4 November: Giuseppe Spolaore (Padua) & Giuliano Torrengo (Milan) — “The Moving Spotlight(s)”
Sala Enzo Paci, Via Festa del Perdono 7, h. 16:30-18:30.
Abstract: The moving spotlight account (MS) is a view that combines an eternalist ontology and an A-theoretic metaphysics of time. The intuition underlying MS is that the present time is somehow privileged and experientially vivid – in contrast with past or future times – as if it were illuminated by a moving spotlight. According to the philosophers who lean towards MS (e.g., R. Cameron, D. Deasy, P. Forrest, B. Skow), a key reason to prefer MS to B-theoretic eternalism is that an A-theoretic framework is required to explain our experience of time. We argue that this is false. To this end, we formulate a new family of positions in the philosophy of time, which differ from MS in that, intuitively, they admit of a plurality of moving spotlights. We argue that these ‘deviant’ variants of MS cannot be dismissed as conceptually incoherent, and that MS has no special advantage over them in accounting for our experience. One of these variants, however, is consistent with the B-theory. Thus, if an A-theoretic framework is sufficient to account for our experience of time, then a B-theoretic one is sufficient as well. The long-standing philosophical prejudice, that the B-theory is essentially at odds with our experience of time, is therefore false.