2 December: Francesco Orilia (Macerata) — “A Moderately Presentist Response to Some Recent Anti-Presentist Objections”
Sala Enzo Paci, Via Festa del Perdono 7, h. 15:00-17:00.
Abstract: Recently, some new objections against presentism have been mounted. Michael Tooley (2012) has urged that presentists should acknowledge true dated tenseless propositions such as the one asserting that Socrates is (tenselessly) a philosopher at 400 BCE, and claimed that, once they do that, they are at a loss in interpreting them. Lisa Leininger (2015) has argued that presentism cannot account for change and temporal passage. David Sanson & Ben Caplan (2010) have contended that the usual presentist attempts to meet the truthmaker problem for true past-tensed propositions fail to meet an important explanatory constraint. In the last few years, I have elaborated an alternative version of presentism. It is like typical presentism in holding fast to the idea that all events are present, but it is moderate, as I call it, in admitting past and future times and, in some sense, past and, possibly, future objects. I have argued in previous works that moderate presentism has all the advantages of typical presentism, and further advantages in tackling the standard objections to presentism. Here I wish to evaluate these new objections to see whether they posit really serious challenges and, to the extent that they do, whether moderate presentism is, when compared to typical presentism, in a better position to meet them. In doing this, I also wish to further clarify why moderate presentism is best seen as a version of presentism rather than, as some have suggested, eternalism. Some key issues that will come up in this discussion are: the distinction between tensed and tenseless language and its relevance in accounting for the substantiality of the debate in temporal ontology; the nature of times; the importance of sentience, sorrow and joy in particular, in fully grasping the difference between presentism and other temporal ontologies, and the role that this has in an argument for the moral superiority of presentism that I have developed in forthcoming works.