Eighth IAPT Annual Conference
The International Association for Philosophy of Time (IAPT) is pleased to announce its 8th annual conference, to be held at the University of Sydney, Australia (July 27-30, 2023).
Organisers: Adrian Bardon, Sam Baron, Kristie Miller
Program Committee: Adrian Bardon, Sam Baron, David Ingram, Kristie Miller, Jonathan Tallant, Giuliano Torrengo
The conference will take place in Seminar Room 203 of the RD Watt building on the University of Sydney's Camperdown Campus, graciously provided by the Sydney Policy Lab.
The venue is a short walking distance from the University's main gate, Ross st gate, or when entering through Victoria Park (see locations in the map below)
Call for Abstracts!
Abstracts should be 500 words long and prepared for blind review. Please send your title and abstract as a PDF document to email@example.com by the 1st April 2023, 11:59pm AEDT (with your name, affiliation and the title of the paper in the body of the email and ‘Abstract Submission’ in the subject line). We expect successful applicants to be notified by 15th April.
For up to 5 early career researchers with successful abstracts (including PhD students, and anyone who is at most 5 years out from their PhD) 2000 AUD of funding each is available to defray the costs of attending the conference.
9:15-10:05 Jerzy Gołosz (Jagiellonian University) ‘Dynamic Multipresentism: In Defence of a Dynamic View of Reality’
10:10-11:00 Ant Eagle (University of Adelaide) ‘Advanced Temporalising’
11:00-11:15 Morning Tea
11:15-12:05 Cristian Mariani (Istituto di tudi Filosofici (USI)) TBA
12:10-1:00 Preston Greene (Nanyang Technological University) ‘We Will All Live Forever (or at Least a Very Long Time)’
2:00-2:50 Maria Balcells (Bucknell University) ‘The Ghost in Motion’
2:55-3:45 Suzuka Komatsu (University of St Andrews) ‘From the Common Now to the Common Temporal Passage’
3:45-4:05 Afternoon Tea
4:05-4:55 Patrick Dawson (University College Dublin) ‘Understanding Passage using Process Ontology’
Valtteri Arstila (University of Turku / University of Helsinki)
‘Experienced flow in predictive processing’
The view that we experience time passing remains popular. However, what such an experience amounts to is unclear, and no explanation has garnered widespread support. Recently, Hohwy, Paton, and Palmer (2016) introduced a new explanation for the sense of flow, based on predictive processing—an influential framework in the mind sciences and philosophy of mind. According to this concept, the brain possesses an internal model of its internal and external environment, optimized based on the evidence it collects (Clark 2013, Friston 2010, Hohwy 2013). Hohwy and his colleagues propose that our internal model encompasses a prediction or belief that our current experiences will alter. This sensation—that “the present cannot be trusted”—gives rise to the sense of flow. In this talk, I argue that a literal interpretation of their proposal is question-begging. I subsequently put forward an alternative interpretation and illustrate how similar ideas have surfaced outside the predictive processing framework.
Maria Balcells (Bucknell University)
‘The Ghost in Motion’
Time passes, time flows, time marches on. These descriptions betray our inability to think of time’s movement differently than objects’ movement. Time, however, is not an object like rivers or soldiers marching by and many have pointed out that in attributing movement to time one is committing a category mistake. A pervasive attitude of those who make this claim seems to be to dismiss temporal passage as wrongheaded. In what follows, I elaborate on the claim that belief in temporal passage is a category mistake in a way that mirrors Gilbert Ryle’s argument against mind-body dualism in Concept of Mind. In particular, I consider the relationship between our temporal experience and the supposed passage of time. Insofar as some argue that our experiences of dynamic change can only be explained by temporal passage, we are faced with a kind of temporal dualism regarding change – on the one hand we have change in an object over time (B-change) and on the other, we have the kind of genuine change (A-change) that some argue can only be explained in reference to time’s passage. The goal of this paper is to show that by recognizing the type of category mistake being committed in this form of temporal dualism we can (a) get a better sense of the relationship between temporal passage and temporal experience, and (b) disentangle the categories in order to carve space for passage realists to define temporal passage in a way that does not make it analogous to changing objects.
