We care not only about what experiences we have, but when we have them too. However, on the B-theory of time, something’s timing isn’t an intrinsic way for that thing to be or become. Given B-theory, should we be rationally indifferent about the timing per se of an experience? In this paper, I argue that B-theorists can justify time-biased preferences for pains to be past rather than present and for pleasures to be present rather than past. In support (...) of this argument, I appeal to the doctrine of temporal parts or “four-dimensionalism” for short. When held in conjunction with a certain evaluative principle about whose experiences matter, four-dimensionalism reconciles B-theory with some time-biased preferences. (shrink)
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 this paper I consider two strategies for providing tenseless truth-conditions for tensed sentences: the token-reflexive theory and the date theory. Both theories have faced a number of objections by prominent A-theorists such as Quentin Smith and William Lane Craig. Traditionally, these two theories have been viewed as rival methods for providing truth-conditions for tensed sentences. I argue that the debate over whether the token-reflexive theory or the date theory is true has arisen from a failure to distinguish between conditions (...) for the truth of tensed tokens and conditions for the truth of propositions expressed by tensed tokens. I demonstrate that there is a true formulation of the token-reflexive theory that provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of tensed tokens, and there is a true formulation of the date theory that provides necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of propositions expressed by tensed tokens. I argue that once the views are properly formulated, the A-theorist’s objections fail to make their mark. However, I conclude by claiming that even though there is a true formulation of the token-reflexive theory and a true formulation of the date theory, the New B-theory nonetheless fails to provide a complete account of the truth and falsity of tensed sentences. (shrink)
The most important argument against the B-theory of time is the paraphrase argument. The major defense against that argument is the “new” tenseless theory of time, which is built on what I will call the “indexical reply” to the paraphrase argument. The move from the “old” tenseless theory of time to the new is most centrally a change of viewpoint about the nature and determiners of ontological commitment. Ironically, though, the new tenseless theorists have generally not paid enough sustained, (...) direct attention to that notion. I will defend a general criterion of ontological commitment and apply it to generate a version of the new tenseless theory of time. I will argue that many of the extant versions of the new tenseless theory of time (specifically, all those which seek to identify tenseless truth-conditions of tensed sentences as a way out of apparent ontological commitment to tensed features of reality) are unsatisfactory because their general criterion of ontological commitment is inadequate. Those versions of the new tenseless theory which are adequate (specifically, those which identify tenseless truthmakers for tensed sentences) actually entail the criterion of ontological commitment that I defend, despite appearances to the contrary. (shrink)
Elsewhere I have suggested that the B-theory includes a notion of passage, by virtue of including succession. Here, I provide further support for that claim by showing that uncontroversial elements of the B-theory straightforwardly ground a veridical sense of passage. First, I argue that the B-theory predicts that subjects of experience have a sense of passivity with respect to time that they do not have with respect to space, which they are right to have, even according to (...) the B-theory. I then ask what else might be involved in our experience of time as passing that is not yet vindicated by the B-theoretic conception. I examine a recent B-theoretic explanation of our ‘illusory’ sense of passage, by Robin Le Poidevin, and argue that it explains away too much: our perception of succession poses no more of a problem on the B-theory than it does on other theories of time. Finally, I respond to an objection by Oreste Fiocco that a causal account of our sense of passage cannot succeed, because it leaves out the ‘phenomenological novelty’ of each moment. (shrink)
This paper discusses Robin Le Poidevin’s proposal that a commitment to the B-theory of time provides a reason to relinquish the fear of death. After outlining Le Poidevin’s views on time and death, I analyze the specific passages in which he makes his proposal, giving close attention to the claim that, for the B-theorist, one’s life is “eternally real.” I distinguish two possible interpretations of this claim, which I call alethic eternalism and ontic eternalism respectively, and argue, with reference (...) to statements by other B-theroists, that alethic eternalism is the only viable option. I highlight two problems for Le Poidevin’s proposal: firstly, even if alethic eternalism does provide a reason not to fear death, this same reason is available to A-theorists; and secondly, alethic eternalism does not in fact provide such a reason. Having critically assessed possible responses to these problems, I conclude that Le Poidevin’s proposal is unfounded. (shrink)
The A-theory of time states that there is an absolute fact of the matter about what events are, respectively, in the past, present and future. The B-theory says that all there is to temporality are the relations of earlier-than, later-than and simultaneous-with, and the past, present and future are merely relative.
