The Tensed or Tenseless Existence of Nature

Philo 6 (2):205-210 (2003)
In the debate between those who hold the tensed theory and those who hold the tenseless theory of time, Arthur Prior’s famous “Thank Goodness Argument” has had a special place. Initially designed to help tensers, it has seen its fortune change many times. In this paper the focus is on a methodological aspect of the argument. The purpose is to defend the “new reading” of the argument, which is intended to resolve an ontological issue by focusing on an epistemic fact, against a recent charge by Nathan Oaklander that such an argument can be valid only if it is trivial, i.e., if “ceases to exist” contained in one of the premises had been already understood in the tensed sense. However, whether the argument is trivial or not depends also on whether the tensed reading is directly invoked or obtained only through the substitution of an extensional equivalent whose truth is not based on the presupposed truth of the tensed account. A possible extensional equivalent needed for the intended substitution is offered. It is based on the concept of in-the-world-inherent-modalities
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