Where is the future? An introduction to the philosophy of time

Course Dates: 07/03/24 - 11/04/24
Time: 19:00 - 20:30
Location: Online
Time is a familiar and fundamental part of our lives - we count down the minutes until lunch, we schedule meetings, we set alarms - and yet few subjects have proven as mysterious and elusive. This course will explore some of the key questions that have preoccupied philosophers and scientists for thousands of years.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00

Course Code: HP151

Thu, eve, 07 Mar - 11 Apr '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

What exactly is time? Is the passage of time real? Did time begin and, if so, how? Is time travel possible? We will explore these, and other, questions using Prof. Adrian Bardon’s ‘A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time’ (OUP 2013) as our core text.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

This course is based on Prof. Adrian Bardon’s ‘A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time’ (OUP 2013). We will cover the following six topics:

1. What is the relationship between time and change?
2. How do we acquire temporal concepts?
3. What is spacetime?
4. Does time pass?
5. Is time travel possible?
6. Does time have a beginning and an end?

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify six key areas of philosophical inquiry concerning the nature of time.
- Understand key terms in the literature on time, such as ‘idealism’, ‘relationism’, ‘A and B-series’, ‘presentism’, and so on.
- Explain and evaluate a wide range of different positions concerning the metaphysics and epistemology of time, and how these have evolved over the centuries.
- Articulate and defend your own view on the nature of time.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course. There is no expectation that you will have studied philosophy or physics beforehand. All that is required is an enthusiasm for learning and a willingness to engage with difficult, sometimes abstract, concepts and arguments. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course is delivered over the course of six sessions via Zoom. Sessions will take the form of an interactive lecture, with lots of opportunity for Q&A and discussion. It is highly recommended that students complete the reading before each class in order to get the most out of the material. A detailed course outline, as well as the presentations from each week, will be uploaded to a Google Classroom.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

A copy of Prof. Adrian Bardon’s ‘A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time’ (OUP 2013).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You may be interrested in HP153 - An introduction to paradox, taught by the same tutor.

Oliver Josiah

Oliver holds a postgraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Since graduating, he has taught a wide variety of courses to a broad range of students, from adults and children exploring the subject for the first time through to advanced undergraduates. His main areas of interest are the Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, the Philosophy of Language, and Logic. Recently, his research has focussed on developing medieval approaches to semantic paradoxes using modern mathematical methods. When Oliver’s not teaching or writing up papers, he’s either lost in a good book or somewhere deep in the English countryside.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.