About the Project

Time is a pervasive, but very elusive phenomenon. On the one hand it seems that there is something objectively privileged about one particular time (i.e. the present), that there is passage of time, that passage of time follows a particular direction, that material objects around us (chairs, tables, flowers, birds) are substantial individuals that are extended in space, but not in time, etc. All of this seems part and parcel of our ‘manifest image’ of temporal reality.

And yet science seems to provide a different picture. According to this ‘scientific image’, it is unclear whether there is a sense in which the present is objectively privileged as opposed to other tenses, whether time passes in any metaphysically robust sense and so if it has a direction at all. As per things in time, it has been argued that they do not extend only spatially but also temporally, and that they might be not fundamental at all, but rather dependent or even dispensable entities.

The overreaching aim of the project is to reconcile these images. The working hypothesis is that such a reconciliation is to be achieved through an appropriate notion of fundamentality. In a nutshell, the idea is that reality is constituted by facts of various degrees of fundamentality or basicness, and that common sense and science describe different levels of reality.

The project involves three researchers, and is divided into three subprojects:

  1. Time and Becoming
  2. Things in Time
  3. Fundamentality

The Metaphysics of Time and its Occupants project is generously funded by the SNSF Consolidator grant n° BSCGI0_157792.

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