“The Fate of Presentism in Modern Physics”

Quite often one can immediately sense the setting up of a straw man argument from the title. This is the case in my opinion with the paper by Christian Wuthrich, “The fate of presentism in modern physics”.  Actually, the title should have been “The fate of eternalism in modern physics”.

Why am I saying this? Why am I calling the mentioned paper a straw man argument? It is because common sense supports presentism in all respects. The author avoided to mention the problem of free will in eternalism in setting up his strawman arguments. The burden of proof is on those who adhere to eternalism to prove their thesis rather than on those who stick to common sense.

I go one step further to try to understand the aim of similar papers as follows: the part of modern physics that commits to eternalism, namely Relativity Theory, also commits to metaphysics that is considered absurd by the majority of philosophers of science who view eternalism as an incomprehensible and impossible stand. This does not diminish the usefulness of Relativity Theory as a empirical tool but lowers it to the status of an instrument. On the other hand, those that take a realist view of Relativity attempt to reverse the burden of proof regarding eternalism by asking presentists to show their compatibility with their theory. This is totally absurd of course and leads to the kind of soup arguments we see in many papers, including the one already mentioned.

Before one talks about presentism or eternalism, one must resolve the issue of time. What is time? As long as nobody knows what time is in a physical sense and specifically how it emerges, it is a pointless exercise in futility to frame arguments in favor or against presetism or eternalism.

Also, the author restricts the objections from quantum mechanics to collapse theories but forgets entanglement and its absolute simultaneity that comes in direct conflict with Relativity. In that respect, quantum mechanics supports presentism and given that it is the most successful theory of all times, the burden on proof is on relativists and eternalists and until then, the logical and common sense stand of physics should be on favor of presentism.

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