This book offers a defense of the tensed theory of time, a critique of the New Theory of Reference, and an argument that simultaneity is absolute. Although Smith rejects ordinary language philosophy, he shows how it is possible to argue from the nature of language to the nature of reality. Specifically, he argues that semantic properties of tensed sentences are best explained by the hypothesis that they ascribe to events temporal properties of futurity, presentness, or pastness and do not merely (...) ascribe relations of earlier than or simultaneity. He criticizes the New Theory of Reference, which holds that "now" refers directly to a time and does not ascribe the property of presentness. Smith does not adopt the old or Fregean theory of reference but develops a third alternative, based on his detailed theory of de re and de dicto propositions and a theory of cognitive significance. He concludes the book with a lengthy critique of Einstein's theory of time. Smith offers a positive argument for absolute simultaneity based on his theory that all propositions exist in time. He shows how Einstein's relativist temporal concepts are reducible to a conjunction of absolutist temporal concepts and relativist nontemporal concepts of the observable behavior of light rays, rigid bodies, and the like. (shrink)
The primary goal of Peter Ludlow's Semantics, Tense, and Time is to illustrate how one can study metaphysical issues from a linguistic/semantic perspective by addressing the debate between tenseless theorists and tensed theorists. Ludlow's book is noteworthy in part because of the novelty of its approach to this debate and in part because it addresses and endeavors to solve the metaphysical problems of temporal solipsism that other temporal solipsists have not addressed.
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 ...
you use it. These two assumptions, which I believe to be false, are based on a more fundamental assumption, that the rule governing the reference of an indexical remains constant from use to use. Contemporary theories hold that the reference of an indexical varies from use to (relevantly different) use, but that the reference-fixing rule of use is You can search..
Quentin Smith offers powerful arguments against the New Theory of Reference propounded by leading thhinkers in the philosophy of language. Smith defends the tensed theory of time and argues that the simultaneity is absoltue, basing this position on the theory that all propositions exist in time. Using detailed propostitions and a theory of cognitive significance, he introduces an alternative interpretation of reference that will be relevant to metaphysicians, philosophers of science and philosophers of language and may come to be recognised (...) as the definitive statement on the tensed theory of time. (shrink)
This volume puts together twelve new essays by scholars who have done groundbreaking work in epistemology over the past four decades. Unfortunately, the editor’s brief introduction offers only a sketchy presentation of the papers and their background. Given the variety and complexity of the issues tackled, one would have expected a more detailed account of the nature and developments of the epistemological theories and arguments put forward and discussed by the contributors. The absence of such an account is all the (...) more surprising considering that the editor does not himself contribute a paper to the volume. (shrink)
It seems intuitively obvious that what I am doing right now is more real than what I did just one second ago, and it seems intuitively obvious that what I did just one second ago is more real than what I did forty years ago. And yet, remarkably, every philosopher of time today, except for the author, denies this obvious fact about reality. What went wrong? How could philosophers get so far away from what is the most experientially evident fact (...) about reality? (shrink)
Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began to exist about fifteen billion years ago with a cataclysmic explosion called "the Big Bang." The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers, William Lane Craig (...) and Quentin Smith, who defend opposing positions. Craig argues that the Big Bang that began the universe was created by God, while Smith argues that the Big Bang has no cause. Alternating chapters by the two philosophers criticize and attempt to refute preceding arguments. Their arguments are based on Einstein's theory of relativity and include a discussion of the new quantum cosmology recently developed by Stephen Hawking and popularized in A Brief History of Time. (shrink)
There is sufficient evidence at present to justify the belief that the universe began to exist without being caused to do so. This evidence includes the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems that are based on Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, and the recently introduced Quantum Cosmological Models of the early universe. The singularity theorems lead to an explication of the beginning of the universe that involves the notion of a Big Bang singularity, and the Quantum Cosmological Models represent the beginning largely in (...) terms of the notion of a vacuum fluctuation. Theories that represent the universe as infinitely old or as caused to begin are shown to be at odds with or at least unsupported by these and other current cosmological notions. (shrink)
This introductory chapter presents an overview of the different topics discussed in the subsequent chapters. These include process reliabilism, evidentialism, viral epistemology, anti-luminosity argument, and modal epistemology.
The new tenseless theory of time, Developed primarily by j j c smart and d h mellor, States that tensed sentence-Utterances cannot be translated by tenseless ones but nevertheless have tenseless truth conditions. Smart and mellor infer from this that the tenseless theory of time is true. The author argues, However, That the rules of use of tensed sentence-Utterances entail that these utterances also have tensed truth conditions. This implies that the tensed theory of time is true.
Consciousness is perhaps the most puzzling problem we humans face in trying to understand ourselves. Here, eighteen essays offer new angles on the subject. The contributors, who include many of the leading figures in philosophy of mind, discuss such central topics as intentionality, phenomenal content, and the relevance of quantum mechanics to the study of consciousness.
