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A Defense of Presentism

In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 1. Oxford University Press (2004)

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  1. Duration Enough for Presentism.Robert E. Pezet - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (4):391-421.
    This paper considers a problem for dynamic presentism that has received little attention: its apparent inability to accommodate the duration of events. After outlining the problem, I defend presentism from it. This defence proceeds in two stages. First, I argue the objection rests on a faulty assumption: that duration is temporal extension. The paper challenges that assumption on several different ways of conceiving of temporal extension. This is the negative case and forms the bulk of the paper. Second, after diagnosing (...)
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  • Sideways Music.Ned Markosian - 2019 - Analysis (1):anz039.
    There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within the (...)
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  • Fine's McTaggart, Temporal Passage, and the A Versus B Debate.Natalja Deng - 2013 - Ratio 26 (1):19-34.
    I offer an interpretation and a partial defense of Kit Fine's ‘Argument from Passage’, which is situated within his reconstruction of McTaggart's paradox. Fine argues that existing A-theoretic approaches to passage are no more dynamic, i.e. capture passage no better, than the B-theory. I argue that this comparative claim is correct. Our intuitive picture of passage, which inclines us towards A-theories, suggests more than coherent A-theories can deliver. In Finean terms, the picture requires not only Realism about tensed facts, but (...)
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  • Exploring People’s Beliefs About the Experience of Time.Jack Shardlow, Ruth Lee, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, Patrick Burns & Alison S. Fernandes - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Philosophical debates about the metaphysics of time typically revolve around two contrasting views of time. On the A-theory, time is something that itself undergoes change, as captured by the idea of the passage of time; on the B-theory, all there is to time is events standing in before/after or simultaneity relations to each other, and these temporal relations are unchanging. Philosophers typically regard the A-theory as being supported by our experience of time, and they take it that the B-theory clashes (...)
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  • No-Futurism and Metaphysical Contingentism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (4):483-497.
    According to no-futurism, past and present entities are real, but future ones are not. This view faces a skeptical challenge (Bourne 2002, 2006, Braddon-Mitchell, 2004): if no-futurism is true, how do you know you are present? I shall propose a new skeptical argument based on the physical possibility of Gödelian worlds (1949). This argument shows that a no-futurist has to endorse a metaphysical contingentist reading of no-futurism, the view that no-futurism is contingently true. But then, the no-futurist has to face (...)
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  • The Hard Road to Presentism.Jamin Asay & Sam Baron - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (3):314-335.
    It is a common criticism of presentism – the view according to which only the present exists – that it errs against truthmaker theory. Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed by restricting truthmaker maximalism (the view that all truths have truthmakers), maintaining that propositions concerning the past are not made true by anything, but are true nonetheless. Support for this view is typically garnered from the case for negative existential propositions, which some philosophers contend are exceptions (...)
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  • The Endurance/Perdurance Controversy is No Storm in a Teacup.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (4):463-482.
    Several philosophers have maintained in recent years that the endurance/perdurance debate is merely verbal: these prima facie distinct theories of objects’ persistence are in fact metaphysically equivalent, they claim. The present paper challenges this view. Three proposed translation schemes are examined; all are shown to be faulty. In the process, constructive reasons for regarding the debate as a substantive one are provided. It is also suggested that the theories may have differing practical implications.
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  • Relativity and Three Four‐Dimensionalisms.Cody Gilmore, Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...)
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  • String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity and Eternalism.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10:17.
    Eternalism, the view that what we regard locally as being located in the past, the present and the future equally exists, is the best ontological account of temporal existence in line with special and general relativity. However, special and general relativity are not fundamental theories and several research programs aim at finding a more fundamental theory of quantum gravity weaving together all we know from relativistic physics and quantum physics. Interestingly, some of these approaches assert that time is not fundamental. (...)
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  • Dubious by Nature.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):97-116.
    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’, (...)
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  • Presentism, Atemporality, and Time’s Way.Brian Leftow - 2018 - Faith and Philosophy 35 (2):173-194.
