The Preface and the General Introduction to the book set the debate within the wider philosophical context and show why the subject of temporal becoming is a perennial concern of science, religion, language, logic, and the philosophy of ...
L. Nathan Oaklander is one of the leading philosophers of time defending the tenseless or B-Theory of time. He has remained at the forefront of this field since the early 1980s and today he is arguably the most formidable opponent of the tensed or A-theory of time. Much of the direction of the debate in this field for the past twenty years or so, especially in regards to the new tenseless theory of time, has been influenced by Oaklander's work. This (...) book presents a carefully argued defense of the tenseless theory of time. The topics discussed include: the ontology of A- and B-theories of time; presentism; the open future theory; the A/B theory; defending the B-theory of time; temporal experience; temporal semantics; and time, identity, responsibility, and freedom. (shrink)
In his review of The Ontology of Time, Thomas Crisp (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2005a ) argues that Oaklander's version of McTaggart's paradox does not make any trouble for his version of presentism. The aim of this paper is to refute that claim by demonstrating that Crisp's version of presentism does indeed succumb to a version of McTaggart's argument. I shall proceed as follows. In Part I I shall explain Crisp's view and then argue in Part II that his analysis (...) of temporal becoming, temporal properties and temporal relations is inadequate. Finally, in Part III, I shall demonstrate that his presentist ontology of time is susceptible to the paradox he so assiduously sought to avoid. (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 a recent article, ‘Tensed Time and Our Differential Experience of the Past and Future,’ William Lane Craig attempts to resuscitate A. N. Prior's ‘Thank Goodness’ argument against the B-theory by combining it with Plantinga's views about basic beliefs. In essence Craig's view is that since there is a universal experience and belief in the objectivity of tense and the reality of becoming, ‘this belief constitutes an intrinsic defeater-defeater which overwhelms the objections brought against it.’ An intrinsic defeater-defeater is a (...) belief that enjoys such warrant for us that it simply overwhelms the defeaters brought against it without specifically rebutting or undercutting them. Thus, Craig claims that an effete philosophical argument like McTaggart's paradox is nothing more than ‘an engaging and recalcitrant brain teaser whose conclusion nobody really takes seriously.’ It is difficult to reconcile this statement with Craig's own writings elsewhere. For Craig has vigorously argued in at least two other articles that 'hybrid A-B theorists like McCall, Schlesinger, and Smith [who give ontological status to both A-properties and B-relations] are in deep trouble’ since they are all effectively refuted by McTaggart's Paradox. It is not Craig's inconsistency regarding the significance of McTaggart conundrum that I want to draw attention to, however. Rather I wish to raise a different issue. (shrink)
Defending the tenseless theory of time requires dealing adequately with the experience of temporal becoming. The issue centers on whether the defender of tenseless time can provide an adequate analysis of the presence of experience and the appropriateness of certain of our attitudes toward future and past events. By responding to a recent article, ‘Passage and the Presenee of Experience’, by H . Scott Hestevold, I shall attempt to show that adequate analysis of tenseless time is possible.
Quentin Smith has argued (Philosophical Studies, 1987, pp. 371-392) that the token-reflexive and the date versions of the new tenseless theory of time are open to insurmountable difficulties. I argue that Smith's central arguments are irrelevant since they rest upon methodological assumptions accepted by the old tenseless theory, but rejected by the new tenseless theory.
What is the nature of temporal passage—the movement of events or moments of time from the future through the present into the past? Is the future and the past as real as the present, or is the present—or perhaps the present and the past—all that exists? What role, if any, does language play in giving us an insight into temporal reality? Is it possible to travel through time into distant regions of the future or the past? What accounts for the (...) direction of time, the sense we have that we are moving toward the future and not back into the past? What is the relation between the physics of time and the philosophy of time? These are the kind of dizzying questions that have been addressed by metaphysicians since antiquity, and time has remained a critical concept for many thinkers and philosophers since then (for instance, in his Confessions, St Augustine, restating an observation by Plotinus, wrote: ‘So what is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I seek to explain it, I do not’). Interest in the subject has also been enduring—and has blossomed anew in the past century. The Philosophy of Time is a new title in the Routledge series, Critical Concepts in Philosophy. It meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of the subject’s vast literature and the continuing explosion in research output. Edited by L. Nathan Oaklander, a leading scholar in the philosophy of time, this new Major Work from Routledge brings together in four volumes the canonical and the very best cutting-edge scholarship in the field to provide a synoptic view of all the key issues and current debates. With a comprehensive introduction to the collection, newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, The Philosophy of Time is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by philosophers of time—as well as those working in related areas of philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion—as a vital research resource. (shrink)
