Time

Edited by Sam Baron (Australian Catholic University)
Assistant editors: B. C. Everett, David Ingram, Alexander Sandgren
About this topic
Summary

The philosophy of time can be divided into roughly four core areas: the metaphysics of time, the physics of time, temporal language, and the psychology of time. The metaphysics of time includes investigations about temporal ontology, the persistence of objects across time, time travel and the passage of time. The ontology of time investigates the ontological status and nature of the past, present, and future. The persistence literature involves determining how it is that objects persist through time – i.e. whether they endure in the sense that the same object is wholly present at every moment at which it exists, or perdure in the sense that they persist through time by having distinct temporal parts at difference times. The topic of time travel involves investigating whether and what kinds of time travel scenarios are logically, physically, or metaphysically possible. Investigations into the passage of time involve determining what the passage of time is, whether or not temporal passage exists, and what kind of ontology of time is necessary for time to pass. The next core aspect, the physics of time, involves issues related to temporal ontology, passage, and other aspects of time, such as direction, temporal asymmetry, and temporal eliminitavism. The ontology of time and physics involves the supposed incompatibility of certain ontologies with relativistic physics. That is, it is sometimes thought that an eternalist ontology (one on which all times exist and are on equal footing) is compatible with relativistic physics and incompatible with sparser ontologies (views according to which either only the present, or the present and past exist). The issues of direction and temporal asymmetry, then, involve pairing views about the direction of time with the laws of physics. Finally, temporal eliminitavism often involves using theories of physics to bolster the claim that time does not exist. Core debates in the literature on the philosophy of language and time include indexicals, tensed expressions and their compatibility with certain ontologies, and whether or not the language we use affects the way we experience time. An important topic in this literature is whether or not our use of tensed expressions such as ‘now’ and ‘is’ are compatible with a B-theoretic ontology. Therefore, a lot of work in this area for the B-theorist involves squaring these kinds of expressions with the B-theory. Additionally, the use of so called tensed language is sometimes posited as an explanation for why we think that time passes in the way described by A-theorists. Temporal psychology in the philosophy of time involves investigating our temporal experience – i.e., it involves assessing our experience in light of our assumptions about the metaphysics of time and vice versa. Notable topics in the category of temporal experience are temporal ontology, the passage of time, and temporal consciousness. Temporal ontology and the passage of time, together with temporal experience, involves assessing whether our experience lends itself to any particular theory over others. Additionally, an important topic in the temporal experience literature is temporal consciousness over time and the nature of our experience of continuity over time, especially in regard to the feeling of an extended, or specious, present. The disagreement here is about the nature of the specious present – i.e., whether there are individual specious presents that are extended across times, or whether the experience of specious presents involves a representation of things as extended across times. The rationality of temporal preferences across times is also an important topic.

Key works

McTaggart 1908 argues that time does not exist. This text is often seen as the starting point for most contemporary work on the metaphysics of time. The three main views stemming from McTaggart 1908 are the A-theory (see Cameron 2015Zimmerman 2005, and Bourne 2006), the B-theory (see Oaklander 2012, and Deng 2013), and the C-theory (see Price 1996, and Farr 2012). Mellor 1981Mellor 1998, and Callender 2017 are also important modern texts on temporal ontology. A good introduction to the time travel literature is Effingham 2020. For issues relating to the persistence literature, good places to start are Hawley 2001Miller 2009, and Sider 2001. For issues related to the tensed/tenseless debate see Dyke 2003, and Dyke 2011, and for issues surrounding tensed language and experience see Miller et al 2020. For book length discussions of temporal experience see Prosser 2016 and Le Poidevin 2007. Additionally, Paul 2010 writes about illusionism about temporal passage. Parfit 1984 is a good place to start for issues related to cross-temporal bias.

Introductions Good introductory texts on the philosophy of time include Baron & Miller 2018Le Poidevin & MacBeath 1993Power 2021Van Fraassen 1970, and Bardon 2013.
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  1. METAPHYSIQUE DU TEMPS CHEZ ARISTOTE - II - Métabiologie du mouvement entéléchique.Régis Laurent (ed.) - 2021 - Paris: Villegagnons-plaisance Editions.
    Premier ouvrage de l’histoire de la philosophie à être totalement consacré au concept d’entéléchie, il ne s’agira pas de proposer un essai historique allant de la mise en place de cette notion chez Aristote jusqu’à la conception biologique développée par Hans Driesch. Inscrit dans un projet plus global de compréhension du temps aristotélicien, c’est à une véritable refondation métaphysique du concept que ce travail nous convie. Si Kant, à l’ultime fin de sa première critique, avait admis qu’il n’existait que deux (...)
