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Tuesday, April 02, 2013


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Hello Bill,

Convincing arguments against the ersatzisms. What I don't understand is why the actualist or presentist need find himself in such a tight corner that he turns to the desperate measure of conflating concrete and abstract. For the actualist can object to your (2), claiming it has the wrong mood and should be expressed as

The merely possible might not be nothing, ie, might be something.
Likewise, the presentist can object that (2t) is wrongly tensed. It should say
The merely past was not nothing.
Both tetrads are then consistent.

Hi David,

I'm glad to see there's still some interest in this topic.

>>The merely possible might not be nothing, ie, might be something.<<

That is not strong enough. 'Possibly, I am asleep now.' That sentence is actually true, not merely possibly true.

>>The merely past was not nothing.<<

That's true, but it is not strong enough. True, the Profumo scandal (1963) was not nothing. But it also is not nothing. It has some sort of reality even though it is wholly past. Apparently, you don't share this intuition, and I'm wondering why not.

Hello Bill,

I'm an anomalous trichromat. I think of normal colour vision as a rather finer grained version of my own, with, as it were, more 'places'. I understand what category of experience is denied me. My difficulty with anti-presentism is that I can't locate a 'place' for it in my intuitive geography. I appear to be denying something without any appreciation of what it is that I'm denying.

I agree that 'Possibly, I am asleep now' is actually true, not merely possibly true, but I'm afraid I can't connect this to what I'm saying about using the subjunctive.

I'm not asleep now though I might be. Hence my being asleep now must be numbered among the merely possible. I would render this as

my being asleep is not but might be,
a true conjunction of the indicative and subjunctive. I'm at a loss to see how this can be made stronger without falling into the falsehood of
my being asleep is.
So again I seem to lack the 'place' where you are standing.


I am not asleep now & possibly, I am asleep now.

What would you say is the truth-maker of the second conjunct?

The lack of anything that necessitates my being awake now.

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