An Introduction to the Philosophy of Time and Space by Bas C. Van Fraassen

By Bas C. Van Fraassen

An introductory, historic survey of philosophical positions on area and time, during the particular thought of relativity and the causal idea of time.

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But that is logically impossible: it is logically impossible to have the same sort of concern for all parts of one's life. 162. One can be concerned with the past as a guide to present or future action: one cannot be concerned with either the present or the future as a guide to past action. One can be concerned with the present or the future in that one is concerned to bring about certain present or future states of affairs: one cannot be so concerned with the past, one cannot be concerned to bring about certain past states of affairs.

Bentham, of course, would not have condoned the killing of Aunt Martha. After all, he would certainly have considered Aunt Martha's happiness as well as that of her homicidal nephew. But considering both the nephew's and Martha's happiness poses a problem. 229. Relative to the happiness of the nephew, the principle of utility dictates that the action in question, the killing of Aunt Martha, would be right, or at least it would not be wrong. But relative to the happiness of Aunt Martha, the principle of utility dictates that the very same action, the killing of Aunt Martha, would be wrong, or at least it would not be right.

This claim would, it seems, be true if it were the case that, for all values of I, Gi+Ii and Gj+lj are inevitably bound to be constant in relative value. 174. The question then is: can mere temporal proximity alter value? For if the temporal proximity of a lesser present good can serve to increase its value, and if the temporal remoteness of a greater future 18 Ibid. MORALITIES 37 good can serve to decrease its value, then the lesser present good may prove to be of greater value than the greater future good.

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