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  2. A Note on Eternity.Ciro De Florio & Aldo Frigerio - 2017 - Topoi 36 (4):685-692.
    The timeless solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge and human freedom has many advantages. Still, the relationship between a timeless God and temporal beings is problematic in a number of ways. In this paper, we focus on the specific problems the timeless view has to deal with when certain assumptions on the metaphysics of time are taken on board. It is shown that on static conception of time God’s omniscience is easily accounted for, but human freedom is threatened, while (...)
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  3. The Pure Form of Time and the Powers of the False.Daniel W. Smith - 2019 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 81 (1):29-51.
    This paper explores the relation of the theory of time and the theory of truth in Deleuze’s philosophy. According to Deleuze, a mutation in our conception of time occurred with Kant. In antiquity, time had been subordinated to movement, it was the measure or the “number of movement” (Aristotle). In Kant, this relation is inverted: time is no longer subordinated to movement but assumes an independence and autonomy of its own for the first time. In Deleuze’s phrasing, time becomes the (...)
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  4. Sociohistorical Self-Choreography: A Second Dance with Castoriadis.Joshua M. Hall - 2019 - Culture and Dialogue 7 (1):87-104.
    Twentieth-century Greco-French philosopher, economist, psychoanalyst and activist Cornelius Castoriadis offers a creative new conception of imagination that is uniquely promising for social justice. Though it has been argued that this conception has one fatal flaw, the latter has recently been resolved through a creative dialogue with dance. The present article fleshes out this philosophical-dancing dialogue further, revealing a deeper layer of creative dialogue therein, namely between Castoriadis’ account of time and choreography. To wit, he reconceives time as the self-choreography of (...)
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  5. Commentary: Lost in The Labyrinth of Time. [REVIEW]Giuliano Torrengo - 2010 - Humana Mente 4 (13):247-258.
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  6. The World-Time Parallel: Tense and Modality in Logic and Metaphysics, by by A. A. Rini and M. J. Cresswell: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, Pp. Xvii + 260, AUD$125. [REVIEW]Rohan French - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):802-805.
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  7. Why the Incarnation Is Incompatible With An Atemporal Concept of God.Alin C. Cucu - manuscript
    In this essay, I argue that the Incarnation of the Son of God, understood in a traditionally orthodox way, is incompatible with an atemporalist concept of God. First, I explain what I mean by atemporalism, namely the idea that God exists outside time. I also show the main corollaries of that doctrine, most notably that all of God’s life occurs eternally simultaneously. Second, based on New Testament teaching and widely accepted creeds, I spell out philosophically what I mean by the (...)
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  8. On the Resurrection of the Dead: A New Metaphysics of Afterlife for Christian Thought.James T. Turner Jr - 2018 - London: Routledge.
    Christian tradition has largely held three affirmations on the resurrection of the physical body. Firstly, that bodily resurrection is not a superfluous hope of afterlife. Secondly, there is immediate post-mortem existence in Paradise. Finally, there is numerical identity between pre-mortem and post-resurrection human beings. The same tradition also largely adheres to a robust doctrine of The Intermediate State, a paradisiacal disembodied state of existence following the biological death of a human being. This book argues that these positions are in fact (...)
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  9. Review: The Future of the Philosophy of Time. [REVIEW]Emily Waddie - 2014 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):87-90.
    A review of 2012's "The Future of the Philosophy of Time", ed. Adrian Bardon, a collection of papers which were presented at a conference on Philosophy of Time at Wake Forest University in 2010.
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  10. David Wiggins, Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being and Their Identity. Twelve Essays, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, 239 Pp., $50.00 (£35.00) (Hardback), ISBN: 9780198716624. [REVIEW]Robert Michels - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):325-328.
    Book review of: David Wiggins, Continuants: Their Activity, Their Being and Their Identity. Twelve Essays.
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  11. Book Review: A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Rereading of EcclesiastesA Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up: A Rereading of EcclesiastesbyFoxMichael V.Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1999. 440 Pp. $30.00. ISBN 0-8028-4292-5. [REVIEW]Naoto Kamano - 2000 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 54 (3):320-322.
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  12. Bradley, James, and Whitehead on Relations.Leemon B. Mchenry - 1989 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 3 (3):149 - 169.
    In this essay, I provide an exposition of F. H. Bradley's arguments against relations and then critically evaluate his view using arguments advanced by William James and A. N. Whitehead. Against Bradley, I argue for the reality of relations as concrete aspects of the temporal process.
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  13. Debunking The Hellenistic Myth: Why Christians Should Believe That God Is In Time.Alin C. Cucu - 2017 - Piate Pietro 2 (2):16-22.
    In this essay I will try to convince you: (1) that the question of God’s relation to time is of practical relevance for every believer (2) that the idea of God being outside time is a philosophically untenable concept which creates major clashes with Christian doctrine and therefore that every Christian should adopt some temporalist view of God To do that, I will present four arguments against the “outside time” view of God. I then briefly treat the question where the (...)
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  14. T. Ryan Byerly,The Mechanics of Divine Foreknowledge and Providence: A Time-Ordering Account[REVIEW]Elijah Hess - 2016 - Philosophia Christi 18 (1):251-255.
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  15. An Introduction to Real Possibilities, Indeterminism, and Free Will: Three Contingencies of the Debate.Thomas Müller, Antje Rumberg & Verena Wagner - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):1-10.
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  16. De eenheid van een gedachte.Jesse M. Mulder - 2017 - Algemeen Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Wijsbegeerte 109 (1):145-160.
    What does the unity of a thought consist in? The analytic tradition typically accepts the Fregean answer to this question: a thought is, in the fundamental case, the result of applying a concept to an appropriate range of objects. Yet upon reflection this turns out to be insufficient. I follow Rödl’s exploration of the unity of temporal thoughts, which shows this unity to be differentiated in such a way as to give rise to the basic metaphysical categories of time, causality, (...)
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  17. The Emergence of the Concept in Hegel's Science of Logic.Victoria I. Burke - 2018 - Review of Metaphysics 72 (1):101-121.
    In this article, I will chart the development of G.W.F. Hegel’s ‘concept [Begriff]’ in the Science of Logic. I show that Hegel could not arrive at the concept until the end of Book II, after his treatment of the categories of modality, especially contingency.
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  18. Real Time. D. H. Mellor. [REVIEW]Marthe Chandler - 1983 - Philosophy of Science 50 (4):663-665.
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  19. Book Review:Time's Arrow in Society Anderson Woods; Recent Theories of Sovereignty Hyman Ezra Cohen. [REVIEW]Harry Malisoff - 1938 - Philosophy of Science 5 (2):233-234.
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  20. Concepts, Space-and-Time, Metaphysics.Srećko Kovač - 2018 - In Mirosław Szatkowski (ed.), God, Time, Infinity. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. pp. 61-86.
    Kant's theory of transcendental ideas can be conceived as a sort of model theory for an empirical first-order object theory. The main features of Kant's theory of transcendental ideas (especially its antinomies and their solutions) can be recognized, in a modified way, in a religious discourse as exemplified in the dialogue of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4). In this way, what is by Kant meant merely as regulative ideas obtains a sort of objective reality and becomes a religiously (...)
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  21. Science Pedagogy as a Category of Historical Analysis: Past, Present, and Future.Kathryn M. Olesko - 2006 - Science & Education 15 (7-8):863-880.
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  22. Book Review: The Battle for the Future - The Future and Its Enemies: In Defense of Political HopeInnerarityDaniel, The Future and Its Enemies: In Defense of Political Hope, Trans. KingeryS.. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012. 152 Pp., ISBN 9780804775564 , ISBN 9780804775571 , ISBN 9780804782210 , $70.00 / $21.95 / $21.95. [REVIEW]George N. Fourlas - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (2):197-201.
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  23. Review: Time, Memory, Institution: Merleau-Ponty’s New Ontology of Self. [REVIEW]Bryan Lueck - 2018 - University of Toronto Quarterly 87 (3):376-377.
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  24. The Eucharistic Conquest of Time.Pavel Butakov - 2017 - Faith and Philosophy 34 (3):247-271.
    Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians claim that the unique event of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary is present in Eucharistic liturgies. A popular explanatory strategy for this miraculous presence suggests that due to its supernatural character the Eucharist “conquers time,” transcends its boundaries, and allows for temporal coincidence of two chronologically distant events. I discuss the four main approaches within this strategy that can be discovered in contemporary theological writings. The first approach implies a time travel of the Calvary event. (...)
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  25. Time and Thought.G. L. S. Shackle - 1958 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 9 (36):285-298.
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  26. A Metaphysics for the Future.Robert Elliott Allinson - 2001 - Philosophy 76 (298):629-632.
    This work is intended to serve not only as an expression of a new idea of a philosophy, but as an apologia for philosophy as a legitimate and independent discipline in its own right. It argues that in the 20th century, truth has not been abandoned, but merely modified. The text proposes a return to truth and suggests that it is only after apprehending the truths of consciousness that the philosopher's mirror may become a kaleidoscope through which reality may be (...)