    After defining presentism, I consider four arguments that presentism and divine atemporality are incompatible. I identify an assumption common to the four, ask what reason there is to consider it true, and argue against it.
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  • That's Outrageous.John Turri - 2013 - Theoria 79 (2):167-171.
    I show how non-presentists ought to respond to a popular objection originally due to Arthur Prior and lately updated by Dean Zimmerman. Prior and Zimmerman say that non-presentism cannot account for the fittingness of certain emotional responses to things past. But presentism gains no advantage here, because it is equally incapable of accounting for the fittingness of certain other emotional responses to things past, in particular moral outrage.
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  • On Time Chez Dummett.Jeremy Butterfield - unknown
    I discuss three connections between Dummett's writings about time and philosophical aspects of physics. The first connection arises from remarks of Dummett's about the different relations of observation to time and to space. The main point is uncontroversial and applies equally to classical and quantum physics. It concerns the fact that perceptual processing is so rapid, compared with the typical time-scale on which macroscopic objects change their observable properties, that it engenders the idea of a `common now', spread across space. (...)
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  • Eternalism, Counting Across Times and the Argument From Semantics.Barry Lee - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (6):563-591.
    In his 2004 paper ‘Tensed Quantifiers’, David Lewis presented an apparently powerful case for eternalism by arguing that we cannot account for the truth-conditions of sentences like ‘There have been forty-four presidents of the United States’ and ‘There will be five more presidents of the United states’ and maintain a non-revisionary attitude towards their truth-values, without committing to the existence of ‘past’ and ‘future’ things. Related arguments can be found in works by Ted Sider, and by Zoltan Gendler Szabó. We (...)
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  • A Panpsychist Interpretation of Anne Conway's Metaphysics.Andrew Fyffe - 2020 - Aporia 20:1-9.
    This paper proposes a panpsychist interpretation of Anne Conway’s (1631-1679) metaphysics, as elucidated in 'The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy.' Contemporary versions of panpsychism attempt to explain how consciousness is realised in the natural world. They posit that matter is intrinsically experiential, such that when it is arranged into the form of a human brain, it gives rise to human consciousness. Similarly, Conway argues that substance is constituted by both Body and Spirit. The former serves as an (...)
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  • From Experience to Metaphysics: On Experience‐Based Intuitions and Their Role in Metaphysics.Jiri Benovsky - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):684-697.
    Metaphysical theories are often counter-intuitive. But they also often are strongly supported and motivated by intuitions. One way or another, the link between intuitions and metaphysics is a strong and important one, and there is hardly any metaphysical discussion where intuitions do not play a crucial role. In this article, I will be interested in a particular kind of such intuitions, namely those that come, at least partly, from experience. There seems to be a route from experience to metaphysics, and (...)
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  • Why Special Relativity is a Problem for the A-Theory.Jason Turner - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279):385-406.
    Neither special nor general relativity make any use of a notion of absolute simultaneity. Since A-Theories about time do make use of such a notion, it is natural to suspect that relativity and A-Theory are inconsistent. Many authors have argued that they are in fact not inconsistent, and I agree with that diagnosis here. But that doesn’t mean, as these authors seem to think, that A-Theory and relativity are happy bedfellows. I argue that relativity gives us good reason to reject (...)
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  • Objects in Time: Studies of Persistence in B-Time.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2009 - Dissertation, Lund University
    This thesis is about the conceptualization of persistence of physical, middle-sized objects within the theoretical framework of the revisionary ‘B-theory’ of time. According to the B-theory, time does not flow, but is an extended and inherently directed fourth dimension along which the history of the universe is ‘laid out’ once and for all. It is a widespread view among philosophers that if we accept the B-theory, the commonsensical ‘endurance theory’ of persistence will have to be rejected. The endurance theory says (...)
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  • Temporal Experience, Temporal Passage and the Cognitive Sciences.Samuel Baron, John Cusbert, Matt Farr, Maria Kon & Kristie Miller - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (8):560-571.
