Course: Philosophy of Time

[important]Deze cursus heeft faciliteiten voor Nederlandstalige studenten: zie onderaan op de pagina.
(This course has facilities for Dutch-speaking students. This is explained below in Dutch.)[/important]

Philosophy of Time

In the first semester of 2015-2016, there will be a Master-level course on the Philosophy of Time. On this page, you find some information on the contents and practical organization.

This course is intended for Ma-students, both of Philosophy (who can take it as a Ma-seminar course) and of Science (who can take it as an elective course).

In case of further questions, you can always contact me (Sylvia Wenmackers) or Pieter Thyssen.

Poster Philosophy of Time.

Poster Philosophy of Time.


This course offers a short introduction to the history, philosophy, and science of the concept of time, from the pre-socratic philosophers to Einstein and beyond. We cover subjects such as: time and change, the subjective experience of time, physical and metaphysical aspects of the nature of time, time’s arrow, time travel, time and free will, and scientific and philosophical approaches to eternity and the beginning of time.


  • Time (and space) before, during, and after the Scientific Revolution
  • Presentism and eternalism
  • Time travel and associated paradoxes
  • Psychological aspects of time
  • Time versus determinism and free will

We will read chapters from books and recent articles. An important source is the book “A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time” by Adrian Bardon (Oxford University Press, 2013). We will supplement it with other texts. In particular, we will go more in depth concerning the physical theories (thermodynamics, special and general relativity, and quantum mechanics). Which texts will be read exactly will be discussed during the first session.

For more info, see also this blogpost.

Practical organization

When & Where

The meetings for this course take place on Friday 11:00-13:00 at the Institute for Philosophy (K. Mercierplein, room N). The first seminar will take place on September 25th, 2015.


The course is part of the program for Master students of Philosophy and can be taken as an elective by other Master, for instance of the Faculty of Science. Others who are interested are allowed to follow a specific lecture, but please contact one of the lecturers in advance.


During the first weeks of the seminar, an introduction to the topic, philosophy of time, will be given, with room for discussion. Since participation to these discussions is part of the evaluation, attendance of all students is expected during the seminars.

During the last weeks of the seminar, each student gives a presentation about one article or book chapter. (The division between presentation time and time for discussion depends on the number of participants.)

After the presentations, each students writes a paper about his or her presentation topic. This paper should not only continue from the presentation and the discussion but should also refer to other presentations and discussions.


The name of the course is “Master’s Seminar: Theoretical Philosophy”. The topic of this year is Philosopy of Time. This is the ECTS page in English.

Faciliteiten voor Nederlandstalige studenten

[important]Deze cursus biedt faciliteiten voor Nederlandstalige studenten.
(This course has facilities for Dutch-speaking students, which are written here in Dutch.)[/important]

De bronteksten voor dit vak zijn in het Engels. We hebben toestemming gekregen om het vak ook in het Engels te doceren, omdat zo ook studenten uit het internationale programma kunnen deelnemen.

Omdat het vak in het Nederlandstalige programma wordt aangeboden, bieden we volgende faciliteiten:

  • Nederlandstalige studenten die dat willen mogen hun essay in het Nederlands schrijven.
  • Nederlandstalige studenten die dat willen mogen hun presentatie geven in het Nederlands. (Indien het om meerdere studenten gaat, organiseren we een aparte presentatiesessie.)
  • Indien nodig organiseren we enkele bijkomende begeleidingsuren voor Nederlandstalige studenten.

De Nederlandstalige ECTS-fiche staat hier.

Voor verdere vragen kan je altijd terecht bij mij (Sylvia Wenmackers) of bij Pieter Thyssen.