Philosophy Workshop: Space, Time and Spacetime
Space, Time and Spacetime | A workshop
23 March, 2023
9.30-10.45 | Sam Baron, ACU | Dialetheism and the A-theory
According to dialetheism, there are some true contradictions. According to the A-theory, the passage of time is a mind-independent feature of reality. I argue that by appealing to dialetheism one can explain why time passes. I start by considering an existing dialethic account of passage developed by Priest. I show that Priest’s approach does not provide the kind of passage that many A-theorists want. I then develop a new dialetheic account of passage that explains why the present moves. I compare my explanation of why the present moves with one provided by Skow and argue that the dialethic account is preferable because, unlike Skow’s account, it does not presuppose that the spatial configuration of the universe is always changing.
10.50-12.15 | Jessica Pohlmann, ACU | “A new modal account of existential dependence”
Modal accounts of existential dependence have become unpopular in contemporary metaphysics. Such accounts, it is argued, fail to accurately characterize existential dependence when applied to the non-contingent domain. Accordingly, many philosophers have opted for an hyperintensional account of existential dependence, one that employs the notion of essence. I argue, however, that existential dependence can indeed be characterised in modal terms. I develop a new modal account of existential dependence that combines Mackie’s ‘INUS’ framework for causation with situation theory, developed by Barwise and Perry. I show that this framework can support an asymmetric notion of existential dependence within the non-contingent domain.
1.30-2.45 | Al Wilson, Birmingham | Naturalism: Modal and Spatiotemporal
Time and modality have classically been conceived as domains to be investigated a priori, drawing on either rational insight (perhaps in its contemporary guise, philosophical intuition) or transcendental reasoning. Even contemporary philosophers of physics fall back on a priori considerations when considering e.g. the range of possible spacetimes. Scientific investigation is given a minimal role in modal discovery, typically being restricted to identifying which of the a-priori-identified possibilities we inhabit. In this talk I offer an alternative, starting with a radically naturalistic account of the metaphysics of modality, and showing how it leads to a naturalistic modal epistemology for space and time.
2.45-4.00 | Anthony Bigg, Sydney | The Open Future
4.00-5.15 | Jordan Lee-Tory | Coincidence and the relationship between mereology and location.
Sometimes people that are not averse to a pluralist interpretation of cases of coincidence describe typical cases in which numerically distinct objects share the same location and sometimes these are described as sharing all of the same parts. One might wonder whether then if the standard cases of coincidence are like this then perhaps it is necessary and sufficient for some objects to be coincident that they are both mereological and locativly coincident. I will first explore the related idea that the definitions of locative coincidence and mereological coincidence are co-extensive and develop principles that necessitate this co-extension. However, what I will argue is that these principles that might initially seem plausible result in a far too restrictive relationship between location and mereology. There are many instances in which some distinct objects satisfy one but not the other definition and as a result, are disallowed by these principles. Furthermore, these very cases can be constructed in such a way that they seem just as plausibly cases of coincidence as do the standard cases that we started with (the ones where both definitions are satisfied). Thus, whatever intuitions one might have regarding the possibility of standard cases of coincidence, it seems no less plausible that these other cases where one but not the other definition applies are possible and are also cases of coincidence. Consequently, from the point of view of the pluralist regarding cases of coincidence, the idea that the definitions of mereological and locative coincidence are co-extensive is unmotivated.
Philosophy Seminar Room, N494, Quadrangle A14