Objective Becoming

Objective Becoming

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What does the passage of time consist in? There are some suggestive metaphors. aEvents approach us, pass us, and recede from us, like sticks and leaves floating on the river of time.a aWe are moving from the past into the future, like ships sailing into an unknown ocean.a There is surely something right and deep about these metaphors. But how close are they to the literal truth? In this book Bradford Skow argues that they are far from the literal
truth. Skowas argument takes the form of a defense of the block universe theory of time, a theory that, in many ways, treats time as a dimension of reality that closely resembles the three dimensions of space.

Opposed to the block universe theory of time are theories that take the metaphors more seriously: presentism, the moving spotlight theory, the growing block theory, and the branching time theory. These are theories of arobusta passage of time, or aobjective becoming.a Skow argues that the best of these theories, the block universe theoryas most worthy opponent, is the moving spotlight theory, the theory that says that apresentnessa moves along the series of
times from the past into the future. Skow defends the moving spotlight theory against the objection that it is inconsistent, and the objection that it cannot answer the question of how fast time passes. He also defends it against the objection that it is incompatible with Einsteinas theory of relativity. Skow proposes several ways in
which the moving spotlight theory may be made compatible with the theory of relativity.

Still, this book is ultimately a defense of the block universe theory, not of the moving spotlight theory. Skow holds that the best arguments against the block universe theory, and for the moving spotlight theory, start from the idea that, somehow, the passage of time is given to us in experience. Skow discusses several different arguments that start from this idea, and argues that they all fail.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 21mm | 560g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198713274
  • 9780198713272
  • 2,024,172

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Time Passes? ; 2. The Block Universe ; 3. What Might Robust Passage Be? ; 4. The Moving Spotlight ; 5. Growing Blocks and Branching Times ; 6. The Moving Spotlight Theory is Consistent ; 7. How Fast Does Time Pass? ; 8. The Challenge from Relativity ; 9. Relativity and the Passage of Time ; 10. Can We Move Through Time? ; 11. Passage and Experience, I ; 12. Passage and Experience, II ; 13. Concluding Thoughts: Passage and Time-Biased Preferences ; Reference ; Index
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Review quote

Overall, this is a terrific book. It is thorough, argumentative, philosophically sophisticated, scientifically informed, rigorous, and creative. Skow has done more than anyone to elucidate and critique the moving spotlight view, and in the end I think he comes to the right conclusions. Anybody who pays this book serious attention will be rewarded with deep insight into most of the major issues in the philosophy of time. Perhaps most impressively, Skow manages to
provide his reader with a good introduction to the issues at hand while developing advanced arguments that push the state of the debate forward in interesting and fruitful directions. This is an impressive work that deserves to be widely read. * M. Joshua Mozersky, Metascience * Objective Becoming provides an original and interesting contribution to the metaphysics of timeone that will certainly spark further fruitful discussions. * Emily Paul, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science *
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About Bradford Skow

Bradford Skow graduated from Oberlin College and earned his PhD from New York University.
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Rating details

9 ratings
3 out of 5 stars
5 11% (1)
4 22% (2)
3 33% (3)
2 22% (2)
1 11% (1)
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