What is Presentism?

Noûs 51 (2):378-397 (2017)
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Abstract

Different versions of the A-theory of time are traditionally defined in terms of whether everything is present, or whether there are also past and future things. In this paper I argue that the traditional way of defining A-theories should be abandoned. I focus on the traditional definition of presentism, according to which always, everything is present. First, I argue that there are good reasons to reject all the most plausible interpretations of the predicate ‘is present’ as it appears in the traditional definition of presentism. It follows that there are also good reasons to reject the most plausible interpretations of the traditional definitions of the other A-theories. I then argue that there is a better way of defining the A-theories, in terms of the question of whether existence has a beginning and an end. Finally, I argue that what goes for the traditional definition of presentism goes for the traditional definition of its modal analogue actualism, according to which necessarily, everything is actual : there are good reasons to reject the traditional definition of actualism in favour of a definition in terms of contingent existence.

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Author's Profile

Daniel Deasy
University College Dublin

References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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