Can presentists account for the passage of the future through the present into the past?

Presentism is the view that only present things exist and what’s present changes (i.e., things change, time passes); and, it’s an A theory of time.

There is only the change to now, but that is meant to account for both the future approaching now and the past receding from now, actual relations to things that don't exist.

I have read a small amount on time, and have never seen this specific query brought up, so it's presumably nothing: whether the one change can account for shifts in two relations one after another (the future becoming present and then past).

I agree that presentism can account for the A series, but am unsure about changes to it, how one changing thing changes - I think - twice.

Edited: I suppose if I am taller than you and begin to shrink to be shorter than you, that is one change, in my height, that might be thought of as a relation changing twice: a change from being taller, to being equally tall, to being shorter. So yes, nothing there.

  • There is inertia in the present moment that carries the present on to the next moment. Jan 19, 2022 at 19:46
  • I'm asking about the future, not the present @ChrisDegnen dwai
    – user57343
    Jan 19, 2022 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


In presentism, there IS no "future" or "past". Both of these, plus time, are mental artifacts we have constructed to help us understand the changing relations between the only real things, the stuff that exists in this world at the present moment.

So time is not real, and does not exist in presentism. There is no future, or past, to "travel" thru the present. An "A series" of time -- is just a nominalist artifact, to help our understanding.

  • I guess. not sure
    – user57343
    Jan 21, 2022 at 20:01
  • 2
    @anon We have three DIFFERENT models of time, which are used for different purposes, by different disciplines. All three have faults, and trying to universalize one of them is a Universalization Fallacy. Here is a discussion of flaws to eaach: meetup.com/Philosophy-Cafe-Central-Maryland/events/… That text left out the strengths of each. B time is super useful in physics and engineering. Logic/presentism time is outstanding for planning. Block time is essential to think about past events (historians, personal retrospection). Multiple tools is common in empiricism.
    – Dcleve
    Jan 21, 2022 at 20:17
  • ok! I would delete the question but can't now. I was just thinking out loud really
    – user57343
    Jan 21, 2022 at 20:19

You might suppose its a relation thrice, or four times, or an imfinite number of times. It all depends on how you dice it. Its simplest to say it is simply one atomic change.

A British physicist, whose name I recall, pointed out that GR which is usually taken to be a block universe theory is actually presentist theory when becoming os umderstood to be local.

You must log in to answer this question.