The Puzzle of Change
Hinchliff (Mark)
Source: Haslanger (Sally) & Kurtz (Roxanne) - Persistence : Contemporary Readings
Paper - Abstract

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First and Final Paragraphs

  1. Objects can change their properties. The philosophical problem is to explain how this is possible. Each of the standard explanations denies a strong intuition we have about change. They do so because they share a view about time. But if we reject the view about time, we can solve the problem. of change in a way that preserves our intuitions.
  2. … [ .. snip …] …
  3. Of course, to have shown that presentism is not refuted by the special theory (of relativity) is not to have settled how presentism and the special theory do fit together. This is a large and difficult problem. Presentism seems to be our intuitive or commonsense conception of the nature of time. The special theory is one of our best-confirmed scientific theories of the nature of time. The question of how presentism is related to the special theory is therefore like the question of how our intuitive folk psychology is related to our best scientific theories of the nature of the mind. Proposals for understanding the relationship between our folk psychology and our best psychological theories are varied and complex, and a refutation of one proposal is not a refutation of folk psychology itself. No one believes the question about the mind to be easy to answer; my point here is that the question about time seems just as hard. Perhaps, just as an eliminativist answer to the question about the mind may turn out to be correct, so may an eliminativist answer about the nature of time, though both answers seem equally hard to accept. The question of how presentism is related to the special theory requires us to examine, carefully and critically, both the intuitions we have about time and change which are behind presentism and the metaphysical presuppositions and apparently verificationist principles which are behind the usual philosophical interpretations of the special theory. Certainly we want our physics and metaphysics to fit into a unified picture; the question for the presentist is how best to do that, a question that goes beyond the scope of this paper.
  4. The scope of the present paper is large enough: to show that there is a solution to the problem of change that preserves all of our intuitions – the presentist solution.

  1. The Puzzle of Change
  2. .The Standard Solutions
    … The Perdurance1 Solution
    … The Relational Solution
    … The Relativization Variant
  3. The Shared View of Time: Eternalism
  4. The Presentist Solution
  5. Does the Presentist Still Deny Persistence and Change?
  6. Does the Presentist Deny Shapes Are Properties?
  7. Is the Presentist Refuted by the Special Theory of Relativity?


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