This book takes up the question of whether past and future events exist. Two very different views are explored. According to one of these views (presentism), advanced by Nikk Effingham, the present is special. Effingham argues that only present things exist, but which things those are changes as time passes. Given presentism, although there once existed dinosaurs, they exist no more, and although you and I exist, at some time in the future we will come to exist no more. According to the alternative view (eternalism), advanced by Kristie Miller, our world is a giant four-dimensional block of spacetime in which all things, past, present, and future, exist. On this view, dinosaurs exist, it is just that they are not located at the current time.
The book considers arguments for and against presentism and eternalism, including arguments that appeal to our best science, to the way the world seems to us to be in our experiences of time, change, and freedom, and to how to make sense of ordinary claims about the past.
- Offers an accessible introduction to the philosophy of temporal ontology
- Captures the process of philosophical debate, giving readers an insight into the craft of philosophy
- Engages with and clearly explains state-of-the-art and cutting-edge research
Introduction Part I: Opening Statements 1. In Defence of the Block Universe View 2. In Defense of Presentism Part II First Round of Replies 3. Past and Future Do Not Exist: Reply to Kristie Miller 4. The Past and Future Exist: Reply to Nikk Effingham Part III Second Round of Replies 5. Back to the Block: Reply to Nikk Effingham’s Reply 6. Presentism Returns: Reply to Kristie Miller's Reply Suggested Readings Glossary References Index