Silvia De Bianchi (University of Milan / UAB) & Giuliano Torrengo (University of Milan / UAB)
‘Is Atemporality Without Structure?’
In the last two decades the relevance of temporal non-locality and atemporality for fundamental physics increased at an unprecedented rate. By considering a number of physical phenomena, such as entanglement, phase transitions, and asymptotic silence scenarios, we develop a theory of atemporality understood as the lack of classical time. Our aim is to capture different kinds of atemporality, such as the now, eternity, and instantaneity. In this contribution we will address the question whether all kinds of atemporality lack temporal structure, and tackle the problem of their relations with causality. We conclude by showing the impact that our research can produce in the philosophy of time and the philosophy of physics, thereby affecting the way in which we portray the universe.
Enrico Cinti (University of Geneva / University of Urbino)
‘No Boundary for Time’
In the context of the metaphysical implications of quantum gravity, an especially central role is played by the potential implications of quantum gravity for the metaphysics of time. In this paper, I study the implications for our notions of time and temporality of quantum gravity scenarios where there is a succession of non-temporal and temporal regions, so-called atemporal emergence scenarios. In particular, I focus on the example provided by the Hartle-Hawking no-boundary wavefunction of the universe, one of the leading proposals for the state of the universe in quantum cosmology. I start by highlighting how the no-boundary wavefunction both encodes a transition from no-time to time in the form of a transition from a Euclidean phase to a Lorentzian one, and how, despite the non-temporal nature of this transition, a suitable notion of dynamics can nonetheless be defined. With this understanding in mind, I then highlight how a demand for time to have strongly dynamical features, most notably encapsulated in A-theories of time, makes it impossible to understand how time emerges from no-time in the no-boundary wavefunction. Instead, I argue that a more static metaphysics of time, naturally associated with B-theories of time, is required to make sense of the emergence of time in quantum cosmology, and should thus be preferred when trying to interpret cosmological scenarios in quantum gravity.
Patrick Dawson (University College Dublin)
‘Understanding Passage using Process Ontology’
Presentists believe that only the present exists. Presentists also believe in robust temporal passage, or flow. But presentists run into problems when attempting to explicate passage. One common approach is to define passage as a change in which time is present, but in this talk I argue that this approach runs into problems, given the complexities in how presentists understand (the series of) times. If times are merely abstract or ersatz, for example, then they might be incapable of grounding dynamism or flow as a feature of concrete reality. I levy a similar objection to some other views of passage, such as those invoking vector properties. My interim conclusion is that, in positing temporal passage, presentists should posit that everyday concrete entities are of a fundamentally different nature than they would be in a passage-less world. This leads me to identify process ontology as a promising option for better-understanding temporal passage. I suggest a view under which reality is merely three-dimensional, and is populated by intrinsically dynamic processes rather than by static substances. `Temporal passage' is a term used to refer, very loosely, to the processual nature of reality. While there will remain much to flesh out about this approach, I argue processual views of this kind might fare better into the various challenges that presentists face regarding the passage of time.
Heather Dyke (University of Otago)
‘Temporal Phenomenology as Controlled Hallucination’
A naturalistic approach to the philosophy of time ought to accommodate and take seriously the findings of science that are relevant to those questions. I argue that this includes not just physics, but also cognitive science, and that the B-theory has an advantage over the A-theory with respect to both these areas of scientific inquiry. Some features of our temporal experience are better explained by contributions from our cognition than by the claim that it is straightforwardly veridical. I examine the ‘controlled hallucination’ or predictive processing account of perception, and argue that it combines well with a deflationary approach to temporal experience, to offer an account of the basis of our intuitions that temporal phenomenology includes experiences of presentness and passage.
