Publication Date

2017-04-24

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2017-04-24

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Philosophy (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2017-02-09

First Committee Member

Peter Lewis

Second Committee Member

Otávio Bueno

Third Committee Member

Berit Brogaard

Fourth Committee Member

Steven Savitt

Abstract

When perceiving a bird’s singing a melody, there seems to be a special moment – the present – at which the bird is singing the newest note, and it seems that this special moment is to be filled up with even newer contents, while the bird’s singing the first note seems gone away into the more and more distant past. Such everyday dynamic conception of time faces three important challenges: (a) that we do not have immediate experience as of presentness; (b) that our immediate experience as of presentness or temporal passage does not have metaphysical import; (c) that special relativity does not have room for a non-solipsist, non-relative form of simultaneity or presentness. In response to (a), I argue, for example, part of what it is like to hear a second hand’s ticking as present is essentially the phenomenology of hearing it as following the previous tick. In response to (b), I argue that there is a special kind of temporarily obtaining facts, such as “a token pain instantiates phenomenal presentness,” which do not supervene on eternally obtaining facts, such as “a token pain instantiates phenomenal presentness at a particular time.” In response to (c), I argue that co-presentness should be divorced from simultaneity, or, alternatively, a non-solipsist, non-relative, dynamic presentness does not requires at least two space-like separated things to be present together.

Keywords

A-Theory; Presentness; Metaphysics of Time; Temporal Experience; Special Relativity

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