Presentists Can Believe in Closed Timelike Curves
Monton (Bradley)
Source: Analysis, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 199-202
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Presentists believe that only presently existing things exist. In a Newtonian framework of three spatial dimensions, for example, presentists would say that all that exists is a three-dimensional spatial manifold, and the events in that manifold change with time.
  2. Eternalists, by contrast, believe that past, present, and future things all exist. In the Newtonian framework, eternalists believe in a four-dimensional space-time manifold, where events are scattered throughout this four-dimensional 'block universe'.
  3. It is often thought that presentism is incompatible with time travel1. William Godfrey-Smith (1980: 722), for example, says that 'the metaphysical picture which underlies time travel3 talk is that of the block universe.
  4. In an informal survey of philosophers, the predominant answer to my question 'Is presentism compatible with time travel4?' was 'No'. Simon Keller and Michael Nelson (2001: 334) also report that this is the common view.
  5. I will argue that this common view is incorrect. Specifically, I will argue that presentism is compatible with some stories that involve closed timelike curves, and that some of these stories are time-travel stories.



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2:

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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