Simon Prosser: Does Time Objectively Pass? The Illusion of Temporal Becoming (The Block Universe)

source: Philosophical Overdose     2015年5月16日
We are all familiar with the notion that time passes, but what does it actually mean? Could temporal passage just be an illusion? In this talk, Simon Prosser argues that the passage of time is indeed illusory. He begins by outlining some philosophical theories of temporal passage (the A theory of time - including presentism and the growing block), along with a class of theories according to which time does not objectively pass (the B theory of time - what's called eternalism or the block universe). Dr. Prosser then goes over traditional problems for the notion of passage, including McTaggart's argument, the issue of the rate of passage (i.e. how fast time passes), and the argument that passage is incompatible with modern physics (in particular, with Einstein's special theory of relativity). He then goes on to discuss his own argument that, despite appearances to the contrary, it's not actually possible to experience time passing. But because the best reason for thinking that time passes is our experience of it, we no longer have any good reason for thinking that it actually passes. If this is right, then it is an important project for philosophers and psychologists to explain why it seems to us that time passes.
"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know." Augustine

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