Ulrich Meyer defends a novel theory about the nature of time, and argues against the consensus view that time and space are fundamentally alike. He presents the first comprehensive defense of a 'modal' account, which emphasizes the similarities between times and possible worlds in modal logic, and is easily reconciled with the theory of relativity.
This paper defends three theses: that presentism is either trivial or untenable; that the debate between tensed and tenseless theories of time is not about the status of presentism; and that there is no temporal analogue of the modal thesis of actualism.
Fara and Williamson (Mind, 2005) argue that counterpart theory is unable to account for modal claims that use an actuality operator. This paper argues otherwise. Rather than provide a different counterpart translation of the actuality operator itself, the solution presented here starts out with a quantified modal logic in which the actuality operator is redundant, and then translates the sentences of this logic into claims of counterpart theory.
Many philosophers believe there to be a fundamental difference between the present and past and future times, but they tend to disagree amongst themselves about what this difference is. Some think that the present is singled out by consciousness, while others believe that it marks the position to which the flow of time has advanced. According to presentism, the current moment is ontologically privileged: nothing exists that is not present. My aim in this chapter is to argue that this particular (...) attempt at distinguishing the present from other times is unsuccessful. (shrink)
Some theories of time entail that the present can change before or after it has happened. Examples include views on which time-travelers can change the past, the glowing block theory, Peter Geach’s mutable future view, and the moving spotlight theory. This paper argues that such ante factum or posthumous change requires a heterodox “split time” view on which earlier-than is not the converse of later-than.
This paper defends three theses: (i) that presentism is either trivial or untenable; (ii) that the debate between tensed and tenseless theories of time is not about the status of presentism; and (iii) that there is no temporal analogue of the modal thesis of actualism.
This paper explains how to obtain quantification over times in a tense logic in which all temporal distinctions are ultimately spelled out in terms of the two simple tense operators “it was the case that” and “it will be the case that.” The account of times defended here is similar to what is known as “linguistic ersatzism” about possible worlds, but there are noteworthy differences between these two cases. For example, while linguistic ersatzism would support actualism, the view of times (...) defended here does not support presentism. (shrink)
According to Hans Kamp and Frank Vlach, the two-dimensional tense operators “now” and “then” are ineliminable in quantified tense logic. This is often adduced as an argument against tense logic, and in favor of an extensional account that makes use of explicit quantification over times. The aim of this paper is to defend tense logic against this attack. It shows that “now” and “then” are eliminable in quantified tense logic, provided we endow it with enough quantificational structure. The operators might (...) not be redundant in some other systems of tense logic, but this merely indicates a lack of quantificational resources and does not show any deep-seated inability of tense logic to express claims about time. The paper closes with a brief discussion of the modal analogue of this issue, which concerns the role of the actuality operator in quantified modal logic. (shrink)
This article surveys some of the key issues that arise when one tries to use tense logic as a metaphysical theory of the nature of time. Topics discussed include basic tense logic, tense logic and verb tense, the structure of the time series, instants of time, quantified tense logic, and the expressive resources of tense logic.
With the rigorous development of modal logic in the ﬁrst half of the twentieth century, it became custom amongst philosophers to characterize diﬀerent views about necessity and possibility in terms of rival axiomatic systems for the modal operators ‘ ’ (‘possibly’) and ‘ ’ (‘necessarily’). From the late 1950s onwards, Arthur Prior began to argue that temporal distinctions ought to be given a similar treatment, in terms of axiomatic systems for sentential tense operators, such as ‘P’ (‘it was the case (...) that’) and ‘F’ (‘it will be the case that’).1 My aim here is to give a brief survey of the extent to which time can be treated on the model of modality. I shall not try to address the further question of whether such ‘modal’ accounts of time are to be preferred over ‘spatial’ accounts that treat times more like places. (shrink)
Michael Dummett claims that the classical model of time as a continuum of instants has to be rejected. In his view, “it allows as possibilities what reason rules out, and leaves it to the contingent laws of physics to rule out what a good model of physical reality would not even be able to describe.” This paper argues otherwise.
ABSTRACT Even though fatalism has been an intermittent topic of philosophy since Greek antiquity, this paper argues that fate ought to be of little concern to metaphysicians. Fatalism is neither an interesting metaphysical thesis in its own right, nor can it be identified with theses that are, such as realism about the future or determinism.
A perennial question in the philosophy of time concerns the relation between the objective “physical time” that features in empirical theories of motion and the subjective “human time” in which our own experiences unfold. This article is about one facet of this broader question: whether the phenomenon of consciousness allows us to make a principled distinction between the present and other times. A number of authors have argued that, without conscious observers, there would be no distinctions of past, present, and (...) future. This paper defends the opposing thesis that there is no interesting connection between consciousness and presentness. (shrink)
Instead of accepting instants of time as metaphysically basic entities, many philosophers regard them as abstractions from something else. There is the Russell-Whitehead view that times are maximal classes of simultaneous events; the linguistic ersatzer's proposal that times are maximally consistent sets of sentences or propositions; and the view that times are made up of temporal parts of material objects. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these various proposals and concludes in favor of a particular version of linguistic (...) ersatzism about time. (shrink)
There are two ways of thinking about instants of time: "spatial" accounts emphasize the similarities between instants and places; "modal" accounts focus on the parallels between times and possible worlds. My aim in this paper is to draw attention to one respect in which times are more similar to possible worlds than they are to places.
