Duration Enough for Presentism

Axiomathes 30 (4):391-421 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper considers a problem for dynamic presentism that has received little attention: its apparent inability to accommodate the duration of events (such as conscious experiences). After outlining the problem, I defend presentism from it. This defence proceeds in two stages. First, I argue the objection rests on a faulty assumption: that duration is temporal extension. The paper challenges that assumption on several different ways of conceiving of temporal extension. This is the negative case and forms the bulk of the paper. Second, after diagnosing the error leading to the identification of duration with temporal extension, I outline a new presentist-friendly account of duration that avoids the problem. In particular, a non-reductive account of duration is offered that treats it as a primitive quality which bestows its possessor with a certain modal quality: that the possessor potentially does not change whilst there are changes in its environs. This is the positive case. Together the positive and negative cases provide presentism with an interesting and novel way of overcoming the problem of duration.

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Citations of this work

The Dead Past Dilemma.Robert E. Pezet - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (1):51-72.

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Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
The unreality of time.John Ellis McTaggart - 1908 - Mind 17 (68):457-474.
A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.

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