« Good Societies and Good Lives: On State-Run Lotteries | Main | 'Clearly' »

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Your arguments start with these considerations:

One can refer to Scollay Square, therefore one is referring to something.

There are true statements about Scollay Square, therefore these statements are about something.

People have veridical memories of Scollay Square, therefore they have memories about something.

There is ongoing historical research on Scollay Square, therefore the research is on something.

They are all one. You start with a subject and an verb phrase which takes a grammatical object. E.g. "People [subject] have veridical memories of [verb phrase] Scollay Square [grammatical object]"

I think all these considerations are true.

Where are they leading?

A singularly unhelpful comment. Stop being coy and tell me whether you accept the YES answer, the NO answer, or the 'it's a pseudo-problem' answer.

Clearly I accept the YES answer. That is to say, there is (now) no such thing as Scollay square. I am trying to understand the logic for your NO answer. Is it because you feel a tension between

(A) There is no such thing as Scollay square.

and

(B) Bill remembers Scollay square.

?

You give another argument on the same lines.

(*) One can learn more and more about Scollay Square, therefore there is (in the present) such a thing as Scollay Square.

But why do you think the consequent (which is false) follows from the antecedent (which is true)?

>>Clearly I accept the YES answer. That is to say, there is (now) no such thing as Scollay square<<

You are not understanding the problem. Of course, there is NOW no such thing as Scollay Square. You are simply reverting to one of the data of the problem. Tenseless theorists and tensed theorists agree that SS does not exist now. We all agree that it did exist and no one says that it still exists. The question is whether the existence of SS is identical to its being temporally present.

If you say that it is, then SS now has no reality whatsoever. But that is not obvious, and in any case it does not follow from the datum. This is a non sequitur:

1. SS does not now exist

therefore

2. SS now has no reality whatsoever.


It follows only if you add the premise that to exist = to be present. But that is precisely the issue in dispute. So I say you haven't grasped the problem.

Morning Bill,

Yes, count me as an existence presentist. I have never understood the formulations involving 'tenseless existence'. I think of 'existing' and 'being present' as co-extensive terms, just as 'triangular' and 'trilateral'. I also think your formulation, that (every element of) the past is nothing, is admirably clear and distinguishes our positions. I say there can be references to Scollay Square, truths about it, memories of it, research into it, etc, despite its being nothing. Or rather, its being rubble and dust, that is, being nothing that stands out (ex+sistere).

>>It follows only if you add the premise that to exist = to be present.
It still doesn’t follow because your premiss (2) has the term ‘reality’. Part of the problem of understanding your problem is your profusion of terms you use, and the resulting orphanage of middle terms.

But I think you are questioning the consequence

There is no such thing as SS at present, therefore there is no such thing as SS
I.e. you believe that ‘There is no such thing as SS at present’ is consistent with ‘There is such a thing as SS [in the past]’. I disagree, but could our difference be linguistic only? When you say e.g. ‘There is such a thing as SS in the past’ you mean what I mean in Brit English in saying ‘There was such a thing as SS’? I suspect you don’t mean that, but then the onus is on you to say exactly what you do mean, in words that I understand.

I am tempted to say “If you stick to ordinary language you will avoid entangling yourself in pseudo-problems”, but any language will do, so long as we agree on the meaning of the terms.

Hi David,

>>Yes, count me as an existence presentist. I have never understood the formulations involving 'tenseless existence'. I think of 'existing' and 'being present' as co-extensive terms, just as 'triangular' and 'trilateral'. <<

Well, we agree that 'triangular' and 'trilateral' are coextensive. I would add that they are necessarily coextensive. But it doesn't follow that triangularity and trilaterality are the same same property. So if 'existing' and 'being present' are coextensive terms, it doesn't follow that existence is the same 'property' as temporal presentness. What do you mean by 'existence presentist'?

I am still puzzling about the connection between your

(1) X ceases to be temporally present by becoming wholly past.

and

(2) X ceases to exist.

I think I understand (2). It means that there was once such a thing as X, but there is no longer such a thing as X.

But what does (1) mean? Does it mean what (2) means? In that case, (2) indeed follows from (1).

But you can't have intended that. So what do you mean by (1)?

Just what you say at (YES) above, Bill. See also here.

Can I ask, If, under the (NO) view, Scollay Square has not ceased to exist, then what if anything has done so?

A1. There are no modes of existence. In formal mode, 'exist(s)' is univocal in sense across all contexts. So we cannot say that what ceases to be present exists, but in the mode of pastness.

I confess: I was surprised to hear “There is only one way to be!” on your lips, Bill. I could have sworn you argued for multiple modes of Being (Sein) in A Paradigm Theory of Existence, but, of course, you're a skeptic, and few of these arguments actually reflect your true position.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 10/2008

Categories

Categories

September 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      
Blog powered by Typepad