I was reading Metaphysics: a Very Short Introduction and encountered the following paragraph in the discussion on time:

One may have some attraction towards coupling this Aristotelian view with what is called eternalism about events and things. We considered privileging the present, or the present and past, but the eternalist takes all events as equally real even if from one perspective they are future. I don’t know whether the 2020 Olympic Games will pass off successfully or not, but, if they do, an eternalist takes them just to be as much a part of reality as anything. This may sound confusing. Trading on the image of the block again, the eternalist takes reality to be one huge block of everything that ever was and will be. We are located some place in the middle, able to look back at what occurred earlier than us but unable to see what is later than our perspective. But it’s all just as real.

I couldn't help thinking about the Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse-Five. Was Kurt Vonnegut aware of the metaphysics of time? Was he thinking of this view when he wrote the book?

  • I do not think this understanding of time being one immutable (important to the story) thing was obscure in those days -- I do not think Vonnegut made this idea up. I mean, he surely was not the first and I doubt he was unaware of the thoughts of philosophers/physicists on time.
    – releseabe
    Jan 12 at 4:27


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