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The Philosophy of Time: Presentism

6. Truths About the Past

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About this Lecture


In this module, we consider another problem for Presentists – facts relating to the past. How can propositions about the past be true (or false) if the past doesn’t exist?


In this course, Dr David Ingram (University of York) explores the philosophy of time, focusing in particular on the theory of Presentism. We begin by providing a broad introduction to Presentism and comparing and contrasting it with two other major theories of time – Eternalism and the Growing Block Theory. In the second module, we think about some potential problems in the central claim of Presentism – namely, that only present entities exist. What does the word ‘exist’ mean in this context? In the third and fourth modules, we offer two arguments why Presentism should be preferred to other theories of time, focusing first on how Presentism avoids the problems raised by McTaggart’s Paradox, and second on how it avoids the problems raised by temporary intrinsics. Finally, in the fifth and sixth modules, we offer two issues that present problems for Presentism: first, the problem of relations between present and non-present entities, and second, the problem of truths about the past.


Dr David Ingram is an Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York. Before coming to York, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Philosophy of Time, based at the University of Milan (2016-17). Before that, he taught philosophy at the University of Nottingham (2014-16).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ingram, D. (2018, September 09). The Philosophy of Time: Presentism - Truths About the Past [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Ingram, D. "The Philosophy of Time: Presentism – Truths About the Past." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Sep 2018,