Presentists, who believe that only present objects exist, face a problem concerning truths about the past. Presentists should (but cannot) locate truth-makers for truths about the past. What can presentists say in response? We identify two rival factions ‘upstanding’ and ‘nefarious’ presentists. Upstanding presentists aim to meet the challenge, positing presently existing truth-makers for truths about the past; nefarious presentists aim to shirk their responsibilities, using the language of truth-maker theory but without paying any ontological price. We argue that presentists (...) should be nefarious presentists. (shrink)
Current debate in the metaphysics of time ordinarily assumes that we should be realists about time. Recently, however, a number of physicists and philosophers of physics have proposed that time will play no role in a completed theory of quantum gravity. This paper defends fictionalism about temporal thought, on the supposition that our world is timeless. We argue that, in the face of timeless physical theories, realism about temporal thought is unsustainable: some kind of anti-realism must be adopted. We go (...) on to provide an argument against eliminativism about temporal thought. While it doesn't follow from this argument that fictionalism about temporal thought is true, we suggest that this nonetheless shows that fictionalism should be regarded as the preferred view. (shrink)
What distinguishes causation from grounding? One suggestion is that causation, but not grounding, occurs over time. Recently, however, counterexamples to this simple temporal criterion have been offered. In this paper, we situate the temporal criterion within a broader framework that focuses on two aspects: locational overlapping in space and time and the presence of intermediaries in space and time. We consider, and reject, the idea that the difference between grounding and causation is that grounding can occur without intermediaries. We go (...) on to use the fact that grounding and causation both involve intermediaries to develop a better temporal criterion for distinguishing causation from grounding. The criterion is this: when a cause and effect are spatially disjoint, there is always a chain of causal intermediaries between the cause and the effect that are extended in time. By contrast, when the grounds and the grounded are spatially disjoint, there is always a chain of grounding intermediaries, but the chain need not be extended in time, it can be purely spatial. The difference between grounding and causation, then, is that causation requires time for chaining in a way that grounding does not. (shrink)
1. IntroductionA popular view in metaphysics is that which propositions are true depends upon how the world is . In more evocative language, truth requires ground. This thought then gets used to do some serious work. As Sider has it, ‘[t]he point of … the principle that truth supervenes on being is to rule out dubious ontologies’. Here, I argue that ‘dubious’ ontologies are theoretically virtuous.
Here, I defend the view that there is no sensible way to pin a truth-maker objection on presentism. First, I suggest that if we adopt truth-maker maximalism then the presentist can requisition appropriate ontological resources with impunity. Second, if we deny maximalism, then the presentist can sensibly restrict the truth-maker principle in order to avoid the demand for truth-makers for talk about the non-present.
In this paper I argue in favour of a new deﬁnition of presentism that I call ‘existence presentism’ (EP). Typically, presentism is deﬁned as the thesis that ‘only present objects exist’, or ‘nothing exists that is non-present’.1 I assume these statements to be equivalent. I call these statements of presentism ‘conventional presentism’ (CP). First, in §2, I rehearse arguments due to Ulrich Meyer that purport to show that presentism is not adequately deﬁned as CP. In §§2.1–2.4 I show that considerations (...) of the sort raised by Meyer infect attempts to deﬁne presentism, due to Thomas Crisp, Tom Stoneham, and Theodore Sider. Thus the ﬁrst half of the paper is constituted by a negative project that looks to show how extant deﬁnitions of presentism fail. In the second half of the paper, I continue in the negative theme in §3, before laying out EP and demonstrating that it solves the problems faced by CP and offering explanations of how to make sense of certain key notions that lie at the heart of EP. I conclude that EP is preferable to CP. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Our aim in this article is to offer a new justification for preferring theories that are more quantitatively parsimonious than their rivals. We discuss cases where it seems clear that those involved opted for more quantitatively parsimonious theories. We extend previous work on quantitative parsimony by offering an independent probabilistic justification for preferring the more quantitatively parsimonious theories in particular episodes of theory choice. Our strategy allows us to avoid worries that other considerations, such as pragmatic factors of computational (...) tractability and so on, could be the driving ones in the historical cases under consideration. _1_ Introduction _2_ Three Desiderata _2.1_ Limiting _2.2_ Robustness _2.3_ Breadth _2.3.1_ A limited success for Baker _2.3.2_ Rejecting Baker’s analysis _2.4_ The proposal _3_ Probabilistically Additive Hypotheses and a Bayesian Account: The Limpid Rationale Relativized and Reconsidered _3.1_ Neutrinos and beta decay _3.2_ Avogadro’s hypothesis _3.3_ Postulation of Neptune _4_ Conclusion. (shrink)
Next SectionIn this article I offer a new version of presentism and argue that this new version of presentism is not a species of the A-theory. Along the way, I argue that Rasmussen’s recent attempt to articulate a version of presentism that is not also a version of the A-theory does not succeed.
