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June 8, 2017: Daniel Nolan: Time and Parsimony

CPT Time-Methods Colloquia

Talk organized by Centre for Philosophy of Time


Daniel Nolan (Notre Dame)

Time and Parsimony


June 8, 2017, h. 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Room Enzo Paci, Directorate of the Department of Philosophy, Via Festa del Perdono 7, Milan


The talk will be held in English.
Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences.
Attendance is free. All welcome.

Organization: Giuliano Torrengo and Samuele Iaquinto - Università degli Studi di Milano.

Project: LINEA 1B - UNIMI PER ERC (CUP: G45C16000000001)



Reflections on scientific method suggest that we should value parsimony in our theories, though how much parsimony should be valued, and why it is valuable, are both questions that have not been definitively answered. Parsimony has recently played a role in several arguments about the metaphysics of time: in arguments in favour of presentism, arguments about the size of spacetime, and arguments about the discreteness of spacetime. In each of these debates, parsimony about the number of objects of each kind, as well as the kinds postulated, seem to be playing a key role. As well as pointing out some common threads in considerations in each of these areas, I want to point out that parsimony seems to be needed to prop up another piece of philosophical orthodoxy about time. Those who think that continuous time is still an open theoretical option stand in need of an argument that times only have the structure of the continuum, rather than one of many options for richer metrical structures.

08 June 2017
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