Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Doing metaphysics by building on empirical sciences is a very controversial matter. This paper outlines a middle road between the Scylla of denying the possibility of metaphysics and the Charybdis of doing metaphysics a priori. This is possible if, on the one hand, we accept a moderate form of scientific realism. On the other, we establish a logico-epistemological framework adequate to face the underdetermination of metaphysical theses with respect to our best scientific theories. The case of the debate between eternalism and presentism tests my perspective. In this case study, the result is that both ontological hypotheses have their realm of validity. In other words, the fragmented scientific image of the world is reflected in an equally disjointed metaphysical perspective.

Though we have a partially clear perception of space, Augustine’s famous quotation certifies that time is much more elusive (Confessions XI, 14). Even in our best scientific theories, time is something quite variegated. In classical and quantum non-relativistic mechanics, time stays in the background as an independent variable. In relativistic physics, on the other hand, time can change both its topology and its metric. Moreover, whereas space can be directly perceived through sight, no sensory organ can directly perceive time. Finally, experimental psychology shows that experienced time depends strongly on the content of our perception (Wearden 2016). To sum up, the common-sense term “time” seems to refer to something quite ephemeral and multifarious. Therefore, we assume that time is not…


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