Philosophy 290-6

Spring 2024

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-6 Graduate Seminar: Eternity, Duration, and Time Primus/Carriero W 4-6 Philosophy 234

For much of the history of Western philosophy, time is not found at the most fundamental level of reality (think, for example, of Plato’s Forms). God, in particular, is often viewed as eternal (indeed as identified with Eternity), in the sense of being “outside” or “beyond” time. This contrasts with a contemporary attitude that views the actual as what’s found in space and time, and sees things outside of space and time as abstract and less than fully real. In this seminar, we will explore the idea of an eternal order/being and its positioning vis-à-vis a durational order (involving successive existence and time). Among the issues we’ll take up are the nature of eternity and God’s relation to it; accounts of how God, as an (the?) eternal being, is epistemically and causally related to durational things; and views about the extent to which things besides God might have a share in Eternity. Our plan is to begin with some ancient background sources, then try to articulate some standard conception(s) of eternity in medieval philosophy, and finally move on to consider some treatments in early modern rationalism. Authors that we may consider include: Plato, Plotinus, Boethius, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, Occam, Spinoza, and Leibniz.