I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place.
In this paper I argue that presentism —the view that only present objects exist—can be motivated, at least to some degree, by virtue of the fact that it is more quantitatively parsimonious than rival views.
In this paper I look to develop a defence of “presentist temporal passage” that renders presentism immune from recent arguments due to Eric Olson. During the course of the paper, I also offer comment on a recent reply to Olson’s argument due to Ian Phillips. I argue that it is not clear that Phillips’ arguments succeed.
According to some views of reality, some objects are fundamental and other objects depend for their existence upon these fundamental objects. In this article, I argue that we have reason to reject these views.
Priority Monism, as defined by Jonathan Schaffer, has a number of components. It is the view that: the cosmos exists; the cosmos is a maximal actual concrete object, of which all actual concrete objects are parts; the cosmos is basic—there is no object upon which the cosmos depends, ontologically; ontological dependence is a primitive and unanalysable relation. In a recent attack, Lowe has offered a series of arguments to show that Monism fails. He offers up four tranches of argument, with (...) different focuses. These focal points are: being a concrete object; aggregation and dependence; analyses of ontological dependence; Schaffer’s no-overlap principle. These are all technical notions, but each figures at the heart of a cluster of arguments that Lowe puts forward. To respond, I work through each tranche of argument in turn. Before that, in the first section, I offer a cursory statement of Monism, as Schaffer presents it in his 2010 paper, Monism: The Priority of the Whole. I then respond to each of Lowe’s criticisms in turn, deploying material from Schaffer’s 2009 paper Spacetime: the One Substance, as well as various pieces of conceptual machinery from Lowe’s own works to deflect Lowe’s attacks. In the process of defending Monism from Lowe, I end up offering some subtle refinements to Schaffer’s view and explain how the resulting ‘hybrid’ view fares in the wider dialectic. (shrink)
Presentists face a familiar problem. If only present objects exist, then what 'makes true' our true claims about the past? According to Ross Cameron, the 'truth-makers' for past and future tensed propositions are presently instantiated Temporal Distributional Properties. We present an argument against Cameron's view. There are two ways that we might understand the term 'distribute' as it appears. On one reading, the resulting properties are not up to the task of playing the truth-maker role; on the other, the properties (...) are incompatible with presentism. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is two fold: first, I look to show Oaklander’s (The ontology of time. New York: Prometheus Books, 2004) theory of time to be false. Second, I show that the only way to salvage the B-theory is via the adopting of the causal theory of time, and allying this to Oaklander’s claim that tense is to be eliminated. I then raise some concerns with the causal theory of time. My conclusion is that, if one adopts eternalism, (...) the unreality of time looks a better option than the B-theory. (shrink)
Baker (Mind 114:223–238, 2005; Brit J Philos Sci 60:611–633, 2009) has recently defended what he calls the “enhanced” version of the indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism. In this paper I demonstrate that the nominalist can respond to Baker’s argument. First, I outline Baker’s argument in more detail before providing a nominalistically acceptable paraphrase of prime-number talk. Second, I argue that, for the nominalist, mathematical language is used to express physical facts about the world. In endorsing this line I follow moves (...) made by Saatsi (Brit J Philos Sci 62(1):143–154, 2011). But, unlike Saatsi, I go on to argue that the nominalist requires a paraphrase of prime-number talk, for otherwise we lack an account of what that ‘physical fact’ is in the case of mathematics that seemingly makes reference to prime numbers. (shrink)
Ross Cameron proposes to reconcile presentism and truth-maker theory by invoking temporal distributional properties, instantiated by present entities, as the truth-makers for truths about the past. This chapter argues that Cameron's proposal fails because objects can change which temporal distributional properties they instantiate and this entails that the truth-values of truths about the past can change in an objectionable way.