    Cognitive science has recently made some startling discoveries about temporal experience, and these discoveries have been drafted into philosophical service. We survey recent appeals to cognitive science in the philosophical debate over whether time objectively passes. Since this research is currently in its infancy, we identify some directions for future research.
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  • The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  • Structure and Transition: Towards an Accretivist Theory of Time.David Preston Taylor - unknown
    This dissertation is a defense of a particular theory of the metaphysics of time which I call "accretivism", but which is popularly known in a form usually called the "Growing Block Theory". The goal of a metaphysics of time is to incorporate the various aspects of our temporal experience into a single, comprehensive whole. To this end I delineate five aspects of our ordinary experience of time: 1) The Tensed Aspect, in virtue of which objects are presented to us as (...)
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  • Empiricism, Time-Awareness, and Hume's Manners of Disposition.Adrian Bardon - 2007 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 5 (1):47-63.
    The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
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  • Tenseless/Non-Modal Truthmakers for Tensed/Modal Truths.Heather Dyke - 2007 - Logique Et Analyse 199:269-287.
    There is a common approach to metaphysical disputes, which takes language as its starting point, and leads to a view about the range of acceptable metaphysical positions in any such dispute. I argue that this approach rests on accepting what I call the Strong Linguistic Thesis (SLT). In the metaphysical debate about time I argue that the new B-theory has rejected SLT, and for good reasons. The metaphysical debate about modality parallels the early metaphysical debate about time. I argue that (...)
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  • Presentism Meets Black Holes.Gustavo E. Romero & Daniela Pérez - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):293-308.
    Presentism is, roughly, the metaphysical doctrine that maintains that whatever exists, exists in the present. The compatibility of presentism with the theories of special and general relativity was much debated in recent years. It has been argued that at least some versions of presentism are consistent with time-orientable models of general relativity. In this paper we confront the thesis of presentism with relativistic physics, in the strong gravitational limit where black holes are formed. We conclude that the presentist position is (...)
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  • A Bump on the Road to Presentism.Sam Baron - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4):345-355.
    Presentism faces a familiar objection from truthmaker theory. How can propositions about the past be made true if past entities do not exist? In answering this question, there are, broadly, two roads open to the presentist. The easy road to presentism proceeds by capitulating to the demands imposed by truthmaker theory and finding truthmakers for claims about the past. This road typically involves the invocation of controversial metaphysical posits that must then be defended. The hard road to presentism resists the (...)
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  • What is a Singular Proposition?Ephraim N. Glick - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1027-1067.
    An account of the distinction between singular and general propositions should reflect the core ideas that have motivated the distinction. Those core ideas can be appreciated independently of many commitments regarding the metaphysics of propositions, but theorists with differing views on the latter have given quite different explanations of what it is for a proposition to be singular or general. Many of those explanations turn out not to reflect the core ideas adequately after all, either by misclassifying certain propositions or (...)
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  • Relativity, the Open Future, and the Passage of Time.Oliver Pooley - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):321-363.
    Is the objective passage of time compatible with relativistic physics? There are two easy routes to an affirmative answer: (1) provide a deflationary analysis of passage compatible with the block universe, or (2) argue that a privileged global present is compatible with relativity. (1) does not take passage seriously. (2) does not take relativity seriously. This paper is concerned with the viability of views that seek to take both passage and relativity seriously. The investigation proceeds by considering how traditional A-theoretic (...)
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  • Are You Special? A Review of Caspar Hare's *On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects*. [REVIEW]Ned Markosian - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
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  • Time, Objects, and Identity.Ian Gibson - unknown
    This is a copy of my DPhil thesis, the abstract for which is as follows: The first third of this thesis argues for a B-theoretic conception of time according to which all times exist equally and the present is in no way privileged. I distinguish "ontological" A-theories from "non-ontological" ones, arguing that the latter are experientially unmotivated and barely coherent. With regard to the former, I focus mainly on presentism. After some remarks on how to formulate this (and eternalism) non-trivially, (...)
