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E.J. Lowe

Presentism and Relativity: No Conflict


ISBN: 978-3-88405-544-1

Price: €9.50 (including 19 % tax)


This paper discusses three problems that have puzzled philosophers of time for many years, arguing that none of them really presents a difficulty if one adopts an adequate ontology and properly understands the nature of change. All of the problems turn in some way on the question of whether presentism is a coherent conception of time. Here it is proposed that the key to solving the problems is to realize that all change is fundamentally existence-change, that is, the coming into or going out of existence of entities of one kind or another. The three problems, which are interrelated, are McTaggart’s paradox, Lewis’s problem of temporary intrinsics, and Minkowski’s notorious claim that the Special Theory of Relativity implies the disappearance of time ‘by itself’. Of these, the last is the most important and in resolution of it the paper argues that presentism, properly understood, is not in conflict with the Special Theory of Relativity.

The Author

E.J. Lowe is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University (UK). His main areas of research are Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind and Action, Philosophy of Logic and Language, Early Modern Philosophy. Among his main contributions are: The Possibility of Metaphysics (Oxford UP, 1998), The Four-Category Ontology (Oxford UP, 2006), Personal Agency (Oxford UP, 2008).



 





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