PUTNAM ON TIME AND SPECIAL RELATIVITY: A LONG JOURNEY FROM ONTOLOGY TO ETHICS.
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1. Abstract: In this paper I discuss Putnam’s view on time and the special theory of relativity. I first locate Putnam’s philosophical approach within a more general framework, essentially making reference to Sellar’s distinction between the scientific image and the manifest image of the world. I then reconstruct Putnam’s argument in favour of the reality of the future and the determinateness of truth-value for future tense sentences (Putnam 1967) by showing that it is based on three premises that generate a contradiction. In the second part of the paper I discuss Putnam’s argument both by using later results belonging to the foundations of STR and quantum mechanics (Putnam 2005), and by invoking some conceptual analysis on the pseudo-predicate “is real”. Since I will show that the presentists/eternalists debate is ill-founded if regarded as ontological, I will conclude that it boils down to our different practical attitudes towards past, present and future.
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