[SydPhil] Reminder: Christophe Bouton @ Mon 18 Jun 13:00 - 14:30 (Current Projects)

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Sun Jun 17 13:00:03 AEST 2012

This is a reminder for:

Title: Christophe Bouton
Is the future already present?
Time, tense and eternalism in the special theory of relativity

Christophe Bouton (Bordeaux/IUF/Center for Time)

The aim of this presentation is to reflect on the connection between the  
theory of special relativity (STR) and the block universe view, which can  
be characterized by two claims (Price, Time’s arrow, 1996, 12-16): 1- there  
is no objective present (therefore no ontological distinction between  
present, past and future); 2- there is no flow of time. The block universe  
view argues that all the events spread out in space-time are determinate,  
‘fixed’ once and for all, whether or not determined by causal laws. The  
principal argument in favour of the first claim is STR, which shows that  
one cannot define an objective present, that is, a present that is  
independent of a frame of reference of an observer. With the theory of  
relativity, in the words of Einstein, “‘now’ loses for the spatially  
extended world its objective meaning”. After having briefly recalled the  
basic notions of STR (principle of relativity, constancy of the speed of  
light, relativity of simultaneity and duration), I will distinguish and  
discuss more precisely the different arguments taken from STR in favour of  
the block universe: the geometric argument (the spatialization of time),  
the ‘B-argument’ (the loss of the becoming), and the ‘A-argument’ (the  
determinateness of the future). Amongst these, I will study in particular  
the last argument, which can be summarized as follows: STR entails this  
puzzling consequence that any future event in a given inertial reference  
frame is already present or past in another inertial reference frame. Any  
future event is therefore already determinate. I will attempt to assess  
this argument and to show that the relativisation of time in STR does not  
necessarily imply its reduction to the state of ‘tenacious illusion’  

When: Mon 18 Jun 13:00 – 14:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: Philosophy Common Room, A 14, University of Sydney
Calendar: Current Projects
     * kristiemiller4 at gmail.com- creator

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