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Grant number like: FT-52693-04

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Michael Cannon Rea
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2004 – 7/31/2004

Against Presentism: A Defense of the Reality of Past and Future Times

According to our commonsense conception of time, past objects and events no longer exist; future objects and events do not yet exist. Yesterday’s headache is quite literally gone; what tomorrow may bring is not yet fixed. But this view of time is in tension with some of our best scientific theories. Many philosophers argue that the tension should be resolved in favor of common sense. In doing so, they defend presentism, the view that only present objects and events exist. I shall argue that presentism is indefensible and that the usual strategy for defending it is methodologically flawed. The tension between scientific and commonsense conceptions of time should therefore be resolved in favor of the view of time (four-dimensionalism) suggested by modern science.