In George Nakhnikian’s interesting and stimulating paper, “Quantum Cosmology, Theistic Philosophical Cosmology, and the Existence Question” he addresses the fundamental issue of whether it is metaphysically possible or justifiable to believe that our universe began to exist without a cause, divine or otherwise. His conclusion is negative, and he argues that, contrary to my views, quantum cosmology is consistent with theism. In this paper, I shall evaluate Nakhnikian’s arguments.
The standard view of philosophers is that the existence of particular events within our universe is capable of being explained in terms of initial conditions and natural laws, but that the existence of our universe itself is a 'brute given' that is incapable of naturalistic explanation. A supernatural explanation of the existence of our universe may be alleged to be possible ('God created our universe so that humans may exist and the existence of humans is an intrinsic good'), but an (...) explanation that appeals only to factors, situations or regularities in nature is deemed to be in principle impossible. It is also a standard view of philosophers that the less fundamental natural laws of our universe are capable of being explained in terms of more fundamental laws of our universe, but that the most basic natural laws of our universe are incapable of being explained naturalistically. Perhaps they can be explained supernaturally, by asserting that God ordained them so that humans may eventually evolve, but no other explanation is supposed possible. (shrink)
In this paper, presented at an APA colloquium in Boston on December 28, 1994, it is argued that Ruth Barcan Marcus' 1961 article on Modalities and Intensional Languages originated many of the key ideas of the New Theory of Reference that have often been attributed to Saul Kripke and others. For example, Marcus argued that names are directly referential and are not equivalent to contingent descriptions, that names are rigid designators, and that identity sentences with co-referring names are necessary if (...) true. She also first presented the modal argument that names are directly referential, the epistemic argument that names are directly referential, and the argument that there area posteriori necessities. (shrink)
infinite, and offer several arguments in sup port of this thesis. I believe their arguments are unsuccessful and aim to refute six of them in the six sections of the paper. One of my main criticisms concerns their supposition that an infinite series of past events must contain some events separated from the present event by an infinite number of intermediate events, and consequently that from one of these infinitely distant past events the present could never have been reached. I (...) introduce.. (shrink)
I begin by defending condition (i) against five objections (section 2). Following this, I show that the theory that laws obtain contingently encounters three problems that are solved by the theory that laws are metaphysically necessary (section 3). In section 3, I criticize the regularity theory of natural laws and the universals theory of Armstrong, Dretske and Tooley, and also show how the metaphysical theory solves the “inference problem” that Van Fraassen (1989) posed for any theory of natural laws.
I intend to argue for the conclusion that the universe, be it infinitely old or finitely old, causes itself. One might object that no such argument could possibly succeed, because the claim that "the universe causes itself" is incoherent. I agree that this claim is incoherent if it is understood to mean that one individual, the universe, causes that same individual to come into existence. No individual can bring about its own existence, because no individual can bring about anything unless (...) it (already) exists. What I mean by "self caused" in this paper is that there is a certain type of whole of parts, namely, a temporal and causal sequence of different individuals, with each individual being caused by earlier individuals in the sequence. What I mean by "the universe is self caused" is that (a) the universe is a whole of parts, specifically, a sequence of states of the universe, with each part or state being an individual; (b) the existence of each part (state) of the universe is caused by earlier parts of the universe; and (c) the reason the universe as a whole exists is either because it is composed of or is identical with these successively caused parts. (shrink)
Atheists have tacitly conceded the field to theists in the area of philosophical cosmology, specifically, in the enterprise of explaining why the universe exists. The theistic hypothesis is that the reason the universe exists lies in God’s creative choice, but atheists have not proposed any reason why the universe exists. I argue that quantum cosmology proposes such an atheistic reason, namely, that the universe exists because it has an unconditional probability of existing based on a functional law of nature. This (...) law of nature is inconsistent with theism and implies that God does not exist. I criticize the claims of Alston, Craig, Deltete and Guy, Oppy and Plantinga that theism is consistent with quantum cosmology. (shrink)
A clearer case of a horrible event in nature, a natural evil, has never been presented to me. It seemed to me self evident that the natural law that animals must savagely kill and devour each other in order to survive was an evil natural law and that the obtaining of this law was sufficient evidence that God did not exist. If I held a certain epistemological theory about "basic beliefs", I might conclude from this experience that my intuition that (...) there is no God co existing with th is horror was a "basic belief" and thus that I am epistemically entitled to be an atheist without needing to justify this intuition, But I do not hold such an epistemological theory and believe that intuitive atheological beliefs, such as the one I experienced (and the corresponding intuitive theological beliefs, such as that God is providentially watching over this gruesome event) require justification if they are to be epistemically warranted. The following sections of this article present a justification for the atheological intuition I experienced that dark night. My justification will consist mostly in providing reasons to believe premise (3) in the following probabilistic argument.. (shrink)
Time, Change and Freedom is the first introduction to metaphysics that uses the idea of time as a unifying principle. Time is used to relate the many issues involved in the complex study of metaphysics. Sections of the book are written in dialogue form which allows the reader to question the theories while they read and have those queries answered in the text. In addition, the authors provide glossaries of key terms as well as recommendations for further reading at the (...) conclusion of each chapter. Quentin Smith and L. Nathan Oaklander examine the tensions between determinism and freedom, temporality and historical change as well as an array of other issues fundamental to introductory metaphysics. (shrink)
If big bang cosmology is true, then the universe began to exist about 15 billion years ago with a 'big bang', an explosion of matter, energy and space from a singular point. This singularity is spatially and temporally pointlike; that is, it has zero spatial dimensions and exists for an instant (at t=0) before exploding with a 'big bang'. The big bang singularity is also lawless; Stephen Hawking writes: A singularity is a place where the classical concepts of space and (...) time break down as do all the known laws of physics because they are all formulated on a classical space time background. ... [T]his breakdown is not merely a result of our ignorance of the correct theory but represents a fundamental limitation to our ability to predict the future [of the singularity], a limitation that is analogous but additional to the limitation imposed by the normal quantum mechanical uncertainty principle.  The lawlessness of the singularity entails that it 'would thus emit all [possible] configurations of particles with equal probability' . Paul Davies describes this vividly: 'Anything can come out of a naked singularity -in the case of the big bang the universe came out.' . (shrink)
Tense, and Time , and William Lane Craig’s in The Tensed Theory of Time . Their ontologies differ greatly, however, and (before I discuss their particular ontologies) I shall concentrate at the outset on some general themes of presentism. You can search..
