Classical Theories of Time, and Relativity
In this chapter we explicate the challenge posed to classical theories of time by relativistic physics, and show that two recent attempts to reconcile such theories with Special and General Relativity founder. We conclude that a systematic revision of the classical theories is called for. In Sect. 8.1 we argue that the challenge is best conceived as threatening the intelligibility of the postulate, common to all classical theories, that there is an absolute and total temporal order. We show that C. Bourne’s appeal to primitive tenses is insufficient to avert the challenge. In Sect. 8.2 we scrutinize D. Zimmerman’s recent attempt to construe the postulated temporal order as being imposed by the contents of spacetime rather than its structure. We argue that this attempt fails to answer the challenge, and conclude in Sect. 8.3 that metaphysicians should move on and devise successor theories that no longer postulate such an order.
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