How does time pass? Does time itself move, or is time's passage merely an illusion? Analytic philosophers belong, for the most part, to one of two camps on this question: the tensed camp, which defends the reality of time's passage, conceiving the present as "ontologically privileged" over the past and future; and the tenseless camp, which denies time's passage and holds that all events, whatever their temporal location, are ontologically equal. In Time and Realism, Yuval Dolev goes beyond the tensed-tenseless debate to argue that neither position is conclusive but that the debate over them should be seen as only the first stage in the philosophical investigation of time. The next stage, he claims, belongs to phenomenology, and, he argues further, the phenomenological analysis of time grows naturally out of the analytic enterprise.
Dolev shows that the two rival theories share a metaphysical presupposition: that tense concerns the ontological status of things. He argues that this ontological assumption is natural but untenable, and that leaving it behind creates a new viewpoint from which to study central topics in the metaphysics of time. Dolev shows that such a study depends on the kind of meticulous attention to our firsthand experiences that drives phenomenological investigations. Thus, he argues, phenomenology is the venue for advancing the investigation of time.
Time and Realism not only analyzes the tensed-tenseless debate, resolving some of its central difficulties along the way, it transcends it. It serves as a bridge between the analytic and the continental traditions in the philosophy of mind, both of which are shown to be vital to the philosophical examination of time.
About the Author
Yuval Dolev is Professor of Philosophy at Bar Ilan University, Israel.
"Dolev's claims are both original and persuasive. He aims to transcend thenow entrenched dichotomy of 'tensed' and 'tenseless' theories of time,revealing their shared presuppositions and questioning them. In so doing,he poses a challenge that all participants in that debate would do well totake seriously."
—Roger Teichmann, Department of Philosophy, Oxford University
"In this ambitious text, Yuval Dolev gives an original analysis of thecompeting 'presentist' and the 'eternalist' camps in the metaphysics oftime. He deftly works his way around the complex issues in the field byselecting a few exemplary representatives of the main positions, arguingthat they all commit to an ontological assumption that can only betranscended by a return to phenomenology. The result is a thoughtful andvery readable book that is sure to invite careful scrutiny and to provokelively discussion."
—Richard Arthur, Department of Philosophy, McMaster University
"The great achievement of Time and Realism is that it shows how the two conflicting ideas of time misrepresent the role that temporality plays in our lives as well as in science. Dolev shows how philosophers can refuse to spatialize time without being forced to fall back into the incoherent picture of time as a river that flows by. Time and Realism is also remarkable for successfully connecting what at first blush seem two unrelated areas of metaphysics—Dummettian realism/antirealism, and the metaphysics of tenses. Yuval Dolev clearly explains an important problem, and the major views about it, and then shows us an original and plausible way of resolving it. This is contemporary philosophy at its best."
—Hilary Putnam, Cogan University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University