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  27. The Structure of Time: Language, Meaning and Temporal Cognition. [REVIEW]Uwe Durst - 2005 - Pragmatics and Cognition 13 (2):414-421.
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  28. The Reality of the Past.Michael Dummett - 1969 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 69:239-258.
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  29. The ‘Draft Regulation Rome II’ in 2004: Its Past and Future Perspectives.Andrea Bonomi, Paul Volken & Petar Sarcevic - 2009 - In Andrea Bonomi, Paul Volken & Petar Sarcevic (eds.), Yearbook of Private International Law: Volume Vi. Sellier de Gruyter.
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  30. 14. Theology and the Past: Changing Views on the Sources.S. J. Crowe - 2006 - In S. J. Crowe (ed.), Appropriating the Lonergan Idea. University of Toronto Press. pp. 252-264.
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  31. Time-Sense.Chas H. Judd - 1899 - Psychological Review 6 (2):208-211.
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  32. Time as Related to Causality and to Space.Edward Franklin Buchner - 1899 - Psychological Review 6 (4):443-443.
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  33. Time and the Succession of Events.S. F. McLennan - 1896 - Psychological Review 3 (1):118-118.
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  34. Analysis of the Overlearning Reversal Effect.Elijah Lovejoy - 1966 - Psychological Review 73 (1):87-103.
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  35. Time and Knowability in Evolutionary Processes.Elliott Sober & Mike Steel - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (4):558-579.
    Historical sciences like evolutionary biology reconstruct past events by using the traces that the past has bequeathed to the present. Markov chain theory entails that the passage of time reduces the amount of information that the present provides about the past. Here we use a Moran process framework to show that some evolutionary processes destroy information faster than others. Our results connect with Darwin’s principle that adaptive similarities provide scant evidence of common ancestry whereas neutral and deleterious similarities do better. (...)
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  36. The Anachronism of Time a Theological Study Into the Nature of Time.Iain M. MacKenzie - 1994 - Morehouse Publishing Company.
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  37. Time and Value.Scott Lash, Andrew Quick & Richard Roberts - 1998 - Blackwell.
    This ground-breaking book addresses transformations in the understanding of time and the generation and degeneration of value at the cutting edge of modernity and postmodernity. The book is a multi-disciplinary contribution to current work in the social sciences, in cultural theory and in more pragmatic areas such as advertising and global communication. It brings together the work of distinguished international scholars and new young thinkers. Time and Value contains an exploration of such themes as the timescapes of nature and the (...)
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  38. Open to Change.Vincent Nolan & Clare Jarrett - 1981
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  39. Time, Temporality, Now Experienceing Time and Concepts of Time in an Interdisciplinary Perspective.Harald Atmanspacher & Eva Ruhnau - 1997 - Springer.
    The essays in this topical volume inquire into one of the most fundamental issues of philosophy and the cognitive and natural sciences: the riddle of time. The central feature is the tension between the experience and the conceptualization of time, reflecting an apparently unavoidable antinomy of subjective first-person accounts and objective traditional science. Is time based in the physics of inanimate matter, or does it originate in the operation of our minds? Is it essential for the constitution of reality, or (...)
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  40. Hvad Er Tid En Filosofisk Diskussion.David Favrholdt & Jan Faye - 1999
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  41. Time and Process Interdisciplinary Issues.Lewis Eugene Rowell & J. T. Fraser - 1993
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  42. The Tao of Time.Diana Scharf-Hunt & Pam Hait - 1991 - Touchstone.
    Presents a program of time management that provides a six-week deceleration program based on Taoist principles to help slow down, ease stress, and change one's way of dealing with time.
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  43. Time and Tense.John Taylor - 1998
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  44. Logic and Real - Time Systems.Alan C. Brown & Mike J. Brady - 1993
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  45. Čas V Možných Světech Obrazu: Příspěvek K Ontologii Výtvarného Uměleckého Díla a Procesu Jeho Recepce.Vlastimil Zuska - 1994
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  46. Endo-Physical Paradigm and Mathematics of Subject Time.R. Buccheri & M. Saniga - unknown - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 13.
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  47. SORABJI, RICHARD.: "Time, Creation and the Continuum". [REVIEW]J. R. Lucas - 1985 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36:473.
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  48. WART, P. J.: "About Time". [REVIEW]Simon Prokhovnik - 1977 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 28:389.
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  49. The Nature of Time.T. Gold & D. L. Schumacher - 1969 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):88-89.
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  50. The Works of Archimedes.T. L. Heath - 1955 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (20):355-356.
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