Special Relativity and the Future: A Defense of the Point Present

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Harrington, James
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In this paper, I defend a theory of local temporality, sometimes referred to as a point-present theory. This theory has the great advantage that it allows for the possibility of an open future without requiring any alterations to our standard understanding of special relativity. Such theories, however, have regularly been rejected out of hand as metaphysically incoherent. After surveying the debate, I argue that such a transformation of temporal concepts (i) is suggested by the indexical semantics of tense in a relativistic universe, (ii) when properly understood easily withstands the usual accusations of metaphysical incoherence and (iii) leads naturally to a meta-philosophical position from which we can understand and escape the increasing sterility of debates between radical Parmenideans and radical Heracliteans in the philosophy of time.