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Organizing Space-time: A Causal Analysis of Spatiotemporal Location

by Gabriel, John J

Abstract (Summary)
Presentism is the view that our most unrestricted quantifiers range over only those objects temporally located at the present moment. Nothing exists outside the present moment. Eternalism is the view that our most unrestricted quantifiers range over objects in the past, present, and future. No matter how remote an object’s temporal location, it still exists at the present moment. I argue the eternalist’s view forces him to make a distinction the presentist needs not. The eternalist must admit that for an object to be temporally located at a time it must have a feature above and beyond mere existence at that time. But discovering what feature differentiates the temporally local objects from the merely existing objects proves a difficult challenge. I claim, when we distinguish between the temporally local objects and the temporal distant objects, we appeal to whatever organizing principle holds between the space-time points that constitute the universe. The question becomes what is the organizing principle between those points. I posit causation as that organizing principle. I detail how causation must be characterized so that it may serve as that principle. I defend my characterization of causation from the charge that it rules out manifestly possible circumstances. And I respond to the objection that my view is unmotivated by the tenets of Humean reductionism and genuine modal realism. Gabriel, John J., 2007, UMSL, p. 4
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School:University of Missouri-Saint Louis

School Location:USA - Missouri

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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