Oxford Studies in Metaphysics - Vol. 1

By Dean W. Zimmerman | Go to book overview

Presentism, Triviality, and the
Varieties of Tensism

Peter Ludlow


INTRODUCTION

Following Thomas Crisp, let’s consider the following stock argument against presentism. Presentists want to say that only present things exist. Question: is the predicate ‘exists’ tensed or not? If ‘exists’ is tensed, then this comes to the claim that only present things presently exist (and who would argue with that?). Alternatively, the presentist might reformulate the claim as “everything that did exist, exists, or will exist presently exists”. But prima facie this seems absurd, since, for example, the Roman Empire existed but does not presently exist.

Crisp claims that he can defuse this argument by showing that it is unsound. Unfortunately, as we will see, the solution offered by Crisp does not work for those who subscribe to a view that I will call Very Serious Tensism, and I will argue that a number of his additional claims unravel once we give up the tenets of Very Serious Tensism. Ultimately, however, I think that a workable solution to the problem may be available if one gives up Very Serious Tensism and exercises proper caution.

Going into a little more detail, Crisp formalizes the anti-presentism argument as follows.

First, there are three possible versions of presentism:

(Pra) Only present things exist now (i.e. presently exist)
(Prb) Only present things existed, exist, or will exist
(Prc) Only present things (tenselessly) exist

I am indebted to Thomas Crisp for discussion, and to Ted Sider and Dean Zimmerman for
heroic efforts at making sense of earlier incarnations of this paper and for providing a
number of helpful suggestions and comments. Thanks also are due to Jason Stanley, who
read Ted and Dean’s e-mail missives over my shoulder and offered lots of advice, some of
which I paid attention to, understood, and incorporated.

-21-

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
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 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 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.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Oxford Studies in Metaphysics - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

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
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 321

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 8, MLA 7, 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." (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.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    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.