Presentism and Past-Infinities

If one is a presentist (i.e., believes that only present objects and/or events exist), then one can accept that it is not logically possible for there to be an actually infinite number of objects and/or events, and still believe it is possible that the universe have had no beginning, but existed infinitely. The reason is because an infinite past is unreal (not actual) if presentism is true. There may be an infinite number of presently true propositions which are past-tensed, but the presentist doesn’t have to be committed to the existence of propositions themselves (as though propositions were part of the furniture of the real world). Indeed, the presentist may have good reasons for rejecting the existence of propositions (for instance if they have good reasons for thinking a deflationary theory of semantics is correct, or if they are worried about set-theoretic paradoxes which may rear their heads if one affirms that propositions really exist as platonic-like entities in the world).

Thus, the infinite past would be a potential, not an actual infinite. This was the view of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Advertisements

About tylerjourneaux

I am an aspiring Catholic theologian and philosopher, and I have a keen interest in apologetics. I am creating this blog both in order to practice and improve my writing and memory retention as I publish my thoughts, and in order to give evidence of my ability to understand and communicate thoughts on topics pertinent to Theology, Philosophy, philosophical theology, Catholic (Christian) Apologetics, philosophy of religion and textual criticism.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Time and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Presentism and Past-Infinities

  1. Grundy says:

    That’s a new one, never heard of presentism before. Are there many out there?

    • Yes, there are. See the following resources for more:

      Pruss, Alexander. “The A-theory of time and induction.” Philosophical Studies 152, no. 3 (February 2011): 335-345. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.ca/search?q=Presentism

      Baron, Sam. “PRESENTISM, TRUTH AND SUPERVENIENCE.” Ratio 26, no. 1 (March 2013): 3-18. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      MAGALHÃES, ERNÂNI. “PRESENTISM, PERSISTENCE AND COMPOSITION.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92, no. 4 (December 2011): 509-523. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Tallant, Jonathan. “(Existence) Presentism and the A-theory.” Analysis 72, no. 4 (October 2012): 673-681. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Baia, Alex. “Presentism and the grounding of truth.” Philosophical Studies 159, no. 3 (July 2012): 341-356. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Fendler, Lynn. “The upside of presentism.” Paedagogica Historica 44, no. 6 (December 2008): 677-690. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      BENOVSKY, JIRI. “PRESENTISM AND PERSISTENCE.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90, no. 3 (September 2009): 291-309. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Orilia, Francesco. “Dynamic events and presentism.” Philosophical Studies 160, no. 3 (September 15, 2012): 407-414. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Dolev, Yuval. “Antirealism, Presentism and Bivalence.” International Journal Of Philosophical Studies 18, no. 1 (February 2010): 73-89. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      RHODA, ALAN R. “PRESENTISM, TRUTHMAKERS, AND GOD.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90, no. 1 (March 2009): 41-62. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Rasmussen, Joshua. “Presentists may say goodbye to A-properties.” Analysis 72, no. 2 (April 2012): 270-276. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      HESTEVOLD, H. SCOTT. “PRESENTISM: THROUGH THICK AND THIN.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89, no. 3 (September 2008): 325-347. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 2, 2013).

      Also, stay tuned for when I upload my final term paper on analytic philosophy of time, in which I argue with Rasmussen and Tallant above that there may be a B-theoretic version of Presentism (though I don’t hold to it, and neither does Rasmussen). That will appear on the ‘Academic Papers’ link at the top when it is done (which should be soon).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s