HARMAN’S ANTI-REALISM ABOUT TIME

Graham Harman has given us a short, lucid account of his philosophy in THE THIRD TABLE. It is clear from his account in this book that « time » in the common sense and in the scientific acceptions does not exist, that it is, as he calls common sense and physical objects, an « utter sham ». Another consequence that people have not noticed, and that Harman has refrained from drawing, is that the same applies to space.

Does this mean that for Harman objects exist in an « eternal present »? Note: here we are talking about real objects, of which no common sense or physical example can be given under pain of self-contradiction (a pain that Harman does not fear). Do real objects exist in an eternal present? « Eternal » and « present » are temporal predicates, so the answer would seem to be no, as temporal predicates do not apply to real objects, the denoted properties being themselves « utter shams ».

Another use of the expression « eternal present » could well be as part of a vocabulary of inter-theoretic comparison. In this sense one could say that any theory of objects that denies not only the arrow of time but the very existence of a temporal axis maintains these objects in an « eternal present » as a way of comparing the unchanging non-temporal character of these objects to the character of objects in a theory that affirms the reality of time. This is a useful pictorial shorthand for describing such a difference between theories. In a similar way I claim that Harman’s ontology of real objects is « synchronic ».

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3 commentaires pour HARMAN’S ANTI-REALISM ABOUT TIME

  1. Jason Hills dit :

    Very clear explanation.

    J'aime

  2. Rob Myers dit :

    An ontological Eternal September.

    J'aime

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