Moore and Rutherford

Following the Maverick's Presentism discussion (see here for latest and follow Bill's 'related articles' in that post for earlier) has been like living on a Möbius band: you go round a circle and fetch up where you started but the world is now upside down.

We have taken as reference Ned Markosian's A Defense of Presentism.  Here is his opening paragraph.
Presentism is the view that only present objects exist. According to Presentism, if we were to make an accurate list of all the things that exist – i.e., a list of all the things that our most unrestricted quantifiers range over – there would be not a single non-present object on the list. Thus, you and I and the Taj Mahal would be on the list, but neither Socrates nor any future grandchildren of mine would be included. And it’s not just Socrates and my future grandchildren, either – the same goes for any other putative object that lacks the property of being present. All such objects are unreal, according to Presentism. According to Non-presentism, on the other hand, non-present objects like Socrates and my future grandchildren exist right now, even though they are not currently present. We may not be able to see them at the moment, on this view, and they may not be in the same space-time vicinity that we find ourselves in right now, but they should nevertheless be on the list of all existing things.
Although he hands over a hostage in his talk of 'unrestricted quantifiers' it's clear enough what Markosian means by Presentism and Non-presentism and the contrast between the two, especially if we restrict ourselves to concreta.  The census form asks us to give the names of the people who live in our house. Not the names of those who used to live here (difficult), nor of those who will live here (impossible). If 'exist' functions as a bona fide tensed verb then we know by analogy with the census instruction what Markosian is asking us to do. So much is obvious, commonsense, Moorean. So why is the non-presentist unhappy that the presentist has not included Socrates on his list? (This shows there is a disagreement before either party has tried to define his position in some mutually agreeable language) The answer, according to Markosian, is that NP has theoretical reasons for including Socrates. One, apparently, is that if Socrates didn't exist then propositions about him couldn't exist either, and this, according to NP, rules out our saying true things about Socrates, which we Mooreanly do. So NP has argued himself into a tricky corner. His way out is not to abandon his theory but to elaborate it further with the notion of 'tenseless verb'. To cap this he convinces himself that the whole discussion must be couched within his own theoretical terms and insists that the P must play on the NP's ground. The P will at this point refuse the invitation and concentrate on exposing the problems with the NP's theory.

Consider this analogy to the present discussion. Rutherford tells us that the Mooreanly solid hand before our eyes is mostly empty space. How is this seeming impasse resolved? R explains that matter will be seen as solid (continuous) when viewed under visible light but discrete when viewed under much shorter wavelength radiation. This allows us to retain the meaning of our commonsense term 'solid' for our ordinary dealings with macroscopic objects in daylight. Likewise, if we are to take the NP seriously, then he has to explain how we are to live with his new tenseless verbs, eg, '(exist)', whilst keeping our old ones, eg, 'exist'. My own view is that NP faces formidable problems. Here's one: It seems that 'I (am) alive' and 'I (am) dead' are both true. So the law of non-contradiction seems not to apply to sentences using (is), and I, for one, will sorely miss it.

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