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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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