A Theory of Presentism
Citation: Bourne , C 2006 , ' A Theory of Presentism ' Canadian Journal of Philosophy , vol 36 , no. 1 , pp. 1-23 .
Most of us would want to say that it is true that Socrates taught Plato. According to realists about past facts, this is made true by the fact that there is, located in the past, i.e., earlier than now, at least one real event that is the teaching of Plato by Socrates. Presentists, however, in denying that past events and facts exist cannot appeal to such facts to make their past-tensed statements true. So what is a presentist to do? There are at least three conditions that would ideally be met in a satisfactory solution to this problem: (1) It must preserve our views about which statements are true and which false; (2) It must be transparent what the truthmakers are for those statements; (3) It must accommodate the truth-value links between various times. I shall survey two different families of proposals for the presentist's truthmakers and show that they fail at least one of these three conditions. This is not entirely negative, for it shows us what an adequate solution to the problem would look like. I go on to show where presentists can find suitable objects that satisfy these conditions, and in this way give a clear statement of presentism, something that is lacking in the literature.
Also appears in: (1) L.N.Oaklander and E.Magalhaes (eds.) Presentism: A Reader (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010) (2) L.N. Oaklander (ed.) Routledge Major Works: The Philosophy of Time: Critical Concepts in Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2008)