Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 8, pp 2073–2089 | Cite as

The moving spotlight theory

  • Daniel DeasyEmail author


The aim of this paper is to describe and defend the moving spotlight theory of time. I characterise the moving spotlight theory as the conjunction of two theses: permanentism, the thesis that everything exists forever, and the A-theory, the thesis that there is an absolute, objective present time. I begin in Sect. 2 by clearing up some common misconceptions about the moving spotlight theory, focusing on the discussion of the theory in Sider (Writing the book of the world, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011). In doing so, I also fill-out the barebones picture of the moving spotlight theory as the conjunction of permanentism and the A-theory. In Sect. 3 I show how moving spotlighters can avoid the two common objections to their view, the McTaggartian argument that the view is contradictory, and the epistemic argument that the view implies that we should believe we are not located at the present moment. I conclude that the moving spotlight theory does not deserve its current relative unpopularity.


Metaphysics Time The A-theory of time The moving spotlight theory McTaggart’s argument 



I am very grateful to Cian Dorr, John Hawthorne, Josh Parsons, Timothy Williamson, and Dean Zimmerman for many useful comments on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Magdalen CollegeOxfordUnited Kingdom

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