Temporal experience and the present in George P. Adams’ eternalism

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (2):355-376 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In the early twentieth century, many philosophers in America thought that time should be taken seriously in one way or another. George P. Adams (1882-1961) argued that the past, present and future are all real but only the present is actual. I call this theory ‘actualist eternalism’. In this paper, I articulate his novel brand of eternalism as one piece of his metaphysical system and I explain how he argued for the view in light of the best explanations of temporal experience and the present. I argue that his exploitation of analogies between time and modality offer some lessons for current debates about time such as the importance of providing a temporal epistemology. I also extract what I call the temporal boundary problem and argue that it gives rise to an unaddressed challenge for presentists and growing block theorists.

Similar books and articles

Temporal Form and Existence.George P. Adams - 1935 - University of California Publications in Philosophy 18:203-225.
Zaman Sorunu: Şimdici ve Ebediyetçi Zaman Anlayışları.A. Suat Gozcu - 2018 - Kutadgubilig Felsefe-Bilim Araştırmaları Dergisi 38:41-66.
String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity and Eternalism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10:17.
Presentism: Foreigner-Friendly or Xenophobic?Bryan Frances - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):479-488.
Relative and Absolute Presence.Sean Enda Power - 2016 - In Bruno Mölder, Valtteri Arstila & Peter Ohrstrom (eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time. Cham: Springer. pp. 69-100.
What is temporal ontology?Natalja Deng - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):793-807.


Added to PP

329 (#57,310)

6 months
134 (#22,039)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

A. R. J. Fisher
Gonzaga University

Citations of this work

Norman Kemp Smith on the experience of duration.Geoffrey Gorham - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (2):295-313.

Add more citations

References found in this work

New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1891 - International Journal of Ethics 1 (2):143-169.
Anselm and actuality.David K. Lewis - 1970 - Noûs 4 (2):175-188.

View all 34 references / Add more references