Ant Eagle (University of Adelaide)
The problem of advanced modalizing is a challenge to modal reductionists who accept a ‘spatializing’ conception of possible worlds as akin to regions within a larger pluriverse, and adopt a concomitant ‘restrictor’ conception of possible truth as truth when matters are restricted to a possibility. In the presence of an unobjectionable inference rule allowing the derivation of possibly 𝜙 from 𝜙, this conception leads to contradiction within the reductionist framework. Many have noted analogies between modality and tense, and some note the potential for a parallel problem of ‘advanced temporalizing’ to afflict temporal reductionists who accept a spatializing conception of times as regions within a larger four‐dimensional block universe and a restrictor conception of temporary truth as truth when matters are restricted to a time, again given the apparently unobjectionable rule that sometimes 𝜙 is derivable from 𝜙 (Deasy 2020). However, once a semantics of natural language tense is developed in appropriate detail, and giving due consideration to a representative body of examples, there are fewer parallels between the standard modal logic and plausible treatments of tense than is often supposed. The temporal reductionist ought to accept a ‘spatializing’ account of time, but the simple restrictor treatment of tenses ought to be rejected. A more complex account is independently needed to accommodate parallels between tense and pronouns (noted long ago by Partee 1973, 1984), and that treatment requires mu tiple overt and covert temporal variables ranging over temporal intervals, not just single times. The resulting semantics is B‐theoretic, as it delivers eternal propositions as the semantic values of sentences in contexts. But it is not the simple ‘moments‐first’ quantificational picture of tense that is often taken to characterise the B‐theory.
Peter Evans (University of Queensland)
‘How Clocks Define Physical Time’
It is the prevailing paradigm in contemporary physics to model the dynamical evolution of physical systems in terms of a real parameter conventionally denoted as ‘t’ (‘little tee’). We typically call such dynamical models ‘laws of nature’ and t we call ‘physical time’. It is common in the philosophy of time to regard t as time itself, and to take the global structure of general relativity as the ultimate guide to physical time, and so consequently the true nature of time.
In this talk we defend the idea that physical time, t, is rather better defined as an operational modelling parameter: we measure relations between changing physical quantities using bespoke physical systems – i.e. clocks – that coordinate local coincidences. We argue that the sorts of physical systems that make good clocks – what we call precision clocks – are those that exhibit self-sustained oscillations known as limit cycles, which are ubiquitous in open, driven, stable, dissipative systems. Significantly, we argue that not everything that moves can be a precision clock. We develop the physical and philosophical ramifications of this conception of physical time, particularly the notion that physical time does not track something ‘out there’ in the world. As a result, we speculate that physical time is perhaps not as different from manifest time as many philosophers of time (and apparently general relativity) seem to suggest.
Brigitte C. Everett (University of Sydney)
‘Making Temporal Passage Illusionism Intelligible’
In recent years, temporal passage illusionism has fallen out of favour. In part this is due to intelligibility problems. The thought is that the temporal passage illusionist’s claim that we have experiences as of robust temporal passage, when such passage does not exist, is false. In this talk, I will distinguish between three such intelligibility problems. The first is the alien properties problem. This is the problem that in order to sign up to passage illusionism one needs to hold that we can have experiences qualitatively like other beings, and it is unclear how the passage illusionist can hold this. In other words, it is the worry of how the illusionist can claim that we can have illusory experiences as of passage, without ever having had veridical experiences of passage. The second intelligibility problem is the identification problem. This problem arises via the illusionist need to claim that experiences as of passage represent the same experience that a veridical experience of passage would. Finally, the third intelligibility problem is the epistemic problem. The problem is that, even with an adequate answer to the first and second problems, the illusionist may not have reason to believe that the experiences in question represent passage. I outline why the illusionist is in need of solutions to all three problems, and what the illusionist needs in order to make passage illusionism intelligible.