The big bang cosmological theory is relevant to Christian theism and other theist perspectives since it represents the universe as beginning to exist ex nihilo about 15 billion years ago. This paper addresses the question of whether it is reasonable to believe that God created the big bang. Some theists answer in the affirmative, but it is argued in this paper that this belief is not reasonable. In the course of this argument, there is a discussion of the metaphysical necessity (...) of natural laws, of whether the law of causality is true a priori, and of other pertinent issues. (shrink)
Some philosophers follow mctaggart in holding that there is a vicious infinite regress of tensed predications. Other philosophers claim there is no regress. The author argues that there is a regress, But it is benign.
The main goal of Michael Tooley’s groundbreaking book is to establish a position intermediate between the tenseless theory of time and the standard tensed theory of time. Tooley argues for a novel version of the tensed theory of time, namely, that the future is unreal and the present and past real, and yet that reality consists only of tenseless facts. The question that naturally arises for the reader concerns an apparent paradox: how could the tensed theory of time be true (...) if reality consists only of tenseless facts? (shrink)
In a critical dialogue with the metaphysical tradition from Plato to Hegel to contemporary schools of thought, the author convincingly argues that traditional rationalist metaphysics has failed to accomplish its goal of demonstrating the existence of a di.
In "A Cosmological Argument for a Self-Caused Universe ," one of us (Smith) argued that the universe explains its own existence because (i) its existence is entailed by (and so explained by) the existence of the infinitely many instantaneous universe states that compose it, and (ii) each of those states is caused by (and so explained by) infinitely many earlier universe states. Moreover, (ii) is true even if the universe is finitely old because, given standard Big Bang cosmology (Friedmann cosmology), (...) the universe does not exist at t0 (i.e., the Big Bang singularity is not real) and no matter how close some moment tn (at which the universe does exist) is to t0, there are infinitely many (indeed continuum-many) moments at which the universe exists that are even closer. Thus, even a finitely old universe has no beginning in the sense of a first moment, and hence its state at any moment is (sufficiently) caused by (all of) the universe states that precede it. Further, since this explanation of the existence of the universe is complete despite making no reference to God, and since God by definition is a part of any complete explanation of the universe, it follows that God does not exist. (shrink)
I think that virtually all contemporary theists, agnostics and atheists believe this is logically possible. Indeed, the main philosophical tradition from Plato to the present has assumed that the sentence, "God is the originating cause of the universe", does not express a logical contradiction, even though many philosophers have argued that this sentence either is synthetic and meaningless (e.g., the logical positivists) or states a synthetic and a priori falsehood (e.g., Kant and Moore), or states a synthetic and a posteriori (...) falsehood (e.g., contemporary defenders of the probabilistic argument from evil). (shrink)
The anthropic principle or the associated anthropic coincidences have been used by philosophers such as John Leslie (1989), William Lane Craig (1988) and Richard Swinburne (1990) to support the thesis that God exists. In this paper I shall examine Swinburne's argument from the anthropic coincidences. I will show that Swinburne's premises, coupled with his principle of credulity and the failure of his theodicy in The Existence of God, disconfirms theism and confirms instead the hypothesis that there exists a malevolent creator (...) of the universe. (shrink)
This short article aims to illustrate the mutually question-begging arguments that are often presented in debates between opponents and defenderss of McTaggart’s “proof” that A-properties (pastness, presentness and futurity) are logically incoherent. A sample of such arguments is taken from a recent debate between L. Nathan Oaklander (a defender of McTaggart) and myself (an opponent of McTaggart) and a method of escaping the impasse that is often reached in such debates is suggested.