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  • Eliminativism and the Challenge From Folk Belief.Daniel Z. Korman - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):242-264.
    Virtually everyone agrees that, even after having presented the arguments for their positions, proponents of revisionary philosophical theories are required to provide some sort of account of the conflict between their theories and what the folk believe. I examine various strategies for answering the challenge from folk belief. The examination proceeds as a case study, whose focus is eliminativism about ordinary material objects. I critically assess eliminativist attempts to explain folk belief by appeal to paraphrase, experience, and intuition.
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  • Contre les défenses du présentisme par le sens commun.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Igitur 9 (1):1-24.
    According to presentism, only the present exists. The view is in a bad dialectical situation since it has to face several objections based on physics and a priori arguments. The view remains nonetheless popular because it is, allegedly, more intuitive than alternative views, namely eternalism (past, present and future entities exist) and no-futurism (only past and present entities exist). In the essay, I shall not discuss whether intuitivity is an accurate criterion for ontological enquiry. I will rather argue that any (...)
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  • Presentism and Temporal Experience.Akiko Frischhut - 2017 - In Ian B. Phillips (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience. Routledge.
    Abstract- Presentism And Temporal Experience Intuitively, we all believe that we experience change and the passage of time. Presentism prides itself as the most intuitive theory of time. However, a closer look at how we would experience temporality if presentism was true reveals that this is far from obvious. For if presentism was really so intuitive, then it would do justice to these intuitions. In the course of this article I examine how presentism fares when combined with various leading theories (...)
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  • Thisnesses, Propositions, and Truth.David Ingram - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (3):442-463.
    Presentists, who believe that only present objects exist, should accept a thisness ontology, since it can do considerable work in defence of presentism. In this paper, I propose a version of presentism that involves thisnesses of past and present entities and I argue this view solves important problems facing standard versions of presentism.
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  • The Real Price of the Dead Past: A Reply to Forrest and to Braddon-Mitchell.Chris Heathwood - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):249–251.
    Non-presentist A-theories of time (such as the growing block theory and the moving spotlight theory) seem unacceptable because they invite skepticism about whether one exists in the present. To avoid this absurd implication, Peter Forrest appeals to the "Past is Dead hypothesis," according to which only beings in the objective present are conscious. We know we're present because we know we're conscious, and only present beings can be conscious. I argue that the dead past hypothesis undercuts the main reason for (...)
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  • Pure or Compound Dualism? Considering Afresh the Prospects of Pure Substance Dualism.Joshua Ryan Farris - 2013 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 3 (1):151-160.
    Substance dualism has received much attention from philosophers and theologians in contemporary literature. Whilst it may have been fashionable in the recent past to dismiss substance dualism as an unviable and academically absurd position to hold, this is no longer the case. My contention is not so much the merits of substance dualism in general, but a more specified variation of substance dualism. My specific contribution to the literature in this article is that I argue for the viability of pure (...)
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  • Tensed Truthmaker Theory.Sam Baron - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (5):923-944.
    Presentism faces a serious challenge from truthmaker theory. Standard solutions to the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed in one of two ways. Easy road presentists invoke new entities to satisfy the requirements of truthmaker theory. Hard road presentists, by contrast, flatly refuse to give in to truthmaker demands. Recently, a third way has been proposed. This response seeks to address the truthmaking problem by tensing our truthmaker principles. These views, though intuitive, are under-developed. In this paper, I get serious about (...)
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  • THE Way OF THE MOdal REalisT: dialETHEisM aNd BUddHisT PHilOsOPHy.Takashi Yagisawa - 2013 - Philosophy East and West 63 (3):359-369.
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  • Truths About Socrates : Presentism and the Grounding Problem.Takeshi Sakon - 2013 - Journal of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 41 (1):37-61.
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  • Abstract Entities in a Presentist World.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (2):177-193.
