International Workshop God and Time III Philosophical and Theological Perspectives on Time University of Italian Switzerland, Lugano 23 - 24 August 2019
Speakers David Anzalone (Lugano) Natalja Deng (Seoul) Florian Fischer (Siegen) Aldo Frigerio (Milan) Alessandro Giordani (Milan) Per Hasle (Copenhagen) Matyáš Moravec (Cambridge) Ryan Mullins (St. Andrews) Ben Page (Durham)
Friday, 23 August 2019
09:00 - 10:15 Ben Page: Inaugurated Hyperspace
10:45 - 12:00 Matyas Moravec: Eternity and Ontological Idealism About Time
14:00 - 15:15 Florian Fischer: The Growing God Theory
15:30 - 16:45 Natalija Deng: On Timelessness and Mistery
17:00 - 18:15 Ryan Mullins: Is Timelessness a Perfection? Perfect Being Theology and Divine Eternality
Saturday, 24 August 2019
09:00 - 10:15 Per Hasle: Time, Predestination and Free Will
10:45 - 12:00 Aldo Frigerio - Ockhamism, Truth-maker, and Foreknowledge
lunch break 14:30 - 15:45 Alessandro Giordani - Perspectives on a Dynamical World
Organisation David Anzalone, Damiano Costa and Florian Fischer
The Growing God Theory Florian Fischer
The growing block theory (GBT) states that existence is increasing over time. Always, everything up until the present exists, while the future is nothing. This theory was invented in the context of God and time. Arguably, it was first conceived by Samual Alexander (in 1920) and it was first held by C.D. Broad (1923). Interestingly, both philosophers did not end up supporting the GBT. Alexander only considers it in passing but discards it right away. Broad on the other hand had two important changes in his philosophical conception of time. First (1921) he was holding and eternalistic view, according to which all times - past, present and future - are equally real. Then (1923) he abandoned this in favor of the GBT, i.e. denying the reality of the future. However, he then once again changed his mind and finally (1938) settled on a variant of presentism: He held that neither future nor past exit, but only ever a changing present.
Following this rather bumpy start, the GBT did not fare better for quite some time. It was discarded as not being a sensible theory of time. Nowadays, however, the GBT has undergone some kind of renaissance and has found some strong supporters. Some philosophers have reconsidered versions of the growing block theory in the recent past. Fabrice Correia and Sven Rosenkranz have even written a book length defense of the GBT, making it formally precise and philosophically competitive. In this talk I will explore whether this new conception of the GBT also has new potential for the debate about God and time, this way putting GBT back in the context where it once was developed.
Time, Predastination and Free Will A.N. Prior's journey from predestinarian theology to indeterminism Per Hasle
In the early thought of Arthur Prior, the idea of predestination played a considerable role. While on one hand he as a (largely) committed Presbyterian accepted the idea in some form or other, it also troubled him even from a very early stage of his intellectual life. From 1949 till 1953 a transition took place. During this time, he gave up his wider ambition of writing a history of Scottish theology (and without doubt a highly systematical ‘history’ it would have been) and instead turned to modal and tense logic. At the same time, he grew to be a firm defender of the notion of free will. There is no doubt that the connection between time, logic and determinism vs. indeterminism was a crucial theme and motivation from 1953 and onwards in the thought of Prior. This included some penetrating analyses of the notion of foreknowledge and its tense-logical implications. In this talk I will however focus on the line of development from predestination to indeterminism in Prior's thought. It appears that his struggle with and finally rejection of predestination played a significant part in his development from being a practicing Presbyterian to his interest in tense-logic and indeterminism - and his ‘agnosticism’, respectively abandonment of religious beliefs. I shall conclude with a brief reflection on two possible tensions in this development: firstly, the very idea that a correct theology entails predestination, and secondly, the fact that Prior's mature philosophy retained some fairly strong metaphysical elements, which certainly leave room for theology.
Eternity and Ontological Idealism About Time Matyáš Moravec
The aim of my paper is to revisit the debate about the relation between time and eternity in Scotus and Aquinas. Following Brian Shanley, I argue that the phrasing of the relationship between God and the temporal realm has been misunderstood in the analytic appropriation of this debate. However, I argue that Shanley’s suggested emphasis on understanding the relationship between God and time primarily as that of a Creator and his creatures still leaves some questions unanswered. I propose an alternative model, which combines Shanley’s divine “causal knowledge” of the world with ontological idealism about time. I conclude by pointing out the advantages of my model over that of Shanley, especially as regards the special theory of relativity and available versions of temporal ontologies in contemporary analytic philosophy.
Inaugurated Hyperspace Ben Page
That the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has brought about the end times, inaugurated eschatology, is a view prominent amongst biblical scholars, with talk of ‘now but not yet’ frequently employed. As such there is a sense in which things have changed, such that believers are thought to be ‘new’ in certain ways, with some taking this as being also extended to the whole of creation. Yet how we are to understand the metaphysics of this is something that as of yet hasn’t been investigated by philosophers. In this paper I shall propose one such way of accounting for it, such that philosophical incoherence cannot be held against this interpretation of the text. In doing so I shall also provide another argument for Christians embracing ‘hyperspace’, since the view I give will rely heavily on this. Additionally, I hope this paper will also provide some motivation for philosophers to pay closer attention to work undertaken within biblical studies, since they will find many interesting philosophical questions to explore, such as the one investigated in this paper. Finally it is important to note from the outset that I shall not be questioning any of the interpretations given by biblical scholars that I use in this text. Rather my goal is to see if one can make metaphysical sense of their interpretations.