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 Post subject: A.N. Prior
PostPosted: May 30th, 2007 19:06:50 pm 
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AN Prior was a philosopher who did a lot of work on the philosophy of time and on tense logics in particular.

One thing that was neat about him was that he thought it was silly to ask questions about time like, "is time like a snake biting its own tail?" instead he thought we should ask ourselves whether Fp :arrow: Pp is an axiom of the correct tense logic.

Similarly, he would say not to ask yourself if moments in time are densely arranged like points on the number line. Ask yourself if Fp :arrow: FFp is an axiom of the correct tense logic.

This is sort of the opposite of a major revolution in modal logic, where Saul Kripke was all, "Don't ask yourself if p :arrow: []<>P is an axiom of the correct modal logic, ask yourself whether the accessibility relation for possible worlds is symmetric (i.e. if x is possible relative to y, then y is possible relative to x)."

So, yeah, we can talk about AN Prior and his philosophy of time if people want.

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2007 23:05:08 pm 
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Could you explain the F & P notation?

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2007 17:40:37 pm 
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lowercase "p" stands for a present tensed statement, "F" is an operator for the future tense, and "P" is an operator for the past tense.

So, "Fp" is "It will be that p" "Pp" is "it was that p"

FFp is "It will be that it will be that p" and "PFPp" would be "It was that it will be that it was that p"

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PostPosted: June 1st, 2007 20:39:27 pm 
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Is there anything else to his philosophy other than a clever notation to put questions about time in a form that looks like math?


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PostPosted: June 1st, 2007 22:32:23 pm 
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There's nothing wrong with one's work being mainly notational, if that notation turns out to be useful for later results.

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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2007 01:17:45 am 
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Clancy wrote:
Is there anything else to his philosophy other than a clever notation to put questions about time in a form that looks like math?


Yeah, he had lots of views.

For instance, he was a presentist, which means that he thought the past and future weren't real.

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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2007 01:21:51 am 
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Ironically, he lived and died in the past.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2007 14:58:40 pm 
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Ben Heaton wrote:
Ironically, he lived and died in the past.

which means he thinks he isn't real, which makes him an antisolipsist.

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PostPosted: June 7th, 2007 18:37:34 pm 
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If I was awarding points, I would give william 10 points for using the word "antisolipsist".

And another 100 if he can prove he invented it.

Oh, and 1 point for having a name starting with a lowercase letter.

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PostPosted: June 7th, 2007 21:30:45 pm 
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I think it's from a Dinosaur Comic.

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PostPosted: June 8th, 2007 13:52:18 pm 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
Yeah, he had lots of views.

For instance, he was a presentist, which means that he thought the past and future weren't real.


Wow! How wacky! Tell me more!


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PostPosted: August 24th, 2007 23:15:09 pm 
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If he believed that the past and future didn't exist, how did he explain, for instance, conversation? At every moment during which a single word is spoken, the part of the word already spoken never would have been spoken, so how could both parties involved in the dialogue know what it was that had never been spoken?

That was terribly unclear but I'm going to use my net-prerogative to decide not to edit it (net-prerogative is like artistic license, but instead of allowing historical fiction writers to make their stories more interesting, it allows pre-teens with internet access to make total idiots of themselves with complete anonymity...hm, maybe I should add that to the new words thread).

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

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