Demarcating Presentism

  • Christian Wüthrich
Conference paper
Part of the The European Philosophy of Science Association Proceedings book series (EPSP, volume 1)


This chapter argues that recent arguments to the effect that the debate between presentism and eternalism lacks any metaphysical substance ultimately fail, although important lessons can be gleaned from them in how to formulate a non-vacuous version of presentism. It suggests that presentism can best be characterized in the context of spacetime theories. The resulting position is an ersatzist version of presentism that admits merely non-present entities as abstracta deprived of physical existence. Ersatzist presentism both escapes the charges of triviality and promises to offer a route to solving the grounding problem which befalls its more traditional cousins.


Ontological Commitment Translation Function Physical Existence Contrast Class Ontic Status 
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I am indebted to Craig Callender, Jonathan Cohen, Greg Frost-Arnold, Nat Jacobs, Thomas Müller, Tomasz Placek, Steve Savitt, and James Woodbridge for discussions and comments and to audiences at Geneva, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the BSPS meeting in Norwich, and the EPSA meeting in Amsterdam. This project has been funded in part by the Swiss National Science Foundation (“Properties and Relations”, 100011-113688), by the University of California, San Diego, and by the Hellman Family Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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