating and controversial philosophy.
Collection of original essays by leading philosophers on a range of questions about time.
Fran�ois Hartog explores crucial moments of change in society's "regimes of historicity," or its ways of relating to the past, present, and future. Inspired by Hannah Arendt, Reinhart Koselleck, and Paul Ricoeur, Hartog analyzes a broad range of texts, positioning The Odyssey as a work on the threshold of historical consciousness and contrasting it with an investigation of the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins's concept of "heroic history." He tracks changing perspectives on time in Chateaubriand's Historical Essay and Travels in America and sets them alongside other writings from the French Revolution. He revisits the insights of the French Annales School and situates Pierre Nora's Realms of Memory within a history of heritage and today's presentism, from which he addresses Jonas's notion of our responsibility for the future. Our presentist present is by no means uniform or clear-cut, and it is experienced very differently depending on the position we occupy in society. We are caught up in global movement and accelerated flows, or else condemned to the life of casual workers, living from hand to mouth in a stagnant present, with no recognized past, and no real future either (since the temporality of plans and projects is inaccessible). The present is therefore experienced as emancipation or enclosure, and the perspective of the future is no longer reassuring, since it is perceived not as a promise, but as a threat. Hartog's resonant readings show us how the motor of history(-writing) has stalled and help us understand the contradictory qualities of our contemporary presentist relation to time.
What can we learn about the world from engaging with fictional time-series--stories involving time travellers, recurring and rewinding time, and foreknowledge of the future? Do they show us radical alternative possibilities concerning the nature of time, or do they show that even the impossible can be represented in fiction? Neither, so this book argues. Defending the view that a fiction represents a single possible world, the authors show how apparentrepresentations of radically different time-series can be explained in terms of how worlds are represented without there being any fictional world which has such a time-series. In this way, the book uses thecomplexities of fictional time to get to the core of the relation between truth in fiction and possibility. It provides a logic and metaphysics to deal with the fact that fictions can leave certain features of their fictional worlds indefinite, and draws comparisons and connections between fictional and scientific representations and hypotheses.
A Companion to the Philosophy of Time presents the broadest treatment of this subject yet; 32 specially commissioned articles - written by an international line-up of experts – provide an unparalleled reference work for students and specialists alike in this exciting field. The most comprehensive reference work on the philosophy of time currently available The first collection to tackle the historical development of the philosophy of time in addition to covering contemporary work Provides a tripartite approach in its organization, covering history of the philosophy of time, time as a feature of the physical world, and time as a feature of experience Includes contributions from both distinguished, well-established scholars and rising stars in the field
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