Akiko Frischhut (Sophia University)
‘Awareness Without Time’
Recently, contemporary philosophers with an interest in consciousness have turned their attention towards “fringe states of consciousness”. Some examples may include dreams, trances and deep meditative states. Teetering between wakefulness and non-consciousness, fringe states illuminate the limits and boundaries of consciousness. This talk aims to give a coherent conceptualization of deep meditative states, focussing in particular on the phenomenal temporality during meditation. Advanced meditators overwhelmingly describe deep states of meditation as atemporal and timeless; however, they also report being continuously alert while meditating. I intend to give a coherent interpretation of this apparent contradiction. After introducing some candidate interpretations, I shall argue that during (deepest) meditation, the subject experiences ‘pure duration’, that is, duration without temporal structure. This, I argue, explains best why meditators describe deep meditation as ongoing but timeless awareness. A central part of the talk will expand on a coherent account of phenomenal duration without phenomenal succession.
Cody Gilmore (UC Davis)
‘Personal Persistence, Fission, and Circular Time’
I discuss a new kind of fission case, due to Heather Demarest (2016). The clearest version of Demarest’s case is set in world in which time is circular and forms a loop of, say, 40 years. Standard fission cases involve ‘Y’-shaped processes; call them Y-fission cases. The Demarest-style cases, when set in circular time, involve a ‘6’-shaped process; call them 6-fission cases. Here is one such case:
At time t0, what appears to be just one person, Center, exists, and is located at region rC. At time t1, that person divides into Righty and Lefty. At time t2, both Righty and Left exist, and Righty is located at rR, and Lefty is located at rL. Lefty continues to exist for several more years and then dies, at time t3, at region r2. Righty survives. Righty moves out of region rR and into region rC. They adopt the name ‘Center’. Center then divides, at t1, into Righty and Lefty . . .
I argue that several extant theories of fission fail to generalize unproblematically from Y-fission to 6-fission. My argument relies on a locality principle that is analogous to the old ‘only a and b’ principle. I conclude that if 6-fission is metaphysically possible, this tilts the balance of considerations in favor those theories of fission that do unproblematically generalize.
Jerzy Gołosz (Jagiellonian University)
‘Dynamic Multipresentism: In Defence of a Dynamic View of Reality’
The paper defends a dynamic view of reality, termed dynamic multipresentism, which is founded on the assumption of the existence of the flow of time. The vindication of existence of the flow of time makes use of a metaphysical theory of the flow of time which is based on the notion of dynamic existence. It is shown that the conception of dynamic existence, which is a generalisation of becoming, allows one to explain the origin of time: it is claimed that just the dynamic existence of objects is responsible for the continuous emergence of new presents, and every new present means a new moment of time. According to this proposal, time is a derivative of the dynamic existence of objects: consecutive moments of time—each of which constitutes momentarily present—are constituted by dynamically existing objects, whatever they are. Time emerging in this way is a parameter which can be used to mark consecutive stages of the dynamic existence of particular objects. Due to the locality of the dynamic existence of objects and the locality of now, the time constituted by dynamically existing objects is their individual time, which can be equated with the so-called proper time of the theory of relativity. The argument is also advanced which aims to show that physics is unable to provide us with a theory of the flow of time and that we should look for such a theory in metaphysics.
Preston Greene (Nanyang Technological University)
‘We Will All Live Forever (or at Least a Very Long Time)’
Most people think that a secular and scientific worldview implies that we will all die within decades, and our deaths will mean the permanent cessation of our experiences (unless, of course, we manage to develop technologies that significantly extend our lifespans). I argue that two premises popular in philosophy and cosmology imply that this is not so. The first premise builds upon Derek Parfit's psychological account of personal identity. I point out an implication of Parfit's theory suggested by Jeff McMahon but not explicitly endorsed by Parfit. Unlike McMahon, I view the implication as a desirable feature rather than a drawback, and I offer arguments in support of it. The second premise is inflationary cosmology. These two premises imply that we will all live forever (or, at least, for an exceptionally long duration), as will all the supposedly dead people who we mistakenly believe are no longer experiencing anything. This paper does not prove that the premises are true, but it does show that they are plausible. Thus, the argument warrants scrutiny, since the conclusion would reshape our understanding of life in profound ways.
Christoph Hoerl (University of Warwick)
‘Two roads to the idea of temporal passage’
I distinguish between 'empiricist' and 'rationalist' accounts of the source of the idea of the passage of time. The former locate that source in sensory or introspective experience, whereas the latter maintain that the idea of time passing is an integral part of self-conscious agency. I raise some problems for the former, but I also point out some puzzling features of the latter, especially when it comes to the claims that the passage of time might be an illusion.
David Ingram (University of York)
‘Dynamic Existence, Dynamic Existents’
Our world is genuinely dynamic; reality itself changes, along with the things within it. What is required from our best metaphysics to capture a genuinely dynamic world? In short: existence itself must be dynamic, and there must be dynamic existents (such as pure powers and processes). In this paper, we clarify what is required of the nature of existence in a genuinely dynamic world, leaning on work developing 'Existence Presentism' and connecting that to work on powers. We suggest that this combination of literatures gives us the resources to differentiate a frozen (or 'static') world, from a dynamic world, and in the process respond to challenges that have been raised for presentism and other dynamic views.
Nihel Jhou (National Taiwan University)
‘The Physical Detectability of Changing the Past’
The paper maintains that there is a certain kind of natural alteration of the past, if we assume an action-production notion of causation (based on Mumford and Anjumian’s causal dispositionalism), the B-theory of time, and the existence of irreducible worldly chanciness. The paper further assumes a hypertime interpretation of the natural alteration of the past, and posits that a causal chain takes not only time but also hypertime. From these assumptions, the paper concludes that the alteration of the past is physically detectable through genuinely inconsistent observations of a particular event. This conclusion amounts to testing metaphysical theories empirically. If experimental results show otherwise, then the whole argument can serve as a reductio ad absurdum against some of the involved metaphysical theories.
Suzuka Komatsu (University of St Andrews)
‘From the Common Now to the Common Temporal Passage’
Many of us treat temporal passage as an objective phenomenon. We seem to know and communicate about the phenomenon of temporal passage without explaining what it is. What gives rise to our belief in the objective temporal passage? I argue that our manifestation of temporal passage is derived from a belief that we share the moment of now intersubjectively not only at a given time, but also over time. My argument is inspired by Callender’s (2017) argument for the common now that we have an intersubjective agreement over which instant is ‘now’, unlike the spatial case of ‘here’. Consequently, we are disposed to believe that there is an objective, common now. To argue for why we believe in objective temporal passage, I aim to clarify (i) why we take temporal passage to be an objective phenomenon and (ii) why we seem to experience an apparent movement of now. As for (i), I use the same strategy as Callender (2017). Regarding (ii), I argue that the way we seem to experience temporal passage requires an enduring now. In the final part of my talk, I attempt to investigate whether my proposal above has any implications for which ontological view we should find best fits our experience.
Jordan Lee-Tory (University of Sydney)
‘Coincidence, Temporal Parts, and the Grounding Problem’
One might be tempted to think that cases of partial temporal coincidence in which some objects coincide at some but not all times involve numerically distinct objects. This move is made in response to the differences in properties that can be identified in these cases. If we are convinced by such an account, naturally, the question arises of what it is in virtue of that these objects have these distinct properties. The Grounding problem is an issue of identifying plausible grounds for such properties given that these objects coincide at some times and hence at those times, have identical microphysical structures. The thought goes at these times, there are no actual physical differences that can serve as the grounds for the fact that they have these other differences. One response is to appeal to a perdurantist account of persistence such that the distinct temporal parts. Firstly, I will argue that appealing to only the distinctive temporal parts is unmotivated. If temporal parts are the right kinds of grounds for such properties, then all of the temporal parts should do the grounding work leading to both numerically distinct objects having all of the same properties at the times at which they overlap. This is undesirable for those who take these property differences seriously. If one appeals to only the distinct temporal parts as the grounds of these properties, it is totally opaque how such a view is supposed to go. I will present some examples that home in on this worry and ultimately conclude that even if temporal parts can be the grounds, simply pointing to them makes no progress in resolving the grounding problem. What is needed is further elaboration on why these are the right grounds, which the likelihood of providing such an account seems dubious.
