July 30, 2014 by Zerub Roberts
One would say that the past is just as real as the present. Its just that we, have moved from ‘there’ to ‘now’. Just like you move from one spatial location to another, you’ve moved from one temporal location to another. However unlike space, we can’t move back in time. At least not yet. So, things in the past are just as real as the things in the future.
Like, dinosaurs exist and are real. They may not exist in this particular temporal location, but somewhere else. Just like the Eiffel tower doesn’t exist where I am right now, but at a different place. However, the tower is just as real as the chair I’m sitting on. Right?
On the other side, only the present exist and only things in the present exist. In this view “temporal becoming” is a real and objective feature of the world.
There could be other variations of these two models.
Most physicists prefer to use the eternalist model, where the past and present are real. It just fits well with the special theory or relativity. But there is nothing conclusive in relativity that supports one model over the other.
This is a really wide subject. The arguments and debates are quite fascinating. You can always pick up an introductory book on Philosophy of Time, or just check the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.