The Concept of Eternity and its Development in the History of Philosophy

December 19, 2011 - December 20, 2011
Institute for Philosophy II, Ruhr-Universität Bochum



Peter Adamson
King's College London
Kris McDaniel
Syracuse University
Yitzhak Melamed
Johns Hopkins University
Alistair Welchman
University of Texas at San Antonio
James Wilberding
Ruhr-Universität Bochum


James Wilberding
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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Since Antiquity eternity has been thought to describe a particular kind of existence that belongs exclusively to what truly exists.  Within the history of philosophy there have in general been two different major conceptions of eternity:  (1) eternity as timeless existence and (2) eternity as existence at all times.  Both conceptions are meant to contrast with the ordinary existence of everyday things, such as dogs and chairs, that come to be and pass away.

In contemporary philosophy the concept of eternity as such is no longer fashionable, but even here one might characterize the proponents of realism in the philosophy of mathematics and of timeless propositions in the philosophy of language (that is, that propositions are entities whose existence is independent of anyone’s thinking or uttering them) as defenders of some notion of eternity.  Moreover, the concept of eternity has a strong claim to being a point of interest that connects many fields outside of the traditional boundaries of philosophy, e.g., theology and biblical exegesis and literature (cf. J.L. Borges).

The aim of this conference is to elucidate and analyze the concept of eternity in its historical and philosophical dimensions.

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December 19, 2011, 9:00am CET

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