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

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

13

Presentism

A critique

L. Nathan Oaklander

The problems of time and change are inextricably connected for change involves time and, Shoemaker (1969) notwithstanding, time involves change, or so McTaggart (1934; 1968) has argued. That they are related is not in doubt; how they are related is. For McTaggart they are related in such a way that if there is to be time and change, then there must be an A-series, and temporal becoming, but what is the A-series? And what is temporal becoming? These are not easy questions to answer, because there are many different versions of A-time and temporal becoming, and I do not intend to discuss them all. Rather, my aim will be to focus on one version of A-time, the presentist version, and argue that, contrary to its recent proponents, it does succumb to McTaggart's paradox. 1 Even within the limited scope of this chapter, the task of refuting presentism is complicated by there being several different versions of it. One would not think that this is so because all presentists maintain that only the present exists, whereas the past and the future do not exist. Nevertheless, there are different presentist versions of the A-theory, and, although I believe that in one way or another they are all susceptible to McTaggart's paradox, there is only one version that I shall endeavour to refute, namely that propounded by William Lane Craig in his recent trilogy on time: The Tensed Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (2000a), The Tenseless Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (2000b) and Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity (2001).

I chose Craig's defence of presentism for two reasons. First, A-theorists who follow Prior in adopting a presentist 'metaphysic' are often criticized for lacking an ontology (see, for example, Oaklander 1984:90-2; Smith 1993:158-69; 1994a; 1999:248-9; 2003; Tooley 1997:165-70, 232-8). To say that the tenses do not refer to B-relations and do not ascribe A-properties is one thing, to say what then are the ontological correlates of the tenses is quite another. It is the latter task that Prior and his followers are commonly accused of shirking. Craig is an exception. He is sensitive to the 'lack of ontology' criticism of Prior-based theories (see Craig 2000a: 192-4), and attempts to 'found' or provide an ontological ground for both B-relations and A-determinations in the A-series, 'tensed facts' and temporal becoming. For that reason, he provides his readers with a metaphysical theory to be evaluated.

-196-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Real Metaphysics: Essays in Honour of D.H. Mellor
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • References 11
  • 1 - Truthmakers for Modal Truths 12
  • 2 - Things Qua Truthmakers 25
  • Postscript to 'things Qua Truthmakers': Negative Existentials 39
  • References 42
  • 3 - Deflationism 43
  • 4 - Truth and the Theory of Communication 54
  • 5 - Subjective Facts 68
  • 6 - From H2o to Water 84
  • 7 - Epiphenomenalism and Causal Asymmetry 98
  • References 119
  • 8 - Is Causation a Genuine Relation? 120
  • 9 - Dispositions and Conditionals 137
  • Notes 153
  • 10 - Structural Properties 154
  • 11 - Laws, Explanations and the Reduction of Possibilities 169
  • References 183
  • 12 - What is Wrong with the Relational Theory of Change? 184
  • 13 - Presentism 196
  • 14 - Real Metaphysics 212
  • References 237
  • A Bibliography 239
  • Index 246
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 248

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.