Defining Original Presentism

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):29-60 (2016)
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Abstract

It is surprisingly hard to define presentism. Traditional definitions of the view, in terms of tensed existence statements, have turned out not to to be capable of convincingly distinguishing presentism from eternalism. Picking up on a recent proposal by Tallant, I suggest that we need to locate the break between eternalism and presentism on a much more fundamental level. The problem is that presentists have tried to express their view within a framework that is inherently eternalist. I call that framework the Fregean nexus, as it is defined by Frege’s atemporal understanding of predication. In particular, I show that the tense-logical understanding of tense which is treated as common ground in the debate rests on this very same Fregean nexus, and is thus inadequate for a proper definition of presentism. I contrast the Fregean nexus with what I call the original temporal nexus, which is based on an alternative, inherently temporal form of predication. Finally, I propose to define presentism in terms of the original temporal nexus, yielding original presentism. According to original presentism, temporal propositions are distinguished from atemporal ones not by aspects of their content, as they are on views based on the Fregean nexus, but by their form—in particular, by their form of predication.

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Author's Profile

Jesse M. Mulder
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

How to make do with events.Alec Hinshelwood - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):245-258.
Philosophy of time: A slightly opinionated introduction.Florian Fischer - 2016 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):3-28.

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References found in this work

Funktion und Begriff.Gottlob Frege - 1891 - Jena: Hermann Pohle.
Presentism and properties.John Bigelow - 1996 - Philosophical Perspectives 10:35-52.
Tense and reality.Kit Fine - 2005 - In Modality and Tense. Oxford University Press. pp. 261--320.
Tensing the copula.David K. Lewis - 2002 - Mind 111 (441):1-14.

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