Philosophy of Space and Time (Sheffield BA Course Summary)
Makin (Stephen)
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Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. This course will cover some introductory philosophical problems concerning space and time.
  2. We will start by looking at the ancient paradoxes about motion due to Zeno of Elea.
  3. This will lead on to
    • questions about the structure of space and time (are they continuous or atomic? Must time have a beginning?);
    • the relations between time and change (does time require change?);
    • the flow of time (is there a real distinction between past, present and future?);
    • knowledge of the future (is knowledge of the future consistent with freedom of action?);
    • truths about the future (are there already truths about the future?) ; and
    • our access to the past (could we travel into or otherwise affect the past?).

  1. Zeno’s paradoxes of motion: the Dichotomy and the Arrow
  2. The beginning of time
  3. Time without change: substantival and relational theories of time
  4. Tensed and detensed views of time
  5. Foreknowledge and the open future
  6. Future truth and the open future
  7. Time travel1 and affecting the past


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