Since McTaggart first proposed his paradox asserting the unreality of time, numerous philosophers have attempted to defend the tensed theory of time against it. Certainly, one of the most highly developed and original is that put forth by Quentin Smith. Through discussing McTaggart's positive conception of time as well as his negative attack on its reality, I hope to clarify the dispute between those who believe in the existence of the transitory temporal properties of pastness, presentness and futurity, and those (...) who deny their existence. We shall see that the debate centers around the ontological status of succession and the B-relations of earlier and later. I shall argue that Smith's tensed theory fails because he cannot account for the sense in which events have their tensed properties successively, and he cannot account for the direction of time. (shrink)
Russell's introduction of negative facts to account for the truth of "negative" sentences or beliefs rests on his collaboration with Wittgenstein in such efforts as the characterization of formal necessity, the theory of logical atomism, and the use of the Ideal Language. In examining their views we arrive at two conclusions. First, that the issue of negative facts is distinct from questions of meaning or intentionality; what a sentence or belief means or is about rather than what makes it true (...) or false. Second, that the ontological use of the Ideal Language is incompatible with the requirements of its employment in the logical study of inferences. On this basis we conclude that despite elaborations by recent proponents, the doctrine of negative facts lacks adequate support, and perhaps more importantly, it is proper ontological method to free the Ideal Language from the exigencies of a symbolism constructed for logical investigation. (shrink)
The Importance of Time is a unique work that reveals the central role of the philosophy of time in major areas of philosophy. The first part of the book consists of symposia on two of the most important works in the philosophy of time over the past decade: Michael Tooley's Time, Tense, and Causation and D.H. Mellor's Real Time II. What characterizes these essays, and those that follow, are the interchanges between original papers, with original responses to them by commentators. (...) The wide range of interrelated topics covered in this book is one of its most distinctive features. The book is divided into six parts: I. Book Symposia, II. Temporal Becoming, III. The Phenomenology of Time, IV. God, Time and Foreknowledge, V. Time and Physical Objects, and VI. Time and Causation, and contains 24 essays by leading philosophers in the various areas: Laurie Paul, Quentin Smith, L. Nathan Oaklander, Hugh Mellor, John Perry, William Lane Craig, Brian Leftow, Ned Markosian, Ronald C. Hoy, Michael Tooley, Storrs McCall, David Hunt, Mark Hinchliff, Robin Le Poidevin, Iain Martel and Eric M. Rubenstein. (shrink)
Defending the tenseless theory of time requires dealing adequately with the experience of temporal becoming. The issue centers on whether the defender of tenseless time can provide an adequate analysis of the presence of experience and the appropriateness of certain of our attitudes toward future and past events. By responding to a recent article, ‘Passage and the Presenee of Experience’, by H. Scott Hestevold, I shall attempt to show that adequate analysis of tenseless time is possible.
In a recent paper, Steven Savitt attempts to demonstrate that there is an area of common ground between one classic proponent of temporal passage, C.D. Broad, and one classic opponent of passage, D.C. Williams. According to Savitt, Broad's notion of “absolute becoming” as the ordered occurrence of (simultaneity sets of) events, and Williams’ notion of “literal passage,” as the happening of events strung along the four-dimensional space-time manifold, are indistinguishable. Savitt recognizes that some might think it preposterous to maintain that (...) Broad and Williams agree regarding the nature of passage, but by a consideration of Broad’s “OstensibleTemporality,” and Williams’ “The Myth of Passage,” Savitt attempts to demonstrate that they do in fact hold the same, and indeed the correct, view of passage. I shall argue, however, that Broad’s account of the transitory aspect of time is ontologically distinguishable from Williams’ and that only by confusing Broad’s A-theory with Williams’ B-theory or Williams’ B-theory with Broad’s A-theory could Savitt have thought that there is an area of overlap between them. A demonstration of these points will have the benefit of enabling us to clarify the ontological character ofthe dispute, of which Broad was well-aware, between the A- and B-theories of time. (shrink)
In his recent book, Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit propounds a version of the psychological criterion of personal identity.1 According to the variant he adopts, the numerical identity through time of persons consists in non-branching psychological continuity no matter how it is caused. One traditional objection to a view of this sort is that it is circular, since psychological continuity presupposes personal identity. Although Parfit frequently denies the importance of personal identity, he considers his own psychological account of identity important (...) enough to attempt to defend it against the charge of circularity. The aim of this paper is to argue that Parfit's attempted defence is unsuccessful because it ultimately rests on an analysis of the unity of consciousness that is itself either circular or otherwise inadequate. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to show that an argument offered by Bergmann and Hausman against positional qualities and for bare particulars as individuators is unsound. I proceed by giving two ontological assays of an ordinary thing and showing that the entity that individuates on one assay--a bare particular--does not provide deeper ontological ground of individuation than the entity that individuates on the other assay--a positional quality. Since the argument for particulars is based on the premise that only particulars can (...) ground individuation as deeply as is required, it follows that Bergmann and Hausman have not proved particulars are necessary and that positional qualities are insufficient for individuation. (shrink)