It is customary in current philosophy of time to distinguish between an A- (or tensed) and a B- (or tenseless) theory of time. It is also customary to distinguish between an old B-theory of time, and a new B-theory of time. We may say that the former holds both semantic atensionalism and ontological atensionalism, whereas the latter gives up semantic atensionalism and retains ontological atensionalism. It is typically assumed that the B-theorists have been induced by advances in the philosophy of (...) language and related A-theorists’ criticisms to acknowledge that semantic atensionalism can hardly stand, but have also maintained that what is essential for the B-theory is ontological atensionalism, which can be independently defended. Here it is argued that the B-theorists have been too quick in abandoning semantic atensionalism: they can still cling to it. (shrink)
In his review of The Ontology of Time, Thomas Crisp (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2005a ) argues that Oaklander's version of McTaggart's paradox does not make any trouble for his version of presentism. The aim of this paper is to refute that claim by demonstrating that Crisp's version of presentism does indeed succumb to a version of McTaggart's argument. I shall proceed as follows. In Part I I shall explain Crisp's view and then argue in Part II that his analysis (...) of temporal becoming, temporal properties and temporal relations is inadequate. Finally, in Part III, I shall demonstrate that his presentist ontology of time is susceptible to the paradox he so assiduously sought to avoid. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Steven Savitt attempts to demonstrate that there is an area of common ground between one classic proponent of temporal passage, C.D. Broad, and one classic opponent of passage, D.C. Williams. According to Savitt, Broad's notion of “absolute becoming” as the ordered occurrence of (simultaneity sets of) events, and Williams’ notion of “literal passage,” as the happening of events strung along the four-dimensional space-time manifold, are indistinguishable. Savitt recognizes that some might think it preposterous to maintain that (...) Broad and Williams agree regarding the nature of passage, but by a consideration of Broad’s “OstensibleTemporality,” and Williams’ “The Myth of Passage,” Savitt attempts to demonstrate that they do in fact hold the same, and indeed the correct, view of passage. I shall argue, however, that Broad’s account of the transitory aspect of time is ontologically distinguishable from Williams’ and that only by confusing Broad’s A-theory with Williams’ B-theory or Williams’ B-theory with Broad’s A-theory could Savitt have thought that there is an area of overlap between them. A demonstration of these points will have the benefit of enabling us to clarify the ontological character ofthe dispute, of which Broad was well-aware, between the A- and B-theories of time. (shrink)
In “The Tensed or Tensless Existence of Nature” Alexsander Jokic attempts to defend a new version A. N. Prior’s “Thank Goodness It’sOver” argument against my response to it. Jokic argues that we can give a non-circular account of ceasing to exist that will vindicate the new reading, but I argue that his account to rescue Prior’s argument against my criticism fails.
Clifford Williams has recently argued that the dispute between A- and B-theories, or tensed and tenseless theories of time, is spurious because once the confusions between the two theories are cleared away there is no real metaphysical difference between them. The purpose of this paper is to dispute Williams’s thesis. I argue that there are important metaphysical differences between the two theories and that, moreover, some of the claims that Williams makes in his article suggest that he is sympathetic with (...) a B-theoretic ontology. (shrink)
The soul has played many different roles in philosophy and religion. Two of the primary functions of the soul are the bearer of personal identity and the foundation of immortality. In this paper I shall consider different interpretations of what the soul has been taken to be and argue that however we interpret the soul we cannot consistently maintain the soul is both what we are and what continues after our bodily death.
