How Real Are Future Events?

Perry, John (2006) How Real Are Future Events? In: Time and History Proceedings of the 28. International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria 2005. Ontos Verlag, Frankfurt, pp. 13-30.

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My main aim in this talk is to discuss McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time. I will ?nd a ?aw in his argument, but ?nding the ?aw will lead us to the conclusion that although time is real, future events are not. I will begin, however, not with McTaggart, but with a version of an ancient argument for fatalism. By fatalism I do not mean the doctrine that we are fated, like Oedipus, to do something terrible at some point in the future, no matter what choices we make now, and no matter what happens in between. I mean the philosophical doctrine that we can do nothing at all to e?ect the future in any way. For most of us this will mean we are not only fated, in the ?rst sense, to do terrible things, although perhaps not as terrible as Oedipus was fated to do, but that that even the route to these terrible deeds is not in our power to alter. I adopt as a working principle that we are entitled to the distinctions we need to avoid fatalism. I will see what these are, and then maintain that they show us the way to avoid McTaggart’s argument, and that, in doing that, we will see that although there is no reason to agree with McTaggart that time is unreal, the future is, in fairly clear sense, not real.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Epistemologie, Wissenschaftstheorie, Naturphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Logik, analytische Philosophie
Depositing User: Sissi Kemp
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2012 09:02
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 09:02

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