Finding satisfaction in presentism

Synthese 197 (10):4519-4531 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper argues for a pragmatic motivation for believing Presentism—the thesis that everything is present. After outlining a pragmatic source of justification for beliefs, in terms of their action-guiding aims, a pragmatic motivation for believing presentism is detailed and proffered. More specifically, the paper outlines two kinds of bases for our desires: a negative and a positive basis. The former concerns some dissatisfaction with a certain aspect of our present state, whilst the latter focuses instead on our potential future gratification or contentment. An account of desire satisfaction needs to, in some sense, “answers” to either of these kinds of bases. However, it is argued that only presentism can support an adequate conception of desire satisfaction. And although non-presentists can support a form of desire prevention, this severely lessens the effectiveness of beliefs to fulfil their aims. Accordingly, presentism is best able to support beliefs in achieving their action-guiding aims. It is claimed that this provides some pragmatic justification for believing presentism.

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References found in this work

Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1969 - Mineola, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
Scientific Thought.C. D. Broad - 1923 - Paterson, N.J.,: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
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The Moving Spotlight: An Essay on Time and Ontology.Ross P. Cameron - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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