The Evolutionary Origins of Tensed Language and Belief
Dyke (Heather)
Source: Preprint of an article whose final and definitive form is published in Biology and Philosophy [Vol. 26 (2011): 401-418]
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. I outline the debate in metaphysics between those who believe time is tensed and those who believe it is tenseless.
  2. I describe the terms in which this debate has been carried out, and the significance to it of ordinary tensed language and widespread common sense beliefs that time is tensed.
  3. I then outline a case for thinking that our intuitive beliefs about tense constitute an Adaptive Imaginary Representation (Wilson 1990, 1995).
  4. I also outline a case for thinking that our ordinary tensed beliefs and tensed language owe their tensed nature to its being adaptive to adopt a temporally self-locating perspective on reality.
  5. If these conclusions are right, then common sense intuitions and temporal language will be utterly misleading guides to the nature of temporal reality.


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