Philosophical Studies

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 253–263 | Cite as

Presentism, and speaking of the dead



Presentists standardly conform to the eternalist’s paradigm of treating all cases of property-exemplification as involving a single relation of instantiation. This, we argue, results in a much less parsimonious and philosophically explanatory picture than is possible if other alternatives are considered. We argue that by committing to primitive past and future tensed instantiation ties, presentists can make gains in both economy and explanatory power. We show how this metaphysical picture plays out in cases where an individual exists to partake in facts about its past and future, and also in cases where that individual no longer exists, and proxies (or surrogates) for that thing must be found.


Time Metaphysics Presentism Truthmakers 



Thanks to audience members at the 2009 Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference for helpful comments. Thanks also to the Australian Research Council Discovery Project scheme for supporting this research.


  1. Bigelow, J. (1996). Presentism and properties. Philosophical Perspectives, 10, 35–52.Google Scholar
  2. Chisholm, R. (1990). Referring to things that no longer exist. Philosophical Perspectives, 4, 545–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Johnston, M. (1987). Is there a problem about persistence? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 61(Suppl.), 107–135.Google Scholar
  4. Keller, S. (2004). Presentism and truthmaking. In D. W. Zimmerman (Ed.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (Vol. 1, pp. 83–104). Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  5. Lewis, D. (1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Rhoda, A. R. (2009). Presentism, truthmakers, and God. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 90, 41–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations