The Virtues of Thisness Presentism

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Presentists believe that only present things exist. But opponents insist this view has unacceptable implications: if only present things exist, we can’t express singular propositions about the past, since the obvious propositional constituents don’t exist, nor can we account for temporal passage, or the openness of the future. According to such opponents, and in spite of the apparent ‘common sense’ status of the view, presentism should be rejected on the basis of these unacceptable implications. In this paper, I present and defend a version of presentism (‘Thisness Presentism’) that avoids the unacceptable implications. The basic strategy I employ is familiar—I postulate presently existing entities to serve as surrogates (or ‘proxies’) for non-present entities—but some of the details of my proposal are more novel, and their application to these problems is certainly novel. One overarching thesis of this paper is that Thisness Presentism is preferable to other versions of presentism since it solves important problems facing standard iterations of the view. And I assume that this is a good positive reason in favour of the underlying thisness ontology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2867–2888
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number11
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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© The Author(s) 2016.

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