The paper has two parts: First, I describe a relatively popular thesis in the philosophy of propositional attitudes, worthy of the name ‘taking tense seriously’; and I distinguish it from a family of views in the metaphysics of time, namely, the A‐theories. Once the distinction is in focus, a skeptical worry arises. Some A‐theorists maintain that the difference between past, present, and future, is to be drawn in terms of what exists: growing‐block theorists eschew ontological commitment to future entities; presentists, (...) to future and past entities. Others think of themselves as A‐theorists but exclude no past or future things from their ontology. The metaphysical skeptic suspects that their attempt to articulate an ‘eternalist’ version of the A‐theory collapses into merely ‘taking tense seriously’– a thesis that does not imply the A‐theory. The second half of the paper is the search for a stable eternalist A‐theory. It includes discussion of temporary intrinsics, temporal parts, and truth. (shrink)
New B-Theorists of language, while conceding the untranslatability of tensed sentences by tenseless sentences, deny that the ineliminability of tense implies the reality of tensed facts. Thus, New BTheorist Nathan Oaklander explains, For a variety of reasons, ... recent defenders of the tenseless view have come to embrace the thesis that tensed sentences cannot be translated by tenseless ones without loss of meaning. Nevertheless, recent detensers have denied that the ineliminability of tensed language and thought entails the reality of temporal (...) properties. ... Tensed discourse is indeed necessary for timely action, but tensed facts are not, since the truth conditions of tensed sentences can be expressed in a tenseless meta-language that describes unchanging temporal relations between and among events. (shrink)
The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time ﬂows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are deﬁned in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (...) (Bigelow 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33). (shrink)
Dōgen's views of time are descriptively compared to the modern western philosophical view called "B-theory" and found to contain elements of each of the four main tenets of the B-theory. Furthermore, a fundamental incongruency is discovered. Even accounting for traditional Buddhist approaches to apparent contradictions, Dōgen's problems in this regard call into question the assumption of consistency that has characterized modern interpretations of his views on time.
In her re-analysis of the evidence presented in Klein and Nichols (2012) to support their argument that patient R.B. temporarily lost possessory custody of consciously apprehended objects (in this case, objects that normally would be non-inferentially taken as episodic memory), Professor Roache concludes Klein and Nichols's claims are untenable. I argue that Professor Roache is incorrect in her re-interpretation, and that this is due, in part, to lack of sufficient familiarity with psychological theory on memory as well as clinical literature (...) on felt loss of ownership of one’s intentional objects. (shrink)
Gergely and Csibra's theory, known as "natural pedagogy theory", is meant to explain how infants fast-learn generic knowledge from adults. In this paper, my goal is to assess the explanatory import of this theory in a particular case, namely the phenomena known as "A-not-B errors". I first propose a clarification of natural pedagogy theory's fundamental hypotheses. Then, I describe Topál et al.'s (Science, 321, 1831-1834, 2008) experiments, which consist in applying natural pedagogy theory's framework to the A-not-B errors. Finally, I (...) show that natural pedagogy theory, in its actual stage of development, does not suffice to choose between various interpretations of Topál et al.'s experimental results. (shrink)
James B. Ashbrook's "new natural theology in an empirical mode" pursued an integrated understanding of the spiritual, psychological, and neurological dimensions of spiritual life. Knowledge of neuroscience and personality theory was central to his quest, and his understandings were necessarily revised and amplified as scientific findings emerged. As a result, Ashbrook's legacy may serve as a case example of how to do religion-and-science in a milieu of scientific change. The constant in the quest was Ashbrook's core belief in the basic (...) holism of brain, mind, personality, the nature of reality, and the underlying reality of God. (shrink)
I examine G.B. Bagci’s arguments for the Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics as ideally suited for Whitehead’s philosophy. Much of Bagci’s claims are in response to Michael Epperson, who argues in the same vein in favor of decoherence accounts. Pace Epperson, I do not think that decoherence is the final arbiter here, and instead I contrast GRW with several other accounts addressing foundational problems of quantum theory, which also account for relativistic covariance, while GRW does not. I argue that (...) such latter research programs align themselves in a more convincing manner with Whitehead’s scheme, in epistemic as well as metaphysical senses, than GRW. (shrink)