Lisa Leininger (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)
‘Where's the Whoosh?’
The passage of time has long been held as an exclusive feature of A-theory; evidence of this is that A-theories are typically understood to be “dynamic” theories of time. In contrast, the B-theory has earned the label of the static theory of time. Recently, several B-theorists have resisted this label by attempting to accommodate the tenseless passage of time within the B-theory blockworld. However, this strategy faces what I call the problem of tenseless passage: that the B-theory blockworld lacks the resources needed to capture the true transience of time. I argue that the B-theory is dynamic enough to lend the requisite whoosh to time – and may even do a better job preserving time’s transience than its A-theory counterparts.
Dan Marshall (Lingnan University)
‘Presentism and Inertial Motion’
Theodore Sider has argued that presentists cannot satisfactorily account for inertial motion, and that this is true even if we assume the empirical adequacy of Newtonian physics. According to Sider, this is because the best version of Newtonian physics endorses Galilean substantivalism, and, given Galilean substantivalism, presentists cannot account for cross-temporal spatial-relations, which they need to do in order to account for inertial motion. In this talk, I argue that Sider’s argument is unsuccessful.
Teresa McCormack (Queen’s University Belfast)
‘Temporal Asymmetries and the Relative Utility of Memory and Experience’
In this talk, I will outline two empirical studies that have directly investigated the relative utility of memories versus experiences, and examined whether this relative utility shows a past-future temporal asymmetry. In the Past condition of Study 1, participants chose between two events that both occurred in the past. Participants were asked to express a preference between 10 hours of past pain that will never be remembered, and 1 hour of past pain that will be remembered. In the Future condition participants made the same choice (10 hours of unremembered pain versus 1 hour of remembered pain) but both events were located in the future. The findings show that the temporal location of pain appeared to influence the disutility assigned to memories of pain relative to those assigned to painful experiences themselves: when pain is located in the past, this seems to enhance the importance of its memory. Study 2 suggested that there appear to be individual differences in the extent to which participants assign value to memories versus experiences, and although most participants will shift their preferences if the relative quantities of remembered versus experienced pain are sufficiently changed, some do not. These findings will be discussed with reference to ongoing debates in philosophy and psychology about past-future temporal asymmetries in judgments, and in particular consider whether there are alternatives to considering past-future temporal asymmetries in value to be a brute fact.
Cristian Mariani (Istituto di tudi Filosofici (USI))
Shen Pan (University of Maryland, College Park)
‘Towards a Multi-Level Account of Felt Passage’
I distinguish experience as of robust from non-robust passage. Although this distinction does not itself aspire to originality, it invites a novel project of elucidating the intuitive belief that time passes in a metaphysically-lightweight but nevertheless substantive manner. This in turn motivates the idea that we have an intuitive theory in the domain of time, analogous to our intuitive knowledge in domains such as physics, psychology, and biology. Specifically, I propose that our intuitive grasp of time is constituted by a multi-level representational structure involving both non-conceptual and conceptual contents. Within this framework, I emphasize the non-conceptual sense of the passage of time, by arguing that conscious duration has a built-in dynamic quality. This is because duration perception is as much about representing the dynamics of event structure from the temporal perspectives of the acting agent over time, as it is about representing metric temporal information. One upshot of my account is that, in a quasi-Kantian way, it is not so much that time’s passage is ‘given’ in experience, as it is that experience as we know it becomes possible because of the structuring it receives from our intuitive grasp of time’s dynamic character.
