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Wednesday, May 13, 2020


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>>DATUM: if it is true that a was F, or that a F'ed, then it was true that a is F, or that a Fs.

No. The tense of any sentence within a ‘that’ clause is read as is. Thus “a is F”, uttered in the past, said (past tense) that a was F, not that a is F.

At least we are making (some progress) in defining what Presentism is.

>>P-Always: At every time t, only what is present at t, exists simpliciter.

My emphasis of ‘is’. Presumably a tenseless reading? But then P-Always is necessarily false, if we read ‘exists simpliciter’ non-tenselessly.

See also my mail about the different positions on existential/is statements. If we read your ‘exists’ in the Quinean way, then we have

>>P-Always: At every time t, only what is present at t, is present simpliciter.

If you object that the Quine reading is wrong, which I think you will, then you are assuming what you need to prove. I.e. the whole presentist/anti presentist debate turns on a disagreement about the meaning of the word ‘exist’.


Thinking a little deeper, however, (P-Always) seems contradictory: it implies that at each time there are no non-present times and that at each time there are non-present times.
As a thesis as to what exists in space and time does presentism say anything at all about the structure of space and time? Are points in space and moments in time existents in space and time? Can the presentist really be thought of as denying himself quantification over times? That would be be to deny himself the use of 'always' and 'sometime' which surely form part of the common understanding of both presentist and anti-presentist.

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