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Prosecuting Doubt

Some Catholics and Protestants believe that error has no rights, and errors concerning the faith most certainly do not have right. Errors, and some egregious sins, ought to be punished by law, with some practical exceptions. So here is a question for that position. If doubting the faith were a sin, should doubt be prosecuted? It isn't so easy to say that doubt isn't something we can control at will because faith is often regarded as a virtue. Both of these are mental states of the same sort, so if faith can be praised and be credited to us, then so can doubt, so doubt is in some sense in our control. And doubting the faith is wrong, and so is a sin, which can be susceptible to punishment. I tend to lean to a more classically liberal view on this issue.

Space Can Only Be Mapped By Reference To Occupants

The following is a short paper I wrote for my metaphysics class. 
Wiggins claims that space can be mapped only by reference to its occupants. This doesn’t seem to be obviously true. Consider some world that has an infinite density, not much unlike how some scientists say the first moment of our universe was like, that is, every point of space is occupied by some matter. When the available space expands and the matter remains the same, the density of the world changes. This seems coherent. To say that space expands is to say that there are two points of space opposite of each other where that distance grows. But this seems coherent even without reference to matter occupying some point. So take T1 to be time in a world with infinite density. Then T2 is that same world where the available space is then doubled so that the world is then half the density. Now suppose the same thing without any matter in it whatsoever. We know that T1 and T2 have different amounts of space, and this differ…

What Is Modal Realism?

We often talk about possibilities or the way the world would have been. For example, I could be home sleeping in right now, or I could be a sailor in Hawaii. There are endless ways to talk about the way the world could have been, and these worlds actually exist. Under modal realism, any way the world could have been actually is. There are countless other worlds that are temporally-spatio isolated from us and from each other. They don’t overlap. They have no parts in common (except, maybe, universals). There is no causal connection. They exist truly and literally just as you are real and existing. There is no difference in the way they exist. They aren’t just real in our imagination, like in some abstract platonic heaven, but real and concrete. They exist simpliciter, or without qualification.
Modal realism is serviceable in that we can quantify modal claims. So if I were to claim, “It is possible that I was President of the United States” we would ask how we make sense of that claim…

J.J.C. Smart on Time

Smart thinks that talk of “past”, “present”, and “future” can replaced by some reference to a subjects utterance. So “past” will be replaced with, “X is earlier than this utterance”, “present is replaced with, “X is simultaneous to this utterance” and “future” will be replaced with, “X is later than this utterance.” The same can be done for any sentence with a tense in it.
When one utters “X is earlier than this utterance”, it could be objected that the word “is” in the sentence is tensed, and so even with the effort to phrase everything in a tenseless way, it is still necessary to smuggle in tensed language. Smart says we can amend the predicate to say, “X is earlier at this utterance” and referring to an utterance in this way makes no use of a tensed “is”. So for example, a tribe that had three sorts of numbers, that of being earlier than, equal to, or greater than the kings age, denoted by alpha, beta and gamma, but no tense is employed there either.

What is the A and B Series of Time?

In the A series of time, events have the position of past, present, and future. These positions are not permanent. Under the B series of time, events have the position of earlier or later than some position. These positions are permanent. A series can change positions because an event which is now future will eventually be past, but in the B series, if some event X is before some event Y, it will always be so.

Lewis on Temporary Intrinsics

The problem of temporary intrinsics is that for persisting things, they change their intrinsic properties, such as shape. When I sit, I have a bent shape and when I stand I have changed my shape to a straight shape. This is distinguished from it's relations such as weight and height. For example, being the heaviest person in the room (weight) is not an intrinsic property because a heavier man may enter the room and I am no longer the heaviest man, even though nothing intrinsic about me has changed. So the problem is to explain how this change in intrinsics is possible.
Lewis’ solution to this problem is to say that things perdure, not endure. Under perdurance, I have temporal parts, and intrinsics would be properties of that particular temporal part, and obviously these parts differ from one another, so it is no mystery how a thing could change its intrinsics properties. So for example, a road perdures, that is, it has different parts at different times, but doesn’t endure in the…

What is to Persist, Perdure, Endure?

Something persists iff it exists at various times. There are two ways something can persist: by enduring or perduring. Something endures iff it persists by being wholly present at more than one time. Something perdures iff it persists by having different temporal parts or stages at different times, though no one part of it is wholly present at more than one time, also known as 4 Dimensionalism.