It is, I think, possible to generate a variation of McTaggart’s (Mind 17:457–474, 1908 ) paradox that infects all extant versions of presentism. This is not to say that presentism is doomed to failure. There may be ways to modify presentism and I can’t anticipate all such modifications, here. For the purposes of the paper I’ll understand ‘presentism’ to be the view that for all x , x is present (cf. Crisp ( 2004 : 18)). It seems only right that, (...) at a conference devoted to McTaggart’s work on time, we continue to pursue new ways in which his now infamous arguments remain relevant to us today. (shrink)
The New A-theory of Time is the view, to be elaborated and defended in this article, that many times exist, and that time is real in virtue of every moment in time bearing each of the so-called A-properties: past, present and future. I argue that TNAT is at least as theoretically virtuous as mainstream views in the philosophy of time and may have some claim to being our best theory of time. I show that the properties ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ (...) can be understood as compatible intrinsic properties. Having demonstrated that this account of the A-properties is coherent, I go on to demonstrate how TNAT can give us an account of passage, change and the truth-conditions for temporal sentences. In the final section of the article, I develop a tentative argument in favour of TNAT, though concede that we have to settle for the result that TNAT is on a par with our other theories of time. In the remainder of this opening section, my aim is to situate the current proposal as a direct response to Mc.. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to motivate and then defend a restricted version of the truth-maker theory. In defending such a theory I hope to do away with the perceived need for ‘negative existents’ such as totality facts and the like.
Priority monism (hereafter, ‘monism’) is the view that there exists one fundamental entity—the world—and that all other objects that exist (a set of objects typically taken to include tables, chairs, and the whole menagerie of everyday items) are merely derivative. Jonathan Schaffer has defended monism in its current guise, across a range of papers. Each paper looks to add something to the monistic picture of the world. In this paper we argue that monism—as Schaffer describes it—is false. To do so (...) we develop an ‘island universe’ argument against Schaffer's monistic theory. (shrink)
Here I examine some recent attempts to provide a new way of thinking about the philosophy of time that question the central role of ‘presentness’ within the definition of presentism. The central concern raised by these critics turns on the intelligibility and theoretical usefulness of the term ‘is present’. My overarching aim is to at least challenge such concerns. I begin with arguments due to Deasy. Deasy develops a view that he calls ‘transientism’ and that he takes to be a (...) well-motivated version of presentism. I show that both this way of thinking about presentism and the argument supposedly motivating it all fail. I then move to an argument due to Correia and Rosenkrantz. Correia and Rosenkrantz purport to show that presentism can be salvaged without making recourse to the term ‘is present’. I demonstrate that their arguments fail. I then move on to a view, proposed and defended by Merricks, Tallant, and Zimmerman, and show that it has the wherewithal to meet the challenges raised by Williamson who, as noted above, raises genuine concerns about our capacity to define presentism. (shrink)
Presentists, who believe that only present entities exist, face a problem of how to analyse tensed plural quantification. The idea, in broad outline, is that presentists can't employ the usual method for analysing tensed singular quantification, using primitive ‘slice’ tense operators, to analyse plurals. One option is to introduce a new theoretical primitive: a ‘span’‐operator. But there are reasons to worry about this option. For one, we might agree with Lewis that span‐operators are ill‐behaved or introduce unpalatable complexity. For another, (...) we might wish to avoid any additional theoretical primitives, regardless of whether spans can earn their keep alongside slices. In this paper, we offer a strategy for presentists to address the problem that requires only slice‐operators. Presentists who wish to avoid span‐operators, for whatever reason, should find our proposal attractive. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to answer the question, 'could there be causation in a timeless world?' My conclusion: tentatively, yes. The paper and argument have three parts. Part one introduces salient issues and spells out the importance of this line of investigation. Section two of the paper reviews recent arguments due to Baron and Miller, who argue in favor of the possibility of causation in a timeless world, and looks to reject their arguments developed there. Section three is a (...) response to a response. In their, Baron and Miller also argue that an argument in favor of the possibility of causation at timeless worlds, that I put forward, is an argument that fails. In section three, my response to Baron and Miller is that their argument against me succeeds, but that there is a nearby argument that we can appeal to in order to demonstrate the possibility of causation at timeless worlds. (shrink)
Ockham's razor asks that we not multiply entities beyond necessity. The razor is a powerful methodological tool, enabling us to articulate reasons for preferring one theory to another. There are those, however, who would modify the razor. Schaffer, for one, tells us that, ‘I think the proper rendering of Ockham's razor should be ‘Do not multiply fundamental entities without necessity’’. Our aim, here, is to challenge such re-workings of Ockham's razor.
In two recent papers Button (Analysis 66:130–135, 2006, Analysis 67:325–332, 2007) has developed a particular view of time that he calls no-futurism. He defends his no-futurism against a sceptical problem that has been raised (by e.g. Bourne in Aust J Phil 80:359–371, 2002) for a similar growing block view—that of Tooley (Time, tense, and causation, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997). If Button is right, then we have an important third option available to us: a half-way house between presentism and eternalism. If, (...) on the other hand, the criticism of Tooley-style Growing-Block views holds, then we are left with just presentism and eternalism. In this paper I show that Button’s defence fails. (shrink)
This paper is an exploration of the role of intuition in physics. The ways in which intuition is appealed to in physics are not well understood. To the best of my knowledge, there is no analysis of the different contexts in which we might appeal to intuition in physics, nor is there any analysis of the different potential uses to which intuition might be put. In this paper I look to provide data that goes some way to giving a sense (...) of the different contexts in which intuition is appealed to in physics. As I note in the conclusion, there is still much work to be done but I hope that the work here provides us with a first step in the journey to properly understand the use to which intuitions are put in physics and science more generally. (shrink)
A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express propositions and, thus, we do (...) not use mathematical discourse to make claims that are either true or false. In this paper I make use of recent findings from cognitive neuroscience and developmental science to suggest that pretense theories of mathematics fail. 1 Introduction 2 The Autism Objection 2.1 Autism and pretense 2.2 Autistic engagement with mathematics 2.2.1 Cortical folding 2.2.2 The language of mathematics 3 The Onset of the Number Sense and the Recognition of Pretense 3.1 A difference in neurology 3.2 Young and no numbers 3.2.1 When and where is the difference? 3.2.2 Damaged HIPS without impairment to engagement with fiction 4 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
There is a charge sometimes made in metaphysics that particular commitments are ‘hypothetical’, ‘dubious’ or ‘suspicious’. There have been two analyses given of what this consists in—due to Crisp (2007) and Cameron (2011). The aim of this paper is to reject both analyses and thereby show that there is no obvious way to press the objection against said commitments that they are ‘dubious’ and objectionable. Later in the paper I consider another account of what it might be to be ‘dubious’, (...) and argue that this too fails. I use Bigelow's (1996) Lucretian properties as a vehicle for the discussions of dubiousness that follow. As a consequence, the paper ends up offering a partial defense of Lucretianism. (shrink)
Ladyman and Ross do not think that contemporary metaphysics is in good standing. However, they do think that there is a version of metaphysics that can be made to work – provided we approach it using appropriate principles. My aim in this paper is to undermine some of their arguments against contemporary metaphysics as it is currently practiced.
