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Time, Change, and Existence


Apart_Wind-up_Clock_20x200_1000_7a905254-8c54-4d44-b4c9-1f2d49d5645d_largeThere are considerable obstacles to expressing change in existence in an unambiguous formal language.  I think the best response to these problems is to adopt what I call a minimal A-theory—a theory of time that treats all change as a variant of property change.  I’ve developed such a theory and defended it from objections.  I also argue against the prevailing assumption that A-theoretic views of time require a logic with tense operators.  I propose an alternative to the usual Priorian tense logic that dispenses with operators.  I’m interested in the benefits of such a system both from a formal standpoint and with respect to understanding the nature of properties more generally.  Current work considers how minimal A-theorists reason about the puzzles of diachronic personal identity.  I’ve also written several short pieces comparing the minimal A-theory to competing “spotlight” accounts of time.  And I am currently working on a piece about how abductive  arguments should (and shouldn’t) be deployed in building theories of time.

Relevant Papers:

  1. Problems for Temporary Existence in Tense Logic (Philosophy Compass 2012)
  2. The Minimal A-Theory (Philosophical Studies 2012)
  3. An A-Theory Without Tense Operators (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2016)
  4. Boring Ontological Realism (Res Philosophica 2017)
  5. Time (updated entry for SEP) with Ned Markosian and Nina Emery
  6. Review of The Moving Spotlight (Cameron) (NDPR 2016)
  7. Review of Objective Becoming (Skow) (Philosophical Review under preparation)
  8. Review of The Future of Philosophy of Time (NDPR 2012)