Rasmus Pedersen (University of Sydney)
‘Trade-off Issues for the Brain Time Theory’
This paper proposes a time perceptual trade-off, that trades between, the speed of perceptual availability and the accuracy of temporal binding, that I argue any theory of temporal information processing must get the right to propose a satisfactory temporal information processing theory for time perception. The popular theory the brain time theory proposes a simple and elegant theory of temporal information processing according to which the ordinality of neural processing of sensory features is isomorphic to the ordinality of our conscious representations of them. Despite its elegance, I hold that this theory is insufficient in so far as it cannot account for the proposed time perceptual trade-off. The brain time theory either errs on the one side of the trade-off at the cost of the other, or it gets the trade-off right at the cost of violating its two central theses. This trade-off analysis also provides the deeper lesson that we must look towards a theory that allows for the dissociation between the time of representing and the time represented if we are to adequately account for the temporal information processing that underlies time perception.
Nicholas Rimell (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
‘A-Theoretic Change and the Lost Present’
The epistemic objection to belief in non-presentist A-theory consists of two claims. First, if the A-theory is true but presentism is false, then we cannot know that we’re present (and we probably aren’t). Second, it follows that belief in non-presentist A-theory is implausible or, at the very least, unmotivated. The standard way to resist this objection is to argue that we can know that we’re present even given non-presentist A-theory. I explore the alternative: developing a version (or versions) of non-presentist A-theory according to which, first, we (probably) are not present (at least not in the relevant sense of ‘present’) but, second, we still have good reason to be A-theorists. Call a view of this sort a “lost-present” version of the A-theory. I argue that, whether or not a lost-present version of the A-theory is true, reflection on where – if at all – such a view goes wrong reveals that the epistemic objection fails. A key to my discussion throughout is the idea that belief in the A-theory is warranted if and only if we can observe A-theoretic change.
Jakub Róg (University of Warsaw)
‘The Possibility of Discrete Time’
The question of whether time is discrete or continuous is often related to a similar question about space. Evidently, there is no conceptual problem in the case of continuous time and space. It is a bit more complicated if one considers discrete time and space, or it is getting even worse in the so-called ‘mixed case,’ i.e., discrete time and continuous space. The latter possibility seems to be particularly interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it avoids Weyl’s tile argument and its derivatives. Secondly, it is claimed that discrete time entails the space to be or at least to appear discrete, while it is not the case the other way around. It leads to a surprising conclusion that time dominates space with regard to ontological status. In my talk, I deal with the possibilities of non-continuous time and/or space in three steps. First, I find the prerequisites for non-continuous time and space, and I argue that some of the possibilities should be discarded as unphysical. Secondly, I consider the movement of physical objects to show that the meaning of velocity and acceleration differs significantly between the cases in question. As a result, I argue in favour of the philosophical stance that different physical laws are predominant within spatiotemporal regions of different scales. Finally, I discuss the difference between the ontological and the epistemological status of discrete time. I point out that if one assumes discrete time (ontologically), one must do the same epistemologically, which seems to be often overlooked in the literature. Consequently, even if time and space were discrete, it would be challenging to prove it, for reasons resulting, as I argue, from hidden assumptions which should not be neglected.
Jonathan Tallant (University of Nottingham)
‘In Favour of Existence Presentism’
I offer four arguments in favour of Existence Presentism. I first show how it is that EP delivers a philosophically plausible account of why objects only exist at particular points in time—the now. In short, the answer turns on the fact that presence is existence and so only the present can exist. The second argument develops a challenge to competitor theories that are partially dynamic: why is temporaryism true of objects in the very way that it is? If objects can go into existence and go out of existence we are owed some explanation of why the only do so in the present. In developing this objection I argue that no competing dynamic theory of time can answer this question. Third, I consider a slew of perceptual challenges that have been laid at the door of various different dynamic theories of time, by the likes of Callender and Prosser. Again very roughly, the crux of their arguments has been that whatever it is to be ‘present’ has no place in the causal mechanics of our perceptual or scientific models. In response, I agree that this is true of other theories, but note that since EP identifies presence with existence, and since existence precisely does have a place in the causal mechanics of our perceptual and scientific models, so presence does as well. Finally, I argue that if only a 'no future' metaphysics is compatible with the reality of causation, and that EP is the best of the 'no future' models.
Wen Yu (University of Sydney)
‘The Pervasiveness of Personites: Challenges Old and New’
Lately, a considerable number of authors have noted that a “generous” ontology – one which admits of the existence of a plenitude of objects that are apparently not recognized by common sense – when applied to persons, seems to have disturbing or unacceptable implications for ethics.
Certain ontological theories – theories of persistence, accounts of vagueness, theories of personal identity, accounts of material constitution/coincidence, etc. – postulate objects that resemble, overlap with, or are indiscernible from persons (in morally relevant respects) but nevertheless fail to be persons according to those theories – call them “personites”. This much is hardly new; and proponents of a neater, more commonsensical ontology have questioned such a proliferation of objects on various grounds. What’s novel is the contention that, in general terms, given that these personites are very similar to, or even (in morally relevant respects) indistinguishable from persons, they possess whatever moral status that persons are supposed to possess. In a nutshell, personites have moral personhood, though not ontological personhood.
“[P]ersonites are ethical termites; they eat away at the foundations.” How? I offer an overview of these arguments, taxonomizing the particular ethical implications into two interactive dimensions: moral agency and moral patiency; intersubjective moral practice and distributive justice. I then emphasize on the generality and pervasiveness of the problem and suggest that it’s better appreciated in relation with familiar issues such as the Problem of Too Many Thinkers.
Manuel Zambrano (University of Seville / Archives Henri-Poincaré)
‘New Theories of Persistence: Four Analysis and One Proposal’
In this paper I propose to carry out a comparative analysis of the four new theories of persistence. In recent years, four new theories have emerged in the debate about persistence, each of them presenting itself as a better alternative to the two classical positions, namely endurantism and perdurantism. Each of these new theories compares itself to the classical theories and proposes new solutions to the difficulties present in them. But these new theories are yet to be compared with each other. This comparative analysis between the new accounts is the work that I present in this paper. At the end of it, I will offer an original proposal to explain the persistence of objects based on the best arguments of some of these new theories".
July 29: Sightseeing at the Sydney Harbour
We have a smashing evening planned for you, exploring the Sydney harbour area. After our final talk of the day, we will all make our way to Newtown Station, where we take a train to Circular Quay. We will begin our adventure at The Rocks, a short walk from there. The Rocks is an architectural gem, rich in history and vibrant with hip spots - a blend of the old and the new. First thing first - we freshen up with some drinks and/or snacks in one of the area’s signature trendy pubs. Then, at 7:00pm we will walk around the area and do some sightseeing. Of course, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are a must! At this point of the night, we might decide to split so that everyone could grab a bite of their choice. To finish on a high note, we will re-adjourn to watch the darling harbour fireworks at 9:00pm. This will conclude our tour, but it might not be the end of this night, if people so choose.
July 31: a Walk in National Park
Let’s enjoy our fifth day together walking the Curra Moors loop track. This 10km hike has something for everyone: the Australian bush on the one hand, and the breathtaking coastal views on the other. The area is abundant with native wildflowers and birds; when we make our stop at the iconic Eagle Rock, we might be lucky enough to spot some whales (it is whale season, after all). And of course, the brilliant Curracurrong Falls, the only waterfall in Sydney (and one out of three in Australia) that flows directly into the sea.
Our tour bus will leave from Campus at 9:00, and we will start our hike around 10:00. Make sure to bring enough drinking water, sunscreen, and a hat, and wear sensible hiking shoes. We will stop for a picnic lunch, so make sure to pack some lunch and snacks.