Ideas of Craig Bourne, by Theme

[British, fl. 2006, At Cambridge, and then at the University of Hertfordshire.]

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2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 2. Sufficient Reason
Is Sufficient Reason self-refuting (no reason to accept it!), or is it a legitimate explanatory tool?
     Full Idea: Mackie (1983) dismisses the Principle of Sufficient Reason quickly, arguing that it is self-refuting: there is no sufficient reason to accept it. However, a principle is not invalidated by not applying to itself; it can be a powerful heuristic tool.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 6.VI)
     A reaction: If God was entirely rational, and created everything, that would be a sufficient reason to accept the principle. You would never, though, get to the reason why God was entirely rational. Something will always elude the principle.
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 1. Redundant Truth
The redundancy theory conflates metalinguistic bivalence with object-language excluded middle
     Full Idea: The problem with the redundancy theory of truth is that it conflates the metalinguistic notion of bivalence with a theorem of the object language, namely the law of excluded middle.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 3.III Pr3)
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
All relations between spatio-temporal objects are either spatio-temporal, or causal
     Full Idea: If there are any genuine relations at all between spatio-temporal objects, then they are all either spatio-temporal or causal.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 3.III Pr4)
     A reaction: This sounds too easy, but I have wracked my brains for counterexamples and failed to find any. How about qualitative relations?
It is a necessary condition for the existence of relations that both of the relata exist
     Full Idea: It is widely held, and I think correctly so, that a necessary condition for the existence of relations is that both of the relata exist.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 3.III Pr4)
     A reaction: This is either trivial or false. Relations in the actual world self-evidently relate components of it. But I seem able to revere Sherlock Holmes, and speculate about relations between possible entities.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 1. Relativity / a. Special relativity
The idea of simultaneity in Special Relativity is full of verificationist assumptions
     Full Idea: Special Relativity, with its definition of simultaneity, is shot through with verificationist assumptions.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 6.IIc)
     A reaction: [He credits Sklar with this] I love hearing such points made, because all my instincts have rebelled against Einstein's story, even after I have been repeatedly told how stupid I am, and how I should study more maths etc.
Relativity denies simultaneity, so it needs past, present and future (unlike Presentism)
     Full Idea: Special Relativity denies absolute simultaneity, and therefore requires a past and a future, as well as a present. The Presentist, however, only requires the present.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 6.VII)
     A reaction: It is nice to accuse Relativity of ontological extravagence. When it 'requires' past and future, that may not be a massive commitment, since the whole theory is fairly operationalist, according to Putnam.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / a. Absolute time
Special Relativity allows an absolute past, future, elsewhere and simultaneity
     Full Idea: There is in special relativity a notion of 'absolute past', and of 'absolute future', and of 'absolute elsewhere', and of 'absolute simultaneity' (of events occurring at their space-time conjunction).
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 5.III)
     A reaction: [My summary of his paragraph] I am inclined to agree with Bourne that there is enough here to build some sort of notion of 'present' that will support the doctrine of Presentism.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / g. Growing block
No-Futurists believe in past and present, but not future, and say the world grows as facts increase
     Full Idea: 'No-Futurists' believe in the real existence of the past and present but not the future, and hold that the world grows as more and more facts come into existence.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 6.IIb)
     A reaction: [He cites Broad 1923 and Tooley 1997] My sympathies are with Presentism, but there seems not denying that past events fix truths in a way that future events don't. The unchangeability of past events seems to make them factual.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / h. Presentism
How can presentists talk of 'earlier than', and distinguish past from future?
     Full Idea: Presentists have a difficulty with how they can help themselves to the notion of 'earlier than' without having to invoke real relata, and how presentism can distinguish the past from the future.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 2.IV)
     A reaction: The obvious response is to infer the past from the present (fossils), and infer the future from the present (ticking bomb). But what is it that is being inferred, if the past and future are denied a priori? Tricky!
Presentism seems to deny causation, because the cause and the effect can never coexist
     Full Idea: It seems that presentism cannot accommodate causation at all. In a true instance of 'c causes e', it seems to follow that both c and e exist, and it is widely accepted that c is earlier than e. But for presentists that means c and e can't coexist.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 4)
     A reaction: A nice problem. Obviously if the flying ball smashed the window, we are left with only the effect existing - otherwise we could intercept the ball and prevent the disaster. To say this cause and this effect coexist would be even dafter than the problem.
Since presentists treat the presentness of events as basic, simultaneity should be define by that means
     Full Idea: Since for presentism there is an ontologically significant and basic sense in which events are present, we should expect a definition of simultaneity in terms of presentness, rather than the other way round.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], 6.IV)
     A reaction: Love it. I don't see how you can even articulate questions about simultaneity if you don't already have a notion of presentness. What are the relata you are enquiring about?
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 2. Passage of Time / d. Time series
Time is tensed or tenseless; the latter says all times and objects are real, and there is no passage of time
     Full Idea: Theories of time are in two broad categories, the tenseless and the tensed theories. In tenseless theories, all times are equally real, as are all objects located at them, and there is no passage of time from future to present to past. It's the B-series.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], Intro IIa)
     A reaction: It might solve a few of the problems, but is highly counterintuitive. Presumably it makes the passage of time an illusion, and gives no account of how events 'happen', or of their direction, and it leaves causation out on a limb. I'm afraid not.
B-series objects relate to each other; A-series objects relate to the present
     Full Idea: Objects in the B-series are earlier than, later than, or simultaneous with each other, whereas objects in the A-series are earlier than, later than or simultaneous with the present.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], Intro IIb)
     A reaction: Must we choose? Two past events relate to each other, but there is a further relation when 'now' falls between the events. If I must choose, I suppose I go for the A-series view. The B-series is a subsequent feat of imagination. McTaggart agreed.
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 2. Passage of Time / e. Tensed (A) series
Time flows, past is fixed, future is open, future is feared but not past, we remember past, we plan future
     Full Idea: We say that time 'flows', that the past is 'fixed' but the future is 'open'; we only dread the future, but not the past; we remember the past but not the future; we plan for the future but not the past.
     From: Craig Bourne (A Future for Presentism [2006], Intro III)
     A reaction: These seem pretty overwhelming reasons for accepting an asymmetry between the past and the future. If you reject that, you seem to be mired in a multitude of contradictions. Your error theory is going to be massive.