, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 55–63 | Cite as

Why so Serious? Non-serious Presentism and the Problem of Cross-temporal Relations



It is a common assumption in the metaphysics of time that a commitment to presentism entails a commitment to serious presentism, the view that objects can exemplify properties or stand in relations only at times at which they exist. As a result, non-serious presentism is widely thought to be beyond the bounds for the card-carrying presentist in response to the problem of cross-temporal relations. In this paper, I challenge this general consensus by examining one common argument in favor of the thesis that presentism entails serious presentism. The argument, I claim, begs the question against non-serious defenders in failing to account for their wider metaontological views concerning non-committal quantification.


  1. Azzouni, Jody. 2004. Deflating Existential Consequence. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bergmann, Michael. 1996. “A New Argument from Actualism to Serious Actualism”. Noûs, Vol. 30, No. 3 (September 1996): 356–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergmann, Michael. 1999. “(Serious) Actualism and (Serious) Presentism”. Noûs 33:1 (1999): 118–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brogaard, Berit. 2006. “Tensed Relations”. Analysis 66.3 (July 2006): 194–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Crisp, Thomas. 2005. “Presentism and ‘Cross-Time’ Relations”. American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2005): 5–17.Google Scholar
  6. Davidson, Mathew. 2003. “Presentism and the Non-Present”. Philosophical Studies 113(1) (March 2003).Google Scholar
  7. Dorr, Ciann. 2007. “There Are No Abstract Objects”. John Hawthorne, Theodore Sider and Dean Zimmerman (eds.) Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics, (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007).Google Scholar
  8. Eklund, Matti. 2006. “Metaontology”. Philosophy Compass 1/3 (2006): 317–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hinchliff, Mark. 1996. “The Puzzle of Change”. James Tomberlin (ed.). Philosophical Perspectives, 10, Metaphysics, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1996: 119–136.Google Scholar
  10. Hinchliff, Mark. 2010. “The Identity of the Past”. Joseph Keim Campbell et al. (eds), Time and Identity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010): 95–110.Google Scholar
  11. Hinchliff, Mark. 1988. A Defense of Presentism. doctoral dissertation, Princeton University, 1988.Google Scholar
  12. Hofweber, Thomas. 2007. “Innocent Statements and Their Metaphysically Loaded Counterparts”. The Philosophers’ Imprint vol. 7 no. 1 (February 2007).Google Scholar
  13. Horgan, Terrence. 2007. “Retreat from Non-Being”. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 84 (2007): 615–627.Google Scholar
  14. Lycan, Willam. 1979. “The Trouble with Possible Worlds”. Loux, Michael J. (ed.) The Possible and the Actual. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979: 274–316Google Scholar
  15. Marcus, Ruth Barcan. 1972. "Quantification and ontology". Noûs 6 (1972): 240–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Markosian, Ned. 2004. “A Defense of Presentism” in Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.) Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004): 47–82.Google Scholar
  17. Priest, Graham. 2008. “The Closing of the Mind: How the Particular Quantifier Became Existentially Loaded Behind Our Backs”. The Review of Symbolic Logic 1:1 (June 2008).Google Scholar
  18. Torrengo, Giuliano. 2006. "Tenseless cross-temporal Relations". Metaphysica, Vol. 7, No. 2: 117–129.Google Scholar
  19. Van Cleve, James. 2006. “If Meinong is Wrong, is McTaggart Right?” Philosophical Topics, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring 1996): 231–254Google Scholar
  20. Yablo, Stephen. 2001. “Aprioricity and Existence,” in P. Boghossian and C. Peacocke (eds.) New Essays on the A Priori, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 197–228.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTrinity CollegeDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations