5 of 8
5
Eternalism and Presentism (Merged)
Posted: 05 May 2011 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  542
Joined  2007-09-29
dougsmith - 04 May 2011 04:02 AM

[1] To repeat, under presentism the future is exactly the same as the past: [2] [i.e.] neither exist. [3] All reference to past and future are . . . just as fictional as reference to Middle Earth . . . .Presentism makes no distinction between future and past in that regard.

 

Okay. first off, this thread seems a little far from proving or disproving God’s existence, but I’m game for now.

The past need not be a fiction, nor the future, in a (decent) presentist theory. Here’s a typical way to stop this claim that presentism makes past and future *mere* fictions: The past is present as necessary conditions (in fact it’s passed into a proverb: the past is necessary); the future is present as capable potentialities. Augustine is the first philosopher in print to say something like this. Past, present and future are to him different ‘modes’, with the present the primary mode, ontologically.

It *seems* a little bizarre to claim that presentism(s) make the past a fiction *exactly like* Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Even if the past has, uh, passed away, its effects are still with us. Fictions don’t leave behind such traces without human help. (Say, a Middle Earth theme park.)  And for the future, even if we reject potentialities as absurd (many modern philosophers do - absurdly), that doesn’t mean ‘the future’ is fictional, it’s utterly nonexistent. Middle Earth isn’t utterly nonexistent; it exists in the minds of the author and his readers, and just like real things there are (a limited number of) facts about it.

So help me sort out what you’re really saying here.

And to press the point, presentism makes a hash of Einsteinian physics, where there is no such thing as a real present outside of some reference frame or other, and the universe contains countless different reference frames. There really is no way to consistently frame a presentism that spans the universe for that reason.

With respect, I’ve discovered this to be false, but it will take a while and some re-reading to prove that. Try a really good book by Milic Capek, The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics. So if something’s wrong with presentism, I don’t think it’s this either. If you’re interested in pursuing this more, I’ll gladly do a little restudying.

What presentism does is to take one slice through one spatiotemporal reference frame (why this one and not that one?) and claim that the temporal dimension is zero while the spatial dimension is three. That’s completely arbitrary.

First, there’s nothing *arbitrary* about it; time is pretty different from space. And at the risk of being funnier than true,  is it ‘arbitrary’ to give space three dimensions but time only one? Wouldn’t it be nicely symmetric to turn time into three-D too?) I don’t observe past or future events anything like i can view Paris in the spring; so it’s not arbitrary to treat time much differently than space.

solipsism . . . Yawn.
I think you go too far in claiming that presentism must collapse in solipsism. I know of at least one big name in philosophy who accepts presentism but rejects solipsism. (And one really smart grad student friend who claimed a really weird version, that there’s no causal connection between time-slices: a just-one-damn-thing-after-another theory?)

Of course, there may be other problems with presentism. I think the zero-slice notion is the killer one, and i’ve tinkered in grad school with fixing it as in my post about causal effectiveness. I should go back to it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM
dougsmith - 04 May 2011 04:02 AM

[1] To repeat, under presentism the future is exactly the same as the past: [2] [i.e.] neither exist. [3] All reference to past and future are . . . just as fictional as reference to Middle Earth . . . .Presentism makes no distinction between future and past in that regard.

First off, I walked back a little from this claim in my #58, above. Though it’s strictly true that there is no future and no past on presentism, what they are is in a sense existing; in the same sense as cars and carburetors exist. (= as things made up of other existing things).

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

Okay. first off, this thread seems a little far from proving or disproving God’s existence, but I’m game for now.

??

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

The past need not be a fiction, nor the future, in a (decent) presentist theory. Here’s a typical way to stop this claim that presentism makes past and future *mere* fictions: The past is present as necessary conditions (in fact it’s passed into a proverb: the past is necessary); the future is present as capable potentialities. Augustine is the first philosopher in print to say something like this. Past, present and future are to him different ‘modes’, with the present the primary mode, ontologically.

I have no idea what any of that means for a presentist. Sure, I know what it means when a non presentist says it: the past brings about the present and future causally. But I’d advise against technical verbiage just for its own sake. It threatens to obscure.

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

It *seems* a little bizarre to claim that presentism(s) make the past a fiction *exactly like* Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Even if the past has, uh, passed away, its effects are still with us. Fictions don’t leave behind such traces without human help. (Say, a Middle Earth theme park.)  And for the future, even if we reject potentialities as absurd (many modern philosophers do - absurdly), that doesn’t mean ‘the future’ is fictional, it’s utterly nonexistent. Middle Earth isn’t utterly nonexistent; it exists in the minds of the author and his readers, and just like real things there are (a limited number of) facts about it.

So help me sort out what you’re really saying here.

I did already, above, in #58.

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

And to press the point, presentism makes a hash of Einsteinian physics, where there is no such thing as a real present outside of some reference frame or other, and the universe contains countless different reference frames. There really is no way to consistently frame a presentism that spans the universe for that reason.

With respect, I’ve discovered this to be false, but it will take a while and some re-reading to prove that. Try a really good book by Milic Capek, The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics. So if something’s wrong with presentism, I don’t think it’s this either. If you’re interested in pursuing this more, I’ll gladly do a little restudying.

I think it’s pretty easily demonstrable that this is nonsense on Einstein, since Einstein shows that simultaneity is relative, and to get any notion of “the present” off the ground you need a robust (= non-relativistic) notion of simultaneity. That plus Einstein equals a contradiction.

If you claim this is false you’ll have to outline that argument here.

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

What presentism does is to take one slice through one spatiotemporal reference frame (why this one and not that one?) and claim that the temporal dimension is zero while the spatial dimension is three. That’s completely arbitrary.

First, there’s nothing *arbitrary* about it; time is pretty different from space. And at the risk of being funnier than true,  is it ‘arbitrary’ to give space three dimensions but time only one? Wouldn’t it be nicely symmetric to turn time into three-D too?) I don’t observe past or future events anything like i can view Paris in the spring; so it’s not arbitrary to treat time much differently than space.

You mischaracterize my argument. It wasn’t that time is an arbitrary dimension. It’s that this reference frame is arbitrary. Since presumably the presentist means to argue that it’s my present that’s the one that’s real, they mean that present to be everything simultaneous to what they’re doing now. But that simultaneity is relative to their particular reference frame, which is itself completely arbitrary. Why is it their reference frame that gets to be the “real” one and not some other reference frame?

inthegobi - 05 May 2011 10:07 PM

solipsism . . . Yawn.
I think you go too far in claiming that presentism must collapse in solipsism. I know of at least one big name in philosophy who accepts presentism but rejects solipsism. (And one really smart grad student friend who claimed a really weird version, that there’s no causal connection between time-slices: a just-one-damn-thing-after-another theory?)

Of course, there may be other problems with presentism. I think the zero-slice notion is the killer one, and i’ve tinkered in grad school with fixing it as in my post about causal effectiveness. I should go back to it.

Well, it’s not quite that presentism collapses into solipsism, but rather that if you take the physics seriously then a presentist really has no good reason not to be something close to a solipsist. Dimensionally and physically (= Einstein) the past and future are just two dimensions of spacetime, the temporal dimension being formally equivalent to dimensions of space. So taking Einstein seriously, if you’re going to be a skeptic about stuff you can’t interact with because it’s in the past, you should be equally skeptical about stuff that you can’t interact with because it’s far away. It’s the same argument, after all.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1884
Joined  2007-10-28
StephenLawrence - 05 May 2011 12:46 AM
kkwan - 04 May 2011 09:42 PM

If the past and future exist, where is the empirical evidence that they do exist?

We have evidence that the past did exist and the future will exist.

Not quite so. Where is the evidence that they exist as distinct realms in time at all?

OTOH, with presentism, the past existed as former present but not now anymore. The future will exist as subsequent present, but it does not exist now.

Eternalism is the view that there is no special now, not that the future and past exist now. The future doesn’t exist now anymore than Paris exists here in Watford.

Not so. From the wiki on presentism quoted in my 1st post:

In the philosophy of time, presentism is the theory that only present things exist, and future and past things are unreal. The opposite of presentism is ‘eternalism’, which is the belief that things in the past and things yet to come exist eternally.

Do you see the fundamental problem with eternalism? It is a philosophy of time whereby things in the past and the future exist eternally and are immutable. This is spatio-temporal determinism.

My limited understanding is that comes from the theory of relativity and simply the fact that it has no place in science, at least as yet.

I’d like to get back to the point of the thread which is your claim that an existing future would be immutable in the sense of uninfluencable.

If we define influencing the future as change it from what it would have been had the influence not happened (all things being equal), what problem does eternalism pose? And how does presentism help?

The implication for time with the theory of relativity (TOR) is that not just simultaneity, but the past and the future as well are relative if the observers are in relative motion. Eternalism takes TOR with it’s modeling of time as a dimension as scientific justification for it to be true.

OTOH, QM treats time differently, much like time in classical Newtonian physics, i.e. presentism is compatible with QM. Now, QM is equally scientific.

Thus, the appeal to science (specifically TOR) is not sufficient to determine whether presentism is false and eternalism true. There is also QM and other possible future theories of fundamental physics of which quantum gravity is one.

The problem with eternalism is that it assumes that the future, which exist eternally, is fixed and immutable, i.e. it cannot be influenced/changed.  It is closed and determined, like the past.

OTOH, presentism considers “the future” as open and undetermined, i.e. it can be influenced/changed.

[ Edited: 06 May 2011 07:09 PM by kkwan ]
 Signature 

I am, therefore I think.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1884
Joined  2007-10-28
dougsmith - 05 May 2011 04:18 AM

kkwan it would be great if sometime you learned to put together an argument for yourself rather than snipping quotes from random places around the internet and pretending that that was a response. (Which in this case it isn’t much of one). Maybe that way you could understand better the arguments you’re proposing, and see why they are so thin.

In the context of my posts and replies, I do not just simply snip quotes from random places online. I have spent much time searching for, read with understanding, downloaded/printed and reflected on the relevant articles/papers/quotations before posting them. Whether you or anybody only consider them as cogent argument (iff they are expressed in my own words) should not be an issue.

 Signature 

I am, therefore I think.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14

To be clear, Einstein’s general relativity has been verified experimentally (including in the quantum realm), and the relativity of simultaneity is an essential part thereof. It’s not an issue of simply saying that QM “treats time differently” and therefore one can throw out relativistic physics, or somehow pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s nonsense. Any complete theory of spacetime will have to take the relativity of simultaneity into account along with the rest of experimentally verified physics.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 08:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
kkwan - 06 May 2011 07:01 PM

The problem with eternalism is that it assumes that the future, which exist eternally, is fixed and immutable, i.e. it cannot be influenced/changed.  It is closed and determined, like the past.

OTOH, presentism considers “the future” as open and undetermined, i.e. it can be influenced/changed.

These are both misleading claims. As to the first: what do you mean by “influence” or “change”? Usually it means something about causal influence through time. And that is perfectly sensible from within an eternalist picture. Each moment causally influences the next.

It’s also false to say that an eternalist universe is necessarily “determined”. As we know from our own universe, it is not (completely) deterministic. It is partly stochastic.

I don’t know what it means to say the universe is “closed”.

As to presentism: “the future” is only “open” in the sense that it doesn’t really exist, and never will exist. The problem for presentism is that it cannot make any real sense of change, which is difference through time. Since there is no passage of time in presentism (there is only the present, and the stories that exist in the present), neither can there be change, which is difference over time.

OTOH in the eternalist picture there is change, because there are things with different properties at different times, which is what constitutes change. E.g., there is a person who is three feet tall at one time and six feet tall at a different time. That is change. On the presentist picture there is only the present. And though there might be stories one tells about the past and the future, those stories are just constituted by that very present.

... and then there are the problems I outlined before, which are actually fatal.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1884
Joined  2007-10-28
dougsmith - 05 May 2011 06:26 AM

To be fair to the notion of a “logical fiction”: the quote kkwan chose was correct but misleading (you really should read carefully what you post and make sure you understand what it’s saying before posting it), and I should also back away from claiming that Santa Claus or Middle Earth are logical fictions. A logical fiction is a useful fiction that’s put together out of actually existing parts. E.g., a car is a logical fiction, but then so too is a carburetor. There aren’t really cars or carburetors in the world; cars and carburetors are human constructs out of natural materials such as atoms and molecules, or at any rate the basic constituents of matter that really exist.

My quote on logical fiction was to differentiate between it and fiction.

From the wiki on future:

Past and future “entities” are to be construed as logical constructions or fictions.

Meaning of construed: to understand or explain the sense or intention of usually in a particular way or with respect to a given set of circumstances (Merriam-Webster online)

Hence, the past/future should be understood in this way, not that they are logical constructions/fictions, i.e. they do not exist.

If the past were a “logical fiction” that would mean that all that there were of the past was what one could find in the present. So, for example, it would mean that if an enterprising person were to destroy all evidence of the Holocaust, systematically, leaving no trace of it in the present, then the Holocaust would never have existed. There would be no Holocaust in the past. That follows because on this ‘presentist’ view, all there is to the Holocaust is its present remains. Get rid of the remains, get rid of the Holocaust. Get rid of the remains of the past, get rid of the past.

This is a gross misrepresentation of presentism. How could one destroy all traces of the past if the past does not exist?

 Signature 

I am, therefore I think.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
kkwan - 06 May 2011 08:48 PM
dougsmith - 05 May 2011 06:26 AM

To be fair to the notion of a “logical fiction”: the quote kkwan chose was correct but misleading (you really should read carefully what you post and make sure you understand what it’s saying before posting it), and I should also back away from claiming that Santa Claus or Middle Earth are logical fictions. A logical fiction is a useful fiction that’s put together out of actually existing parts. E.g., a car is a logical fiction, but then so too is a carburetor. There aren’t really cars or carburetors in the world; cars and carburetors are human constructs out of natural materials such as atoms and molecules, or at any rate the basic constituents of matter that really exist.

My quote on logical fiction was to differentiate between it and fiction.

From the wiki on future:

Past and future “entities” are to be construed as logical constructions or fictions.

Meaning of construed: to understand or explain the sense or intention of usually in a particular way or with respect to a given set of circumstances (Merriam-Webster online)

Hence, the past/future should be understood in this way, not that they are logical constructions/fictions, i.e. they do not exist.

If the past were a “logical fiction” that would mean that all that there were of the past was what one could find in the present. So, for example, it would mean that if an enterprising person were to destroy all evidence of the Holocaust, systematically, leaving no trace of it in the present, then the Holocaust would never have existed. There would be no Holocaust in the past. That follows because on this ‘presentist’ view, all there is to the Holocaust is its present remains. Get rid of the remains, get rid of the Holocaust. Get rid of the remains of the past, get rid of the past.

This is a gross misrepresentation of presentism. How could one destroy all traces of the past if the past does not exist?

Huh? On presentism, the past is constituted by present memories and tracings of things we like to call “the past”. Were all such tracings of the Holocaust erased, there would be no “past Holocaust” to constitute anything in the present, hence the Holocaust would never have existed, on a presentist picture.

Hence on a presentist picture, it’s sufficient to destroy something’s ever having existed by simply destroying any present trace of it. This, as I say, is an absurd consequence of presentism.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5944
Joined  2006-12-20

Kkwan,

kkwan - 06 May 2011 07:01 PM

The problem with eternalism is that it assumes that the future, which exist eternally, is fixed and immutable, i.e. it cannot be influenced/changed.  It is closed and determined, like the past.

OTOH, presentism considers “the future” as open and undetermined, i.e. it can be influenced/changed.

I have no doubt that what it is to influence the future is a very difficult problem. I’ve tried to understand it for years and don’t. Quite likely it’s beyond me but one thing I know is I’m determined to try because it’s so fundamental to the human condition.

But I’m afraid you keep saying the same thing without any argument.

We have our definition of change the future: Change it from what it would have been had you not chopped the trees down in your garden (for example).

The two questions are:

1) How does eternalism make the future immutable in this sense of change the future?

2) How does presentism help?

We can’t get anywhere unless you answer them.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1884
Joined  2007-10-28
dougsmith - 06 May 2011 08:25 PM

To be clear, Einstein’s general relativity has been verified experimentally (including in the quantum realm), and the relativity of simultaneity is an essential part thereof. It’s not an issue of simply saying that QM “treats time differently” and therefore one can throw out relativistic physics, or somehow pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s nonsense. Any complete theory of spacetime will have to take the relativity of simultaneity into account along with the rest of experimentally verified physics.

It is? Please show me the experiment.

Why is it then necessary to develop a theory of quantum gravity? That there is a contradiction wrt to the treatment of time in QM and relativity does not mean either relativistic physics or QM should be thrown out.

Science and everyday affairs takes an operational definition of time for practical purposes.

From the wiki on time

An operational definition of time, wherein one says that observing a certain number of repetitions of one or another standard cyclical event (such as the passage of a free-swinging pendulum) constitutes one standard unit such as the second, is highly useful in the conduct of both advanced experiments and everyday affairs of life. The operational definition leaves aside the question whether there is something called time, apart from the counting activity just mentioned, that flows and that can be measured.

The issue of the nature of time is not settled, though there is evidence that time is fundamental in the universe, more fundamental than space, it has direction of flow and is related with causality from research on causal dynamic triangulation.

Eternalism which assumes that time is a dimension like space, there is no flow, the past/future is fixed and immutable seems notably incoherent.

 Signature 

I am, therefore I think.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 May 2011 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1884
Joined  2007-10-28
dougsmith - 06 May 2011 08:54 PM

Huh? On presentism, the past is constituted by present memories and tracings of things we like to call “the past”. Were all such tracings of the Holocaust erased, there would be no “past Holocaust” to constitute anything in the present, hence the Holocaust would never have existed, on a presentist picture.

Hence on a presentist picture, it’s sufficient to destroy something’s ever having existed by simply destroying any present trace of it. This, as I say, is an absurd consequence of presentism.

It is theoretically possible, but it is impossible in practice. Remembrance of the past is in the memories of unknown numbers of humans and historical records globally.

Maybe, only in the realm of science fiction…....a gizmo to erase/destroy all memories/records with no exception. smile

OTOH, if the past exist, where is it and how can one retrieve the events of the past even if all memory/records are erased/destroyed?

 Signature 

I am, therefore I think.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2011 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
kkwan - 06 May 2011 09:53 PM
dougsmith - 06 May 2011 08:25 PM

To be clear, Einstein’s general relativity has been verified experimentally (including in the quantum realm), and the relativity of simultaneity is an essential part thereof. It’s not an issue of simply saying that QM “treats time differently” and therefore one can throw out relativistic physics, or somehow pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s nonsense. Any complete theory of spacetime will have to take the relativity of simultaneity into account along with the rest of experimentally verified physics.

It is? Please show me the experiment.

There are a raft of experiments confirming special and general relativity, of which the relativity of simultaneity is an essential part. You can see a list for general relativity HERE, and of special relativity HERE.

kkwan - 06 May 2011 09:53 PM

Why is it then necessary to develop a theory of quantum gravity? That there is a contradiction wrt to the treatment of time in QM and relativity does not mean either relativistic physics or QM should be thrown out.

Quantum gravity is a hypothesis (= unconfirmed), attempting to give a QM explanation of relativistic phenomena. But any theory of quantum gravity will also have to take into account the raft of experimental confirmation for general relativity. Otherwise it would be a failed theory. That’s to say, on any theory of quantum gravity, the relativity of simultaneity would have to be preserved.

kkwan - 06 May 2011 09:53 PM

Eternalism which assumes that time is a dimension like space, there is no flow, the past/future is fixed and immutable seems notably incoherent.

Sorry, kkwan, you don’t know what you’re talking about. The notion that time is a dimension like space (and that indeed the universe is a universe of spacetime, not space and time, and certainly not just space) is essential to all mainstream contemporary physics.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2011 06:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
kkwan - 06 May 2011 10:39 PM
dougsmith - 06 May 2011 08:54 PM

Huh? On presentism, the past is constituted by present memories and tracings of things we like to call “the past”. Were all such tracings of the Holocaust erased, there would be no “past Holocaust” to constitute anything in the present, hence the Holocaust would never have existed, on a presentist picture.

Hence on a presentist picture, it’s sufficient to destroy something’s ever having existed by simply destroying any present trace of it. This, as I say, is an absurd consequence of presentism.

It is theoretically possible, but it is impossible in practice. Remembrance of the past is in the memories of unknown numbers of humans and historical records globally.

Maybe, only in the realm of science fiction…....a gizmo to erase/destroy all memories/records with no exception. smile

See my #60, above. It’s not only possible to erase all record of a past event, it’s actual. There are more past events whose existence has been erased than there are past events whose existence we know.

kkwan - 06 May 2011 10:39 PM

OTOH, if the past exist, where is it and how can one retrieve the events of the past even if all memory/records are erased/destroyed?

We can’t. Not for all of them, anyhow. Again, this is isomorphic with space. If space exists, how can we retrieve all the events in space? We can’t. It’s too big, and we’re not perfect.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2011 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5944
Joined  2006-12-20
dougsmith - 07 May 2011 06:10 AM

On presentism, the past is constituted by present memories and tracings of things we like to call “the past”. Were all such tracings of the Holocaust erased, there would be no “past Holocaust” to constitute anything in the present, hence the Holocaust would never have existed.

Yes.

I have two comments:

Firstly I think we are really interested in whether the A or B series of time is correct, rather than eternalism V presentism as you describe it.

Secondly I don’t think presentism, as you describe, collapses into solipsism. It collapses into idealism, which is quite a different thing.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 May 2011 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
StephenLawrence - 07 May 2011 12:48 PM

Firstly I think we are really interested in whether the A or B series of time is correct, rather than eternalism V presentism as you describe it.

OK, but that is indeed a different issue than the OP and title of this thread. The A series may have its problems but it does not imply presentism.

StephenLawrence - 07 May 2011 12:48 PM

Secondly I don’t think presentism, as you describe, collapses into solipsism. It collapses into idealism, which is quite a different thing.

Well ... I don’t think so. The difference between idealism and solipsism is in the link between minds. If you’re able to establish a link, you have idealism. So far as I know, the only person who’s really been able to make a modest go of that sort of move is Bishop Berkeley, who finagled the link through God. (Certain schools of Buddhism have tried as well, though IMO less successfully than Berkeley, which is saying something).

Otherwise there appears to be no way to make the link. All the person has is here-now appearances. All the rest are, as they say, “logical fictions”, including past, future, left, right, up, down, forward, back.  That includes all the things in those places and times, such as other people. Viz., solipsism.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
   
5 of 8
5