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Eternalism as a Theory of The Concept of Time

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Words: 572 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 572|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Questioning the concept of time is puzzling but has been vital for the field of metaphysics over the years. There are two prevailing theories which attempt to define the true nature of time, presentism and eternalism. This essay will explore how eternalism succeeds at describing the ontological nature of time.

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According to eternalism past, present and future do not exist, only the space-time grid exists. This deviates from our classical understanding of time which suggests that time itself moves. Sider’s idea of hypertime does a good job at explaining why that is a misconception and supports the space-time theory as the more plausible one. According to Sider, events in our life occur relative to a time which must mean that time must be moving relative to something too. He proposes the idea of time moving relative to another type of time, hypertime. However, this introduces the notion of having a series infinite hypertimes which is virtually impossible to prove. Eternalism is inspired by the space time theory as it defines time and space as analogous. Just as Melbourne and Sydney exist but in different parts of Australia, time exists as different places and these different times exist as equally as the other.

Most philosophers today prefer eternalism over presentism and other theories as eternalism is scientifically accurate. Einstein’s theory of special relativity suggests an eternalist view of time as it suggests past, present and future are arbitrary points on a continuum. An event is both a place and a time and can be represented by a particular point in space-time. Einstein postulates time as not something absolute but relative to frames of references. Without getting too caught up in the physics behind it, if we are to look at a point ‘m’ on the space-time grid, we can note that everything that happened before m is past-relative-to-m and that everything that happens after m is future-relative-to-m. The past and future are relative to m and may entirely differ for another point ‘x’. Time therefore is not moving constantly as we may be inclined to believe but actually starts to display even more peculiar characteristics such as dilation if we are to look at the mathematics of it. Space-time can consequently conceptualise time as a series of an endless and wide variety of events. The complete records of a specific point are represented with a line in space-time. The past, current and future are accessible to a specific object at a precise point. This has led physicists to disregard time as something that passes , or from describing it as a sequence of events which happen: each the previous and the future are “there”, laid out as part of four-dimensional space-time, some of which we have already visited and some we have yet to. Just as we are sure of all components of space as existing even if we are not there, all of time (past, current and future) is additionally continuously in existence even if we are not in a position to witness it. Time is not a river that flows but simply is as the eternalist philosophy of time hints.

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In conclusion, the biggest critique to this theory is that its counter intuitive and does not align with our tendency of having presentist temporal phenomenology. Temporal phenomenology refers to how we as distinct individuals perceive time. Presentist temporal phenomenology suggests that we are hyper aware of our present compared to our past or future.  

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Eternalism As a Theory of the Concept of Time. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/eternalism-as-a-theory-of-the-concept-of-time/
“Eternalism As a Theory of the Concept of Time.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/eternalism-as-a-theory-of-the-concept-of-time/
Eternalism As a Theory of the Concept of Time. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/eternalism-as-a-theory-of-the-concept-of-time/> [Accessed 20 Apr. 2024].
Eternalism As a Theory of the Concept of Time [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Aug 30 [cited 2024 Apr 20]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/eternalism-as-a-theory-of-the-concept-of-time/
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