Real Metaphysics: Essays in Honour of D.H. Mellor

By Hallvard Lillehammer; Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra | Go to book overview

or the view that only the present exists, as a way to get around the inconsistent attribution of past, present and future tense to all times on which McTaggart's paradox depends. Oaklander's chapter further defends the tenseless theory against Craig's version of presentism, which attempts to give an ontological foundation for irreducibly past- and future-tensed statements without falling prey to McTaggart's paradox. According to Oaklander, Craig fails in his attempt to extend the conceptual irreducibility of tense to the level of ontology. Craig needs both to have presently existing truthmakers for past- and futuretensed statements and to avoid the countenance of past and future existences, on pains of contradiction. He therefore claims that past- and future-tensed facts exist at present but are not what ultimately makes these statements true. Oaklander argues that Craig's attempt to show that past- and future-tensed facts are not ultimate can succeed only by reintroducing a tenseless ontology, thereby undermining presentism and reintroducing McTaggart's paradox. Mellor accepts Oaklander's attack on Craig's presentism, and uses his reply to return to Prior's presentist analysis of time. According to Mellor, Prior's failure to complement the semantics of time with an ontology thereof makes presentism both vacuous and question begging.


References
Armstrong, D. M. (1997) A World of States of Affairs, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Jackson, F. (1986) 'What Mary didn't know', Journal of Philosophy 83: 291-5.
Mellor, D. H. (1971) The Matter of Chance, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
--(1974) 'In defense of dispositions', Philosophical Review 83: 157-81.
--(1981) Real Time, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
--(1982) 'Counting corners correctly', Analysis 42: 96-7.
--(1991) Matters of Metaphysics, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
--(1995) The Facts of Causation, London: Routledge.
--(1998) Real Time II, London: Routledge.
Prior, E. (1982) 'The dispositional/categorical distinction', Analysis 42: 93-6.
Rodriguez-Pereyra, G. (2000) 'What is the problem of universals?', Mind 109: 255-73.

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