It is a popular view amongst some philosophers, most notably those with Quinean views about ontological commitment, that scientific theories are first-orderizable; that we can regiment all such theories in an extensional first-order language. I argue that this view is false, and that any acceptable account of science needs to take some modal notion as primitive.
There are many parallels between the role of possible worlds in modal logic and that of times in tense logic. But the similarities only go so far, and it is important to note where the two come apart. This paper argues that even though worlds and times play similar roles in the model theories of modal and tense logic, there is no tense analogue of the possible-worlds analysis of modal operators. An important corollary of this result is that presentism cannot (...) be the tense analogue of actualism. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to draw attention to a conﬂict between two popular views about time: Arthur Prior’s proposal for treating tense on the model of modal logic, and the ‘Platonic’ thesis that some objects (God, forms, universals, or numbers) exist eternally.1 I will argue that anyone who accepts the former ought to reject the latter.
This paper aims to clarify the connection between the logic of temporal distinctions and the temporal features of propositions. Contra Prior, it argues that the adoption of tense operators does not commit one to the view that propositions can change their truth value over time.
role in scientific theories, and their relation to time. ;Chapter 1, "Why Apply Mathematics?" argues that scientific theories are not about the mathematics that is applied in them, and defends this thesis against the Quine-Putnam Indispensability Argument. ;Chapter 2, "Scientific Ontology," is a critical study of W. V. Quine's claim that metaphysics and mathematics are epistemologically on a par with natural science. It is argued that Quine's view relies on a unacceptable account of empirical confirmation. ;Chapter 3, "Prior and the (...) Platonist," demonstrates the incompatibility of two popular views about time: the "Platonist" thesis that some objects exist "outside" time, and A. N. Prior's proposal for treating tense on the model of modality. ;Chapter 4, "What has Eternity Ever Done for You?" argues time), and presents a defense of the rival view that they exist sempiternally. (shrink)
To define new property terms, we combine already familiar ones by means of certain logical operations. Given suitable constraints, these operations may presumably include the resources of first-order logic: truth-functional sentence connectives and quantification over objects. What is far less clear is whether we can also use modal operators for this purpose. This paper clarifies what is involved in this question, and argues in favor of modal property definitions.
Definition of the problem: Recent progress in the pharmacological sciences provides a first glimpse of the development of an individual, genotype-based drug therapy in order to improve the efficiency of drug utilization. Genotyping of genetic polymorphisms in genes involved in drug response promises to optimize drug therapy fundamentally by identifying patients for whom a pharmaceutical agent may be effective and safe or contraindicated because of expected adverse drug reactions. Arguments: The new pharmacogenomic treatment strategies raise complex bioethical issues, because genetic (...) screening for drug therapy may identify asymptomatic patients who are at risk for a particular adverse outcome. Thus, pharmacogenomics will affect the relationship between the treating physician and the patient which is traditionally based on privacy, confidentiality, beneficience and non-maleficience. Conclusion: In the article presented some ethical aspects of these new pharmacogenomic approaches concerning the physician-patient relationship are discussed. (shrink)
This paper presents a novel account of applied mathematics. It shows how we can distinguish the physical content from the mathematical form of a scientific theory even in cases where the mathematics applied is indispensable and cannot be eliminated by paraphrase.
Zusammenfassung. Gegenwärtige Fortschritte in den pharmakologischen Wissenschaften erlauben einen ersten Ausblick auf eine individuelle, genotyp-basierende Arzneimitteltherapie, durch die sich die Effektivität der Medikamentenbenutzung weiter verbessern ließe. Die genotypische Erfassung von genetischen Polymorphismen, die bei Medikamentenreaktionen beteiligt sind, verspricht die Arzneimitteltherapie grundlegend zu optimieren, wenn damit Patienten identifiziert werden, für die ein Medikament entweder nutzbringend und sicher angewandt oder aber aufgrund zu erwartender Nebenwirkungen nicht eingesetzt werden sollte. Die neuen pharmakogenomischen Behandlungsstrategien werfen komplexe ethische Fragestellungen auf, da durch ein genetisches Screening (...) für Arzneimittelzwecke asymptomatische Patienten mit erhöhtem Risiko für eine insgesamt schlechtere Prognose identifiziert werden könnten. Die Pharmakogenomik beeinflusst damit das Beziehungsverhältnis zwischen behandelnden Arzt und Patienten, das traditionell auf Diskretion, Vertraulichkeit und dem unbedingten Vorsatz, heilen und keinesfalls schaden zu wollen, beruht. Der vorliegende Aufsatz diskutiert einige ethische Aspekte im Bedeutungswandel der Arzt-Patienten-Beziehung, der durch diesen neuartigen pharmakogenomischen Behandlungsansatz ausgelöst wird. (shrink)