s t e v e n   s a v i t t

Recent Research


 

My views on the metaphysics of time in classical spacetime structure are set forth in three papers.

"A Limited Defense of Passage," appeared in American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (July, 2001): 261-70. In this paper I defend the possibility of the passage of time by showing that McTaggart's argument for its incoherence depends on an equivocation between tensed and tenseless senses of the copula is. You can download a pdf file of this paper here.

In "On Absolute Becoming and the Myth of Passage" (which appeared in Time, Reality, and Experience, edited by Craig Callender and published by Cambridge University Press in 2002) I say what the passage of time is. I was inspired to hold this view by noticing that both C. D. Broad and D. C. Williams believe that there is such a thing as passage in this minimal sense. You can download a pdf file of this paper by clicking here.

In "Presentism and Eternalism in Perspective"I argue that equivocation between tensed and tenseless senses of the copula vitiate attempts to distinguish presentism from eternalism by finding disagreement between the two views with respect to assertions like 'Only present things exist' or 'Only presently existing things are real'. I claim, in fact, that presentism and eternalism are complementary rather than incompatible views. This paper appears in The Ontology of Spacetime, ed. by Dennis Dieks (Elsevier, 2006), but you can download a copy of it from the PhilSci Archive by clicking here.

I am currently working on the same questions but assuming Minkowski spacetime as my background spacetime structure. I published "There's No Time Like the Present (in Minkowski Spacetime)" in Philosophy of Science 67 (2000, Proceedings): S563-S574, but I regard this paper as in need of some supplementation. The first results along these lines are now available in my paper 'The Transient nows' , which will appear in Quantum Reality, Relativistic Causality, and Closing the Epistemic Circle: Essays in Honour of Abner Shimony. Eds. Wayne C. Myrvold and Joy Christian. (Springer, forthcoming).

My account of what I now call causal diamonds as relativistic presents in 'The Transient nows' has attracted some criticism. I respond to this criticism in a paper that appeared in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 50 (2015): 19-24. You can link to a copy here.

In addition, I wrote and maintain the entry Being and Becoming in Modern Physics in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


This site last updated 30-Jul-2015