Travelling in A- and B- Time

The Monist 88 (3):329-335 (2005)
Some say that presentism precludes time travel into the past since it implies that the past does not exist, but this is a bad argument. Presentism says that only currently existing entities exist, and that the only properties and relations those entities instantiate are those that they currently instantiate. This does in a sense imply that the past does not exist. But if that precluded time travel into the past, it would also preclude the one-second-per-second “time travel” into the future that is ordinary persistence, for presentism accords the future the same ontological status as the past. Instead of quantifying over past and future objects and events, presentists speak a tensed language, regimented with primitive sentential tense operators. For a presentist, a persisting person is one who did exist, and who will exist. Regimented, these claims become: it was the case that she exists, and it will be the case that she exists. The presentist may then apply the same strategy to time travel proper. Suppose Katy travels back to the time of the dinosaurs. The presentist can say that it was the case two hundred million years ago that Katy exists. This claim, which consists of a present-tense statement “Katy exists” embedded within the past tense operator it was the case two hundred million years ago that, is exactly the sort of statement about time that a presentist is free to accept. This has all been made clear by Simon Keller and Michael Nelson ( ). In addition to rebutting the bad argument against the consistency of presentism and time travel, Keller and Nelson argue positively in favor of consistency by showing how to translate David Lewis’s ( ) account of time travel into the presentist’s tensed language. The appearance of con ict between presentism and time travel, they argue, is due only to the fact that most defenders of time travel (for example Lewis) have tended to phrase their defenses in nonpresentist terms. As much as I applaud their rebuttal of the bad argument, I wish to sound a note of caution..
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist200588326
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,702
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Persistence and Location in Relativistic Spacetime.Cody Gilmore - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1224-1254.
Nowhere Man: Time Travel and Spatial Location.Sara Bernstein - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):158-168.
Temporal Parts and Time Travel.Nikk Effingham - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (2):225-240.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
The Plato Code.Jay Kennedy - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 51 (51):36-45.
A Mereological Challenge to Endurantism.Nikk Effingham & Jon Robson - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):633 – 640.
Travelling in Branching Time.Manolo Martínez - 2011 - Disputatio 4 (31):59-75.
On Travelling Backward in Time.Robert Weingard - 1972 - Synthese 24 (1-2):117 - 132.
A Useful Time Machine.G. C. Goddu - 2002 - Philosophy 77 (2):281-282.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

203 ( #19,665 of 2,158,464 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #53,120 of 2,158,464 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums