Philosophy Research on Space and Time – Final Conclusion

During this time I surveyed the current research on space and time, especially in the analytic tradition. I got to read many of the good books by contemporary philosophers like Theodore Sider and E. J. Lowe. As I stated in my proposal, this research not only shows me this single topic—space and time, but also helps me better understand metaphysics in general. I’d like not to repeat what I posted in the last three blogs, but to state my new discovery. At first I supposed I would get to know more traditional topics like causation and substance—which, nonetheless, I did indeed—but the most exciting discovery for me is the topic of modality, i.e. the exploration of possibility. Through the disagreement between time A-series and B-series and between Berkeley and Locke on substratum, I see another way out besides supporting one of the view—i.e. to admit that both positions are metaphysically possible, and that because our observation is extremely limited, we should use our intellect to explore possibility, not actuality, a thing that we could not obtain. Thanks to this research I found my second favorite topic in philosophy (the first being existentialism).

Philosophy Research on Time and Space – Update 3 on Time

In my first blog I explained the difference between time A-series and B-series, which Is brought up by McTaggart. Upon bringing this distinction, McTaggart argues that the A-series of time involves contradiction. According to him, tensed properties, i.e. pastness, presentness, and futureness, are mutually exclusive. No event can possibly have more than one tensed property. However, in A-series of time, any event in time would have all three tensed properties. For example, I being born had the property of futureness before I was born, have the property of presentness at the moment I was born, and have the property of pastness ever since. This seems contradictory to McTaggart.

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Philosophy Research on Time and Space – Update 2 on Space

Historical and current research on space has largely fallen on the relationship between objects and space, i.e. whether space is dependent on objects (there’s no space if there’s no object) or objects are dependent on space (there’s no object if there’s no space). Different from the concept of time, we cannot imagine anything without imagining it in space, and this gives space a special status.  Philosophy of science has done most of the work in contemporary philosophy, and that is not what my interest falls on. Therefore, my interest is primarily not about the relationship between objects and space, but the question: “what does it mean to be extended in space?”

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Philosophy Research on Time and Space – Update 1 on Time

My research interest on time now falls primarily on the distinction of A-series and B-series. McTaggart is the philosopher who starts the distinction between A-series and B-series and one primary concern of this distinction is whether “presentness” is objective or subjective. A-series describes the time series in which presentness is objective and independent from perception. On the other hand, B series describes that in which presentness is only a subjective concept and dependent on perception. That is to say, if there is no perceiver, there would be no “now” or “present,” with only events left which is ordered in a certain way (a way which is similar to the way we perceive time, only that we perceive “presentness” as well).

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Abstract of Summer Research–A Philosophical Investigation of Metaphysics of Space and Time

I am Yonghao Wang, a sophomore, and I go by Abe. I came from China to study philosophy and Linguistics here. My summer research will be on the Metaphysics of Space and Time.

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