Heraclitean Time: A Flux-First View (Beyond Presentism & Growing Blocks)


Is change fundamental? In this talk, Stephen Barker describes a metaphysical conception of physical reality, which he calls the Flux-first view, which treats change or flux (Becoming) as fundamental rather than Being: states of affairs, objects/events in spacetime. The core theses are that (i) change is prior to time and (ii) change is prior to states of affairs — states are derivative from prior process. The essence of the approach is the fundamental role of properties is not to be things possessed or instantiated, the orthodox view, but to be aspects of change. This is captured in the idea that the fundamental units of concrete reality are what he calls ‘fluxions’: dynamic ‘bundles’ of properties or forms. As such, Flux-first is a kind of dynamic structuralism — not the familiar 4-dimensionalist (static) structuralism. The view of time in Flux-first is not Presentism or Growing block (or moving spotlight). It’s certainly not the 4-dimensional, block universe view. He calls it ‘Heraclitean’.

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