Date of Completion
The Ontology of Time, The Passage of Time, Temporal Experience, The Special Theory of Relativity
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
The majority of philosophers of time hold that the passage of time is objective change in A-series properties. On this “traditional” view of passage, there is an objective, non-relative present moment (or set of simultaneous events) and the moment or set of simultaneous events that is present continuously changes. That the traditional view construes passage in these A-theoretic terms makes the existence of passage depend on the truth of one of the A-theoretic views of the ontology of time. The majority of B-theorists deny that time passes because they reject the A-theoretic views. I defend a “revisionist” B-theoretic view of the passage of time, wherein passage is the temporally successive occurrence of events. Time passes in that one moment occurs after another in a B-series of equally existing events. I begin by defending the viability of the revisionist view as a view of the passage of time. Then I argue that since both the revisionist and traditional views of passage are viable views of passage, whether passage is really objective change in A-series properties or the temporally successive occurrence of equally existing events depends on which view of the ontology of time is correct. I argue that the B-theory is the correct view of the ontology of time, first by showing that there are several arguments that sink the A-theoretic views, then by showing that the B-theory escapes its main objection: that it is incompatible with temporal experience, particularly with the experiences of the present and of the passage of time. Since the revisionist B-theoretic view of passage is a viable view of passage and since the B-theory is the correct view of the ontology of time, the passage of time is the temporally successive occurrence of equally existing events. Finally, I argue that events only occur in temporal succession if they are time-like related to each other and there are multiple series of time-like related events. The passage of time is not a uniform process across the universe because the passage of time does not span across events that are space-like separated.
Fazekas, Katherine E., "The Nature of the Passage of Time: A Defense of a Revisionist B-theoretic View of Passage" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. 807.