In the philosophy of time, presentism is the belief that only the present exists and the future and the past are unreal. Past and future “entities” are to be construed as logical constructions or fictions.
i should be clear that i was not even trying to write in terms of ‘presentism’ here; i was just responding to kkwan’s previous statement, in and of itself. (which may have put me out of context, of course.)
isaac - 02 May 2011 01:00 AM
whether the world is governed by perfect causality or not, we are proximal agents (along with others, such as the weather) that determine the shape of the future. Our actions shape, influence, affect the future.
but they don’t change it.
in a deterministic world they can’t change it.
in a non-deterministic world there is nothing to change.
subjective futures, of course, can be changed. Your apparent fate was one thing yesterday, but may be another today. That’s why determinism is not fatalism.
Past and future “entities” are to be construed as ... fictions.
ok, this gets thorny.
I constue frodo baggins as a fiction, but the events in Tolkien’s life still affected how that fiction developed, no?
The events brought it about that one fictional story got told rather than another fictional story. But they never, nor could they have, changed Frodo because Frodo was never real. He was ever only imaginary. What they changed were Tolkein’s ideas about Frodo.
And to tell even this short story about Tolkein I’ve already had to make reference to the past. (= Tolkein told one story at one time in the past and another story at another time in the past). Those claims are only true if the past really exists, and if past “entities” really exist. But the presentist denies all that. So the presentist can’t even make sense of the banal change one finds in fiction.
I didn’t say they ‘changed’ frodo, i said they ‘affected how [he] developed’. It seems like a big difference to me—and not just one of degree, but of basic concept. I hope we’re both on the same page there.
As for presentism not being able to make sense of much; I think we’re both saying that, right?
The events brought it about… What they changed were Tolkein’s ideas about Frodo.
oh: i also wouldn’t necessarily say that they did change his ideas. Those events which happened before he invented frodo formed the foundation which helped determine what frodo would become. You could say there was no frodo at that time to change, or you could say that the Form of frodo was already cosmically set. Either way, frodo’s nature was influenced, caused, affected, etc. by many factors—but none of them (or at least none which occured before frodo was invented) could be said to have “changed” him.
If I read this correctly, you say that man can influence the future by NOT applying force or command? Is that not validating prayer?
aw, c’mon, W—it applies just as well to asking a flesh and blood person for something.
I would call verbally asking for something applying force or command (need). By presenting the other with a choice to help or not to help would influence the other person in his considerations of how he can help, if at all.
However, I doubt that, if I sat on a park bench, silently wishing for someone to offer me a thousand dollars, this would come to pass.
This is a silly discussion as are all the offshoots of the Determinism/Free Will argument. Although the future does not exist yet, it will be a consequence of all of the present events as they are the consequence of all prior events. As such, suggesting that if you do something different it will change the future is irrational. It is a subjunctive statement, not a conditional one. That is, contrary to fact. No matter what you “decide” to do, it was allready determined by all of the prior events that have occurred. As such, you cannot do something different.
This is a silly discussion as are all the offshoots of the Determinism/Free Will argument.
Of course this is a offshoot of the Determinism/Free Will argument. kkwan tries to get it his way. But does that make the the Determinism/Free Will argument also silly? I just want to notice that having a clear position does not mean it is a correct position…
As succinct as possible, but not less than needed.