Galton and subsequent investigators find wide divergences in people's subjective reports of mental imagery. Such individual differences might be taken to explain the peculiarly irreconcilable disputes over the nature and cognitive significance of imagery which have periodically broken out among psychologists and philosophers. However, to so explain these disputes is itself to take a substantive and questionable position on the cognitive role of imagery. This article distinguishes three separable issues over which people can be "for" or "against" mental images. Conflation (...) of these issues can lead to theoretical differences being mistaken for experiential differences, even by theorists themselves. This is applied to the case of John B. Watson, who inaugurated a half-century of neglect of image psychology. Watson originally claimed to have vivid imagery; by 1913 he was denying the existence of images. This strange reversal, which made his behaviorism possible, is explicable as a "creative misconstrual" of Dunlap's "motor" theory of imagination. (shrink)
In this paper, we inquire further into the question of the emergence of new orders in physics, first raised in an earlier paper. In this inquiry, we are led to suggest that the quantum theory indicates the need for yet another new order, which we call “enfolded” or “implicate.” One of the most striking examples of the implicate order is to be seen by considering the function of the hologram, which clearly reveals how a total content (in principle extending over (...) the whole of space and time) is “enfolded” in the movement of waves (electromagnetic and other kinds) in any given region. We then come to the notion that the quantum theory indicates that this implicate order is not merely a dependent or fortuitous feature of the content, but rather, that it should be considered as the independent ground of existence of things, while the ordinary explicate order is what should be considered as dependent. Finally, in the appendix we point out how the implicate order is expressed naturally in terms of an algebra similar to that of the quantum theory, which is, however, subject to generalizations going beyond the limits of what has meaning in this theory. Various new directions of further research are indicated, which will be explained in later papers. (shrink)
Hindu Theology and Biology: The Bhāgavata Purāṇa and Contemporary Theory is a conceptually ambitious book, because it seeks to articulate a program and a position so novel that there is scarcely any extant literature to draw on. The reader with a background in the study of Hinduism and Indian philosophy is likely to be puzzled by the juxtaposition of topics indicated by the title of the book. But what Jonathan Edelmann is setting out to do is to create an area (...) of work in the study of Hindu thought that is almost entirely missing in comparison to the work that has been done on Christianity : how should a person or community committed to a particular sacred... (shrink)
Julian Huxley on Darwinian evolution: A snapshot of a theory Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9499-8 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32303, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
In the Prolegomena, Kant characterized the position of the Critique of Pure Reason as "formal idealism." Kant's Theory of Form questions whether the enterprise Kant undertook in the Critique can be successfully carried through, and finds that Kant's self-imposed methodological restrictions generate tensions that he could have resolved only by abandoning his assumption that determinate forms of knowledge are knowable a priori and that an exclusive concern with them is compatible with empirical realism. It is, Pippin argues, Kant's method itself, (...) not any mistakes in following it, that confronts him on every level with the alternatives of yielding to constructive idealism or granting to the empirical aspects of knowledge an epistemological role he finds unacceptable. By his "transcendental turn" Kant proposed to avoid the substantive assumptions that both empirical psychology and rationalist metaphysics laid at the basis of knowledge. That this is the most fertile idea on the Critique is indicated by its immediate and continuing influence on the course of philosophical thinking. That it involves Kant in obscurities is indicated by the problems his commentators inevitably find in the same areas of his thought. Pippin proposes to show, by an internal critique, that these obscurities are not fortuitous but inherent in Kant's radical formalism. (shrink)
This paper presents a new argument against A-theories of time. A-theorists hold that there is an objective now (present moment) and an objective flow of time, the latter constituted by the movement of the objective now through time. A-theorists therefore want to draw different pictures of reality—showing the objective now in different positions—depending upon the time at which the picture is drawn. In this paper it is argued that the times at which the different pictures are drawn may be taken (...) to be normal times or hypertimes. If they are normal times then the A-theory is inconsistent, or else collapses to the B-theory—and appealing to primitive tense operators will not help A-theorists avoid this conclusion. If the times are hypertimes then the A-theory is consistent, but deeply problematic none the less. (shrink)
: I offer a new approach to the increasingly convoluted debate between the A- and B-theories of time, the ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theories. It is often assumed that the B-theory faces more difficulties than the A-theory in explaining the apparently tensed features of temporal experience. I argue that the A-theory cannot explain these features at all, because on any physicalist or supervenience theory of the mind, in which the nature of experience is fixed by the physical state of the (...) world, the tensed properties of time posited by the A-theory could play no role in shaping temporal experience. It follows that the A-theory is false; even a priori arguments for it fail, because they still require the tensed vocabulary which is used to describe temporal experience. (shrink)