States of affairs in time

José Tomás Alvarado Marambio


A ‘state of affairs’ is understood here as any kind of concrete entity that can play the role of truthmaker. Different ontologies propose different structures of entities to work as ‘states of affairs’ in this sense. Defenders of universals will propose for the role non- mereological structures of universals, objects and times. Defenders of tropes will propose tropes, either with or without universals and objects. Resemblance nominalists will propose primitive ontological facts of resemblance between objects in time. In any of these cases, times are an essential component of a state of affairs. Any ontology of states of affairs, then, should clarify what times are in order to clarify what states of affairs are. An examination of the dominant reductivist conceptions of times shows that these connections have not yet been thought through carefully. In any of the dominant reductivist conceptions, times are entities that either include or describe everything that happens simultaneously at a given instant. Even in some cases they include the description of everything that happens at any time. If one introduce times taken as they are in any of these reductivist conceptions, it will be essential to a state of affairs everything that happens simultaneously with it, or even everything that happens at any time. Under some assumptions the internal relation of every state of affairs with every other state of affairs expands to the internal relation of everything with everything. This is an unhappy theoretical situation that calls for a more careful consideration of some central tenets in our ontology of time.


States of affairs; properties; time; reductive conceptions of time


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