1.4 – Presentism vs Eternalism

I think I must side on the idea of presentism. I am also unsure why this topic is important. Perhaps I need a little prodding, but I do not see a need to really differentiate between the two. Why is it important that one be true and the other not? 

– Jonah


1.3 – Presentism vs Eternalism

Nailed it with the presentism, close on eternalism.

Eternalism as “The idea that all moments exist simultaneously” is correct, but “This means that the past, present, and future all occupy the same point of space-time, and are all occurring at once,” is incorrect. The past, present, and future all occupy all points in space-time.

I think I know what you mean though. To exist outside of time is to hardly exist at all from our view. There is no movement, no thought. No life nor death. One could not observe the space-time continuum from outside it because one could not do anything at all outside of it. If you were to exist outside of time, it would be as if you occupied a single instant. A single, unmoving point, entirely frozen. And that’s a bit how space-time works. It’s static, and it doesn’t change, but unlike something outside of time, space-time contains time. Space-time is the flow of time even though it doesn’t flow itself. I suppose it’s like how rivers don’t actually flow themselves, but rather it’s the water that’s in them that flows.

Hopefully that makes sense. Thanks for asking for clarification.


Awaiting your response,


1.2 – Presentism vs Eternalism

Thanks Onix, great topic.

I first want to get a bit of clarification. In discussing topics as complicated as this, I always attemt to reduce the ideas to a clean, simple definition or explaination of the problem. I am going to attempt to explain each of the two options as I currently see them. If you find a flaw, or have a better way of putting something, please correct me.

  • Presentism.
    • The idea that the only moments that exist are those we currently percieve. This means that the future does not exist, but will come to exist eventually. Likewise, the past does not exist. The past once did exist, but has since ceased to exist.
  • Eternalism.
    • The idea that all moments exist simultaneously. This means that the past, present, and future all occupy the same point of space-time, and are all occuring at once. The only reason time is linear to us is that we are only capable of percieving one moment at a time, thus we only percieve the flow of time, rather than it actually flowing.

Have my assumptions been correct, or can you offer any clarifying points that may help clearly define the subject?

– Jonah


1.1 – Presentism vs Eternalism

The question is this: do the past and the future exist?

Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future nor the past exist–only the present. Eternalism says that they all exist, even if the former two are inaccessible.

The problem is that is can’t be resolved empirically. There is nothing that says that any moment is now except that it is the moment that we are currently experiencing. Now is entirely subjective to our experience, so if one were to visit the past or the future, it would become now to the observer, and it would exist. The question is whether it exists before it was traveled to.

Since this discussion revolves heavily around the idea of time, it will be helpful to imagine that one could move freely through it. This is of course, time travel. Jonah and I will be discussing many of the different aspects of time and the consequences of traveling though it. We’ll mostly focus on metaphysics and philosophical ideas, but I’m sure we’ll broach the physics as well.

I’ll start off the discussion by siding with eternalism–that the future and past do exist, and we’ll go from there.


Awaiting your response,