Recent work on time. There is, at present, a lot of varied and interesting work being done in the philosophy of time; too much for me to fully engage with all of it here. I will focus on three debates that have been particularly busy over the last few years: how do presentists ground true propositions about the past? How does time pass? How do we experience time’s passing?
In his ‘Ambitious, Yet Modest, Metaphysics’, Hofweber puts forward arguments against positions in metaphysics that he describes as ‘immodest’; a position he identifies as defended by Jonathan Lowe. In this paper I reply to Hofweber’s arguments, offering a defence of immodest metaphysics of the type practiced by Lowe inter alia.
In this paper we offer a response to one argument in favour of Priority Monism, what Jonathan Schaffer calls the nomic argument for monism. We proceed in three stages. We begin by introducing Jonathan Schaffer’s Priority Monism and the nomic argument for that view. We then consider a response to the nomic argument that we presented in an earlier paper. We show that this argument suffers from a flaw. We then go on to offer a different response to the nomic (...) argument. The core idea is that the current laws of physics are not integrated in the manner that Schaffer requires to get the nomic argument for monism off the ground. (shrink)
There is a well-developed literature on trust. Distrust, on the other hand, has gathered far less attention in the philosophical literature. A recent exception to that trend in the philosophical literature is Hawley who develops a unified account of both trust and distrust. My aim in this paper is to present arguments against her account of trust and distrust, though then to also suggest a patch.
Ross Cameron puts forward a novel solution to the truthmaker problem facing presentism. I claim that, by Cameron's own lights, the view is not in fact a presentist view at all, but rather requires us to endorse a form of Priority Presentism, whereby past objects are derivative and depend for their existence upon present objects. I argue that this view should be rejected.
Within the philosophy of time there has been a growing interest in positions that deny the reality of time. Those positions, whether motivated by arguments from physics or metaphysics, have a shared conclusion: time is not real. What has not been made wholly clear, however, is exactly what it entails to deny the reality of time. Time is unreal, sure. But what does that mean? There has been only one sustained attempt to spell out exactly what it would mean to (...) endorse a temporal error theory; a theory that denies the reality of time—Baron & Miller’s ‘What is temporal error theory?’. Despite the fact that their paper makes significant strides in spelling out what would be required of a temporal error theory, my claim in this paper is that their position must be rejected and replaced. As well as looking to reject Baron and Miller’s position, I also look to provide that replacement. (shrink)
Dolev's ambitious project is to show that the traditional debate in the philosophy of time between the so-called ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theorists is not a sustainable one. The key to the negative portion argument is that both the tensed and tenseless view of time can be understood only from within their respective ontological frameworks. Moreover, that there is only really an appearance of understanding within these frameworks, since neither framework furnishes us with the wherewithal to genuinely understand temporal language. Moving (...) past these frameworks is the goal Dolev sets us. The positive aspect of the text tries to teach us how to transcend this merely ontological dispute and engage in phenomenological considerations of time itself. The conclusion to the positive project is that we cannot postulate an adequate metaphysical system of time, though we can understand what time is if we treat it as the time of our experiences in everyday life .The prospect that we might be able to move past the existing debate into fresh philosophical terrain is exciting. But I am not quite persuaded by the arguments that are intended to motivate the move to pastures new. First, on occasion Dolev seems to slightly …. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend Lucretian Presentism (‘Lucretianism’). Although the view faces many objections and has proven unpopular with presentists, we rehabilitate Lucretianism and argue that none of the objections stick.