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Christian Wüthrich

The Fate of Presentism in Modern Physics


ISBN: 978-3-88405-543-4

Price: €19.50 (including 19 % tax)


There has been a recent spate of essays defending presentism, the view in the metaphysics of time according to which all and only present events or entities exist. What is particularly striking about this resurgence is that it takes place on the background of the significant pressure exerted on the position by the relativity of simultaneity asserted in special relativity, and yet in several cases invokes modern physics for support. I classify the presentist arguments into a two by two matrix depending on whether they take a compatibilist or incompatibilist stance with respect to both special relativity in particular and modern physics in general. I then review and evaluate what I take to be some of the most forceful and intriguing presentist arguments turning on modern physics. Although nothing of what I will say eventuates its categorical demise, I hope to show that whatever presentism remains compatible with empirical facts and our best physics is metaphysically repugnant.

The Author

Christian Wüthrich is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and of Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego (USA). He works in the Philosophy of Physics, Philosophy of Science, and Metaphysics. He has published in various journals and collections in both philosophy and physics and is working on a co-authored monograph on the emergence of spacetime in quantum theories of gravity (with Nick Huggett). This latter ongoing project is funded by a Collaborative Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies and a UC President’s Fellowship in the Humanities, among others.



 





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