Since McTaggart first proposed his paradox asserting the unreality of time, numerous philosophers have attempted to defend the tensed theory of time against it. Certainly, one of the most highly developed and original is that put forth by Quentin Smith. Through discussing McTaggart's positive conception of time as well as his negative attack on its reality, I hope to clarify the dispute between those who believe in the existence of the transitory temporal properties of pastness, presentness and futurity, and those (...) who deny their existence. We shall see that the debate centers around the ontological status of succession and the B-relations of earlier and later. I shall argue that Smith's tensed theory fails because he cannot account for the sense in which events have their tensed properties successively, and he cannot account for the direction of time. (shrink)
One problem facing those who attempt to reconcile divine foreknowledge with human freedom is to explain how a temporal God can have knowledge of the future, if the future does not exist. In her recent book, "The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge," Linda Zagzebski attempts to provide an explanation by making use of a four-dimensional model in which the past, present and future exist. In this note I argue that the model Zagzebski offers to support the coplausibility of divine foreknowledge (...) and human freedom is inconsistent with the A-theory of time she propounds. (shrink)
Time,. change. and. freedom. This is no ordinary introduction to metaphysics. Written for the most part in an engaging dialogue style, it covers metaphysical topics from a student's perspective and introduces key concepts through a process of ...
The Preface and the General Introduction to the book set the debate within the wider philosophical context and show why the subject of temporal becoming is a perennial concern of science, religion, language, logic, and the philosophy of ...
Defending the tenseless theory of time requires dealing adequately with the experience of temporal becoming. The issue centers on whether the defender of tenseless time can provide an adequate analysis of the presence of experience and the appropriateness of certain of our attitudes toward future and past events. By responding to a recent article, ‘Passage and the Presenee of Experience’, by H . Scott Hestevold, I shall attempt to show that adequate analysis of tenseless time is possible.
Quentin Smith has argued (Philosophical Studies, 1987, pp. 371-392) that the token-reflexive and the date versions of the new tenseless theory of time are open to insurmountable difficulties. I argue that Smith's central arguments are irrelevant since they rest upon methodological assumptions accepted by the old tenseless theory, but rejected by the new tenseless theory.
Delmas Lewis has argued that the tenseless view of time is committed to a view of personal identity according to which no one can be held morally responsible for their actions. His argument, if valid, is a serious objection to the tenseless view. The purpose of this paper is to defend the detenser by pointing out the pitfalls in Lewis’ argument.
In his recent book, Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit propounds a version of the psychological criterion of personal identity.1 According to the variant he adopts, the numerical identity through time of persons consists in non-branching psychological continuity no matter how it is caused. One traditional objection to a view of this sort is that it is circular, since psychological continuity presupposes personal identity. Although Parfit frequently denies the importance of personal identity, he considers his own psychological account of identity important (...) enough to attempt to defend it against the charge of circularity. The aim of this paper is to argue that Parfit's attempted defence is unsuccessful because it ultimately rests on an analysis of the unity of consciousness that is itself either circular or otherwise inadequate. (shrink)
Russell's introduction of negative facts to account for the truth of "negative" sentences or beliefs rests on his collaboration with Wittgenstein in such efforts as the characterization of formal necessity, the theory of logical atomism, and the use of the Ideal Language. In examining their views we arrive at two conclusions. First, that the issue of negative facts is distinct from questions of meaning or intentionality; what a sentence or belief means or is about rather than what makes it true (...) or false. Second, that the ontological use of the Ideal Language is incompatible with the requirements of its employment in the logical study of inferences. On this basis we conclude that despite elaborations by recent proponents, the doctrine of negative facts lacks adequate support, and perhaps more importantly, it is proper ontological method to free the Ideal Language from the exigencies of a symbolism constructed for logical investigation. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to show that an argument offered by Bergmann and Hausman against positional qualities and for bare particulars as individuators is unsound. I proceed by giving two ontological assays of an ordinary thing and showing that the entity that individuates on one assay--a bare particular--does not provide deeper ontological ground of individuation than the entity that individuates on the other assay--a positional quality. Since the argument for particulars is based on the premise that only particulars can (...) ground individuation as deeply as is required, it follows that Bergmann and Hausman have not proved particulars are necessary and that positional qualities are insufficient for individuation. (shrink)