Advanced Temporalising

In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford, UK: (forthcoming)

Daniel Deasy
University College Dublin
There is a widespread assumption that B-theorists (according to whom there is nothing metaphysically special about the present moment in virtue of which it is present) should interpret the standard tense operators (‘it was the case that’, ‘it will be the case that’) as implicit quantifier-restrictors – so that, for example, an utterance at instant t of the sentence ‘It was the case that there are dinosaurs’ is true just in case there are dinosaurs located at some instant t* earlier than t. However, it is easy to show that this interpretation of the tense operators creates serious problems for B-theorists when combined with certain other relatively uncontroversial B-theoretic assumptions. In this paper, I argue that the best way for B-theorists to respond to these problems is to treat the standard tense operators as redundant when the sentences in their scope are qualitative (i.e. not about any particular individuals).
Keywords Metaphysics  Time  Tense  B-theory  Modality  Modal Realism  Advanced Modalising
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