Pastism and Events – Joseph Diekemper (Queen’s University Belfast)
Elsewhere I have developed a growing block theory of time according to which the only events that exist are past events (I call this theory ‘pastism’). There I argued that the existence (simpliciter) of past events can be accounted for in terms of the existence of thisnesses of past events. Elsewhere I have also developed an ontology of thisness which allows for their employment in this way. On this ontology, thisnesses have a two-step instantiation structure, according to which an abstract thisness property is instantiated by a trope-like, concrete thisness. The thisness instantiations are ‘trope-like’ in virtue of being necessarily unique, concrete, particularised properties; but they are unlike tropes in that they are both essential to their bearers and non-qualitative. In the current paper, I develop a theory of events which coheres with both of the earlier accounts and which also has independent motivation. Pastism requires that an event be identical to its thisness. How is this possible? Well, given that there are plausible trope theories of events extant, I claim that an event which has occurred at a past time t just is a concrete, trope-like instantiation of its abstract thisness property. The thought here is that we characterise an event’s having occurred in terms of a thisness property having been instantiated by its thisness trope. The thisness trope is, in turn, an instantiation of the abstract thisness property; and it is the latter which exists simpliciter. So, on this account, the occurrence of an event is the instantiation of an event thisness property by its thisness trope. Since, according to pastism, all events have occurred and exist simpliciter (inasmuch as there are no present or future events), all event thisness properties have been instantiated by their thisness tropes and exist simpliciter. I proceed by first by summarizing my earlier conclusions before further developing the account. I then go on to consider extant theories of events, in order to evaluate which of these is best suited for adapting and developing in a way which comports well with pastism.
Full paper here.
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