Full text Read free See used
Andersen, Holly, , Rick Grush. A Brief History of Time Consciousness: Historical Precursors to James and Husserl
2009, Journal of the History of Philosophy 47: 277-307.
Expand entry
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: William James’ Principles of Psychology, in which he made famous the ‘specious present’ doctrine of temporal experience, and Edmund Husserl’s Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins, were giant strides in the philosophical investigation of the temporality of experience. However, an important set of precursors to these works has not been adequately investigated. In this article, we undertake this investigation. Beginning with Reid’s essay ‘Memory’ in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, we trace out a line of development of ideas about the temporality of experience that runs through Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, William Hamilton, and finally the work of Shadworth Hodgson and Robert Kelly, both of whom were immediate influences on James (though James pseudonymously cites the latter as ‘E.R. Clay’). Furthermore, we argue that Hodgson, especially his Metaphysic of Experience (1898), was a significant influence on Husserl.

Comment: Background reading on temporal perception - a nice historical survey of discussions of the specious present.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Anne Conway, , . Selections from the Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy
1994, in Margaret Atherton (ed.) Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Hackett Publishing Company. [originally written 1677]
Expand entry
Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

After the SEP: Anne Conway’s treatise is a work of Platonist metaphysics in which she derives her system of philosophy from the existence and attributes of God. The framework of Conway’s system is a tripartite ontological hierarchy of ‘species’, the highest of which is God, the source of all being. Christ, or ‘middle nature’, links God and the third species, called ‘Creature’. […] Anne Conway denies the existence of material body as such, arguing that inert corporeal substance would contradict the nature of God, who is life itself. Incorporeal created substance is, however, differentiated from the divine, principally on account of its mutability and multiplicity even so, the infinite number and constant mutability of created monads constitute an obverse reflection of the unity, infinity, eternity and unchangeableness of God. The continuum between God and creatures is made possible through ‘middle nature’, an intermediary being, through which God communicates life, action, goodness and justice. […] The spiritual perfectionism of Anne Conway’s system has dual aspect: metaphysical and moral. On the one hand all things are capable of becoming more spirit-like, that is, more refined qua spiritual substance. At the same time, all things are capable of increased goodness. She explains evil as a falling away from the perfection of God, and understands suffering as part of a longer term process of spiritual recovery. She denies the eternity of hell, since for God to punish finite wrong-doing with infinite and eternal hell punishment would be manifestly unjust and therefore a contradiction of the divine nature. Instead she explains pain and suffering as purgative, with the ultimate aim of restoring creatures to moral and metaphysical perfection. Anne Conway’s system is thus not just an ontology and but a theodicy.

Comment: This chapter could be used in a history of philosophy course as one week's reading. The author has a metaphysics that is often seen to anticipate that of Leibniz so one could, e.g., include a week on Conway in advance of a week or two (or three) on Leibniz.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Haslanger, Sally, , . Persistence Through Time
2003, In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, 315-354.
Expand entry
Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Introduction: Things change: objects come into existence, last for a while, go out of existence, move through space, change their parts, change their qualities, change in their relations to things. All this would seem to be uncontroversial. But philosophical attention to any of these phenomena can generate perplexity and has resulted in a number of long-standing puzzles. One of the most famous puzzles about change threatens to demonstrate that nothing can persist through time, that all existence is momentary at best. Let’s use the term ‘alteration’ for the sort of change that occurs when a persisting object changes its properties.

Comment: A good overview of the philosophical issues involved in persistence through time. Would be a good preliminary material in a philosophy of time course. Or, since this is a fundamental philosophical problem, could be used in an introduction to philosophy course as a more clear alternative or supplement to ancient sources.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Miller, Kristie, , . Backwards Causation, Time, and the Open Future
2008, Metaphysica 9(2): 173-191.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Here are some intuitions we have about the nature of space and time. There is something fundamentally different about the past, present, and future. What is definitive of the past is that the past events are fixed. What is definitive of the future is that future events are not fixed. What is definitive of the present is that it marks the objective ontological border between the past and the future and, by doing so, instantiates a particularly salient phenomenological property of nowness. Call the combination of these intuitions according to which there exists an objective present, a fixed past, and an open future, the intuitive view. I argue that, given the intuitive view, the possibility of backwards causation – and hence, for instance, backwards time travel – is problematic.

