There exists now nothing that is merely future. As time goes by, things come to exist that did not exist before. Once they exist, such things continue to exist forever after, even if they will no longer be present. What exists increases over time, as the boundary of the present pushes into ontologically unchartered territory.
These are the tenets of the Growing Block Theory, first conceived by C.D. Broad in 1923. Since its inception, the theory has been given short shrift, leaving only two contenders in the field: the view that only present things exist, and the view that what exists does not vary with time.
Nothing To Come proves that the theory’s dismissal has been premature. It offers, for the first time, a coherent, logically perspicuous and ideologically lean formulation of the theory, and successfully defends it against the most notorious objections. Nothing To Come breaks new ground by showing how the theory and its competitors are derivable from more general theories consistent with relativistic spacetime, on the pre-relativistic assumption of an absolute and total temporal order.
Against the backdrop of a shared quantified temporal logic, the authors devise axiomatisations of the theory and its rivals, and go on to address and defuse the charges that the theory can only be stabilised using unfamiliar resources, that it invites skepticism about our temporal location, and that it cannot heed the requirement that truths be grounded and so mandates rejection of classical logic.
The most pressing challenge affecting all traditional theories of time is posed by relativistic physics and its rejection of absolute simultaneity. Nothing To Come meets this challenge head-on, replacing claims about temporal variation by claims about variation across spacetime. To this end, it devises a novel spacetime logic suited for the articulation, and comparative assessment, of relativistic theories of time succeeding their pre-relativistic counterparts.
The book comes with three technical appendices which include soundness and completeness proofs for the axiomatic systems for the Growing Block Theory and its rivals, in both their pre-relativistic and relativistic forms.