    How can a metaphysics of abstract entities be built upon a metaphysics of time? In this paper, I address the question of how to accommodate abstract entities in a presentist world. I consider both the traditional metaontological approach of unrestricted fundamental quantification and then ontological pluralism. I argue that under the former we need to impose two constraints in the characterization of presentism in order to avoid undesired commitments to abstract entities: we have to characterize presentism as a thesis only (...)
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  • The Minimal A-Theory.Meghan Sullivan - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):149-174.
    Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend temporaryism: the principle that there are temporary (...)
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  • Existence as a Real Property.Francesco Berto - 2012 - Synthèse Library, Springer.
    This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (...)
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  • The Triviality Argument Against Presentism.Daniel Deasy - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3369-3388.
    Presentism is typically characterised as the thesis that everything is present, and therefore there are no dinosaurs or Martian presidential inaugurations. Putting aside the vexed question of exactly what it is to be present in this context, this thesis seems quite straightforward. However, a number of authors—such as Merricks, Lombard, Meyer, Tallant and Sakon —have argued that Presentism so characterised is either trivially true or false even by Presentist lights. This is the so-called Triviality Argument against Presentism. In this paper (...)
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  • The Rietdijk-Putnam Argument.Elton Martins Marques - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):391-409.
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  • The Soul-Concept: Meaningfully Disregard or Meaningfully Embrace.Joshua Ryan Farris - 2012 - Annales Philosophici 5:59-68.
    The notion of the soul has come under attack in contemporary philosophical, scientific, and theological literature. In this essay, the question is raised as to whether or not the soul has meaning and ought to be affirmed as a real metaphysical entity. I affirm that the soul is rooted in a common-sense framework reaching back through history, and is not only intuitive but is still commonly accepted. I put forth three arguments in favor of the soul-concept and argue that it (...)
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  • Time for Change.Timothy A. Johnson - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):497-513.
    Metaphysical theories of change incorporate substantive commitments to theories of persistence. The two most prominent classes of such theories are endurantism and perdurantism. Defenders of endurance-style accounts of change, such as Klein, Hinchliff, and Oderberg, do so through appeal to a priori intuitions about change. We argue that this methodology is understandable but mistaken—an adequate metaphysics of change must accommodate all experiences of change, not merely intuitions about a limited variety of cases. Once we examine additional experiences of change, particularly (...)
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  • Relativity as Support for Presentism: A Modest Evidential Argument.Benjamin B. Nasmith - unknown
    Presentism is roughly the view that only the present exists. This view requires an absolute simultaneity relation. The special theory of relativity, however, is highly successful and does not account for absolute simultaneity. This is widely regarded as an evidential threat to presentism. In what follows, I propose a modest evidential argument in support of presentism on the basis of the physical evidence itself. A weak relativity postulate is shown to follow from a weak light-speed postulate. The weak light-speed postulate, (...)
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  • Tensed Relations.Berit Brogaard - 2006 - Analysis 66 (3):194-202.
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  • Russellians Can Solve the Problem of Empty Names with Nonsingular Propositions.Thomas Hodgson - 2018 - Synthese:1-23.
    Views that treat the contents of sentences as structured, Russellian propositions face a problem with empty names. It seems that those sorts of things cannot be the contents of sentences containing such names. I motivate and defend a solution to the problem according to which a sentence may have a singular proposition as its content at one time, and a nonsingular one at another. When the name is empty the content is a nonsingular Russellian structured proposition; when the name is (...)
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  • On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects.Ned Markosian - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):360-366.
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  • Presentism, Eternalism, and the Triviality Problem.Jerzy Gołosz - 2013 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 22 (1):45-61.
    It is often claimed that the debate between presentism and eternalism is merely verbal, because when we use tensed, detensed or tenseless notions of existence, there is no difference in the accepted metaphysical statements between the adherents of both views. On the contrary, it is shown in this paper that when we express their positions making use, in accordance with intentions of the presentists and the eternalists, of the tensed notion of existence (in the case of the presentists) and the (...)
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