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Title: On the viability of presentism
Author: Allison, Rose Philippa
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 5569
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Although he does not know it, the man on the Clapham omnibus is a presentist. Or to put it more accurately, the man on the Clapham omnibus has ideas about time, which (at least) imply much of presentism. Or so I argue in this thesis. While some of our pre-theoretic ideas about time are no doubt under-determined in certain respects, the man on the bus might be alarmed to learn that the majority of philosophers claim that our intuitive views about time are naïve and wrong. This is a serious claim. And it requires a clear explanation; for it suggests that ordinary people are living under the illusion that temporal reality is a certain way, when in fact it is not. Starting from the assumption that presentism is the common-sense view of time, this thesis asks the following questions. Is presentism a viable theory? Are the metaphysical theories of time presented as the alternatives to presentism viable theories? And in what respects, if any, are these alternative theories superior to presentism, such that they require us to give up or amend our common-sense ideas about time? To answer these questions, I explain what each of these theories are, and what their commitments are. This is in order to clarify what the dispute between presentism and its rivals is really about. I then argue that despite facing a number of serious objections, there are versions of presentism that can meet these objections. I also argue that the alternatives to presentism have serious problems of their own. I therefore conclude that not only is the dispute between presentism and its rivals not settled, but also that there are good reasons to prefer presentism, as it allows us to keep many of our common-sense ideas about time.
Supervisor: Hughes, Christopher Mark ; Textor, Mark ; Adamson, Peter Scott Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available