8 June: Daniel Nolan (Notre Dame) — “Time and Parsimony”
Sala Enzo Paci, Via Festa del Perdono 7, h. 16:00-18:00.
Abstract: Reflections on scientific method suggest that we should value parsimony in our theories, though how much parsimony should be valued, and why it is valuable, are both questions that have not been definitively answered. Parsimony has recently played a role in several arguments about the metaphysics of time: in arguments in favour of presentism, arguments about the size of spacetime, and arguments about the discreteness of spacetime. In each of these debates, parsimony about the number of objects of each kind, as well as the kinds postulated, seem to be playing a key role. As well as pointing out some common threads in considerations in each of these areas, I want to point out that parsimony seems to be needed to prop up another piece of philosophical orthodoxy about time. Those who think that continuous time is still an open theoretical option stand in need of an argument that times only have the structure of the continuum, rather than one of many options for richer metrical structures.