The evolutionary origins of tensed language and belief

Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):401-418 (2011)
I outline the debate in metaphysics between those who believe time is tensed and those who believe it is tenseless. I describe the terms in which this debate has been carried out, and the significance to it of ordinary tensed language and widespread common sense beliefs that time is tensed. I then outline a case for thinking that our intuitive beliefs about tense constitute an Adaptive Imaginary Representation (Wilson, in Biol Philos 5:37–62, 1990; Wilson, in Biol Philos 10:77–97, 1995). I also outline a case for thinking that our ordinary tensed beliefs and tensed language owe their tensed nature to its being adaptive to adopt a temporally self-locating perspective on reality. If these conclusions are right, then common sense intuitions and temporal language will be utterly misleading guides to the nature of temporal reality
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-011-9263-5
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