Explanation and the A-theory

Philosophical Studies 178:4239-4259 (2021)
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Abstract

Propositional temporalism is the view that there are temporary propositions: propositions that are true, but not always true. Factual futurism is the view that there are futurist facts: facts that obtain, but that will at some point not obtain. Most A-theoretic views in the philosophy of time are committed both to propositional temporalism and to factual futurism. Mark Richard, Jeffrey King and others have argued that temporary propositions are not fit to be the contents of propositional attitudes, or to be the semantic values of natural language utterances. But these discussions have overlooked another role that the A-theorist’s posits struggle to play: the role of facts in explaining other facts. Focusing on the case of action explanation by reasons, this paper presents the challenge that explanation poses for factual futurism. It then brings that challenge to bear against propositional temporalism and the A-theory more generally. My argument saddles the factual futurist with surprising commitments concerning reasons, facts and explanation. The futurist might accept those commitments and pay the price. The alternative – which I prefer – is to reject factual futurism, and with it the A-theory.

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Author's Profile

David Storrs-Fox
Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASIP)

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Action.John Hawthorne & Jason Stanley - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):571-590.

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