Comment: A nice paper to use near the start of a Philosophy of Time course, or in a Metaphysics course before introducing backwards causation and time travel. This is because it gives a good motivation of the 'common sense' view, so it could be good to get clear on this and what it can entail.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Miller, Kristie, , . Is Some Backwards Time Travel Inexplicable?
2017, American Philosophical Quarterly 54(2)): 131-141.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: It has been suggested that there is something worrisome, puzzling, or incomprehensible about the sorts of causal loops sometimes involved in backwards time travel. This paper disentangles two distinct puzzles and evaluates whether they provide us reason to find backwards time travel incomprehensible, inexplicable, or otherwise worrisome. The paper argues that they provide no such reason.

Comment: This could be useful for an advanced UG or an MA course where Time Travel has already been taught. It's a good one to motivate the thought that time travel is metaphysically possible!

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Miller, Kristie, , . Time Travel and the Open Future
2005, Disputatio 19(1): 223-232.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper, I argue that the thesis that time travel is logically possible, is inconsistent with the necessary truth of any of the usual ‘open future objective present’ models of the universe. It has been relatively uncontroversial until recently to hold that presentism is inconsistent with the possibility of time travel. I argue that recent arguments to the contrary do not show that presentism is consistent with time travel. Moreover, the necessary truth of other open future-objective present models which we might, prima facie, have supposed to be more amenable to the possibility of time travel, turn out also to be inconsistent with this possibility.

Comment: A nice, short paper that could be a good bridge between teaching Metaphysics of Time and Metaphysics of Time Travel. It would be good to have already taught A-theory vs B Theory first, as well as specific versions of the A theory (although the paper does also give a good overview of some of these).

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Ney, Alyssa, , . Metaphysics: An Introduction
2015, Routledge.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Tyron Goldschmidt

Publisher’s note: <em>Metaphysics: An Introduction</em> combines comprehensive coverage of the core elements of metaphysics with contemporary and lively debates within the subject. It provides a rigorous and yet accessible overview of a rich array of topics, connecting the abstract nature of metaphysics with the real world. Topics covered include: Basic logic for metaphysics, An introduction to ontology, Abstract objects, Material objects Critiques of metaphysics, Free Will, Time, Modality, Persistence, Causation, Social ontology: the metaphysics of race. This outstanding book not only equips the reader with a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of metaphysics but provides a valuable guide to contemporary metaphysics and metaphysicians. Additional features such as exercises, annotated further reading, a glossary and a companion website www.routledge.com/cw/ney will help students find their way around this subject and assist teachers in the classroom

Comment: An excellent textbook to use for an introduction to metaphysics course. Provides a great overview of and introduction to topics such as modality, inexistence, causation, time, race, social ontology, and the special composition question. This textbook could be used as the key reading for the whole course.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Steward, Helen, , . Processes, Continuants, and Individuals
2013, Mind 122 (487):fzt080
Expand entry
Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Will Hornett

Abstract: The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and the grounding of those ideas and intuitions in a more plausible metaphysics than is provided by the continuant view. It is argued that in addition to a distinction between events (conceived of as count-quantified) and processes (conceived of as mass-quantified) there is room and need for a third category, that of the individual process, which can be illuminatingly compared with the idea of a substance. Individual processes indeed share important metaphysical features with substantial continuants, but they do not lack temporal parts. Instead, it is argued that individual processes share with substantial continuants an important property I call ‘modal robustness in virtue of form’. The paper explains what this property is, and further suggests that the category of individual process, thus understood, might be of considerable value to the philosophy of action.

Comment: An important contribution to the debate on processes and events which should be central reading in a metaphysics course dealing with those issues. Steward argues against Stout's view of processes, so this paper should be taught alongside his 'Processes' (1997). Steward also deals with methodological issues in metaphysics and involves a nice elucidation of Wiggins's Conceptual Realism so can be taught as an example of that view. This paper could easily be taught in a senior year metaphysics course.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Thomson, Judith Jarvis, , . McTaggart on Time
2001, Noûs 35(s15): 229-252.
Expand entry
Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Introduction: McTaggart’s argument for the conclusion that time does not exist is notoriously hard to understand. C. D. Broad says that when properly interpreted, its main part can be seen to be “a philosophical ‘howler’.”  Others see things in it that they regard as true and important, or if not true, then anyway important. But I have not seen any interpretation of it that seems to me to get it exactly right. And I think that it pays to get it right: there are lessons to be learned from consideration of what goes on in it. By way of reminder, McTaggart’s argument has two parts. The first part aims at the conclusion that time does not exist unless the A series exists. The second part aims at the conclusion that the A series does not exist. It follows that time does not exist

Comment: One of the clearest statements of McTaggart's argument about time; the interpretation is well-argued for. Very helpful as an aid to comprehension if McTaggart's argument is taught, as it usually would be in any examination of philosophy of time.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Can’t find it?
Contribute